Roper Industries' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 - Earnings Call Transcript

Roper Industries Inc. ( ROP)

Q4 2012 Earnings Call

February 2, 2012 8:30 am ET

Executives

Brian Jellison – Chairman, President, Chief Executive Officer

John Humphrey – Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Matt Summerville – Keybanc

Mark Douglass – Longbow Research

Deane Dray – Citigroup

Alex Blanton – Clear Harbor Asset Management

Terry Darling – Goldman Sachs

Christopher Glynn – Oppenheimer

Richard Eastman – Robert W. Baird

Presentation

Operator

The Roper Industries Fourth Quarter 2011 Financial Results call will now begin. As a reminder, today’s conference is being recorded. I’d now like to turn the conference over to Mr. John Humphrey, Chief Financial Officer.

John Humphrey

Thank you, Alan, and thank you all for joining us this morning as we discuss the results of the fourth quarter and full-year 2011. Joining me this morning is Brian Jellison, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Paul Soni, Vice President and Controller.

Earlier this morning, we issued a press release announcing our financial results. The press release also includes replay information for today’s call. We have prepared slides to accompany today’s call which are available through the webcast and also available on our website at www.roperind.com.

If you could please turn to Slide 2, we begin with our Safe Harbor statement. During the course of today’s call, we will be making forward-looking statements were are subject to risks and uncertainties as described on this page and as further detailed in our SEC filings. You should listen to today’s call in the context of that information.

Now if you’ll please turn to Slide 3, I’ll turn the call over to Brian Jellison, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. After his prepared remarks, we will take questions from our telephone participants. Brian?

Brian Jellison

Thanks, John. Good morning everybody. So we’ll walk you through briefly how the fourth quarter looked, what our full-year enterprise results for 2011 were, and what some of those implications are for positioning ourselves in 2012. We’ll go through the segment detail in terms of how we see 2012 by segment, talk about our guidance for the coming year, and then open it up for Q&A.

So next slide here would be an overview of the fourth quarter. It was an all-time record quarter for us for any quarter in the history of the Company, and we had the most revenue, most net earnings, EBITDA, EBITDA margin, operating and free cash flow. Total sales were up 9%, organic sales were up 7 – frankly, better organic sales growth than we would have expected back six or seven months ago, so things still look pretty favorable in that arena. Gross margins were up to 54.9%, demonstrating that we’re certainly not under a lot of price pressure in the marketplace and that everything we’re doing continues to work exceptionally well.

EBITDA was 222 million in the quarter, which is beyond a spectacular number in our opinion. EBITDA margins were 30.1% and certainly a milestone for Roper and speaks to the quality of the businesses that we have.

Our earnings in the quarter were $1.23 - we talk about that in the income statement here - up from $1.10. Last year fourth quarter, operating cash flow was another sort of spectacular $193 million in the quarter. That represented 158% of net earnings on a conversion basis and represented 26% of sales. Free cash flow was 181 million. Same story – 149% of net earnings here for conversion, so it was quite a strong finish in the fourth quarter to what was an historic year for us.

Next slide – here if we look at the fourth quarter income statement, you’ll see bookings were basically flat. There are a couple reasons for that. The fourth quarter last year, our orders were up 23% over the prior year, so it was an exceptionally unusual and difficult comp, and we had three things happen that we detailed last year. We had quite a substantial Mexican order for Neptune - that tends to be a non-recurring type of item when those happen; some unique shipments in the camera arena around some specific CAPEX that was going on in China; and then we had a Gaz de France project largely booked and that was completed in the fourth quarter this year. So those were unusual headwinds that exceeded $30 million.

The backlog is up though, as you can see, by 5.5%, so backlog was at $828 million which is an all-time record for a year-ending backlog number for us. Net sales were up 9%, 7% organic. Gross profit, as we covered, was up 20 BPs. Operating income at 187 million was up 13%, and operating margin was above 25%, up 80 BPs in the quarter. You can see the tax rate was actually a little bit of a negative headwind in the quarter compared to last year. We had a particularly favorable tax rate in Q4 last year – 27.7 for us, and the fourth quarter this year was 29%, so that cost us $0.02 a share. Nonetheless, we still are in at $1.23 on DEPS.

Next slide – if you look at fourth quarter cash flow, it’s for us kind of just a breathtaking accomplishment – 193 million of operating cash flow in the quarter, and that’s up dramatically. Last year, our record year was 155 million, and if you look at fourth quarter 2009 it was 120 million; so we just continue to pile up the cash. If you look at the variances, it’s up 24% as you can see on this slide from the fourth quarter a year ago, and 61% from 2009.

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