The Clorox's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

The Clorox (CLX)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

February 03, 2012 1:30 pm ET


Steve Austenfeld - Former Vice President of Investor Relations

Lawrence S. Peiros - Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President

Stephen M. Robb - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Donald R. Knauss - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Executive Committee


William Schmitz - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Christopher Ferrara - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Jason Gere - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Constance Marie Maneaty - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

Lauren R. Lieberman - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Timothy A. Conder - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

John A. Faucher - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Nik Modi - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Ali Dibadj - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Javier Escalante - Consumer Edge Research, LLC

Leigh Ferst - Wellington Shields & Co., LLC, Research Division



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to The Clorox Company Second Quarter Fiscal Year 2012 Earnings Release Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this call is being recorded.

I would now like to introduce your host for today's conference, Mr. Steve Austenfeld, Vice President of Investor Relations for The Clorox Company. Mr. Austenfeld, you may begin your conference.

Steve Austenfeld

Thank you. Welcome, everyone, for joining Clorox's second quarter conference call. On the call with me today are Don Knauss, Clorox's Chairman and CEO; Larry Peiros, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer; and Steve Robb, our Chief Financial Officer. We're broadcasting this call over the Internet, and a replay of the call will be available for 7 days at our website,

Let me remind you that on today's call, we will refer to certain non-GAAP financial measures, including but not limited to free cash flow, EBIT margin and debt-to-EBITDA. Management believes that providing insights on these measures enables investors to better understand and analyze our ongoing results of operations.

Reconciliation with the most directly comparable financial measures determined in accordance with GAAP can be found in today’s press release, this webcast's prepared remarks or supplemental information available in the Financial Results area of our website as well as in our filings with the SEC. In particular, it may be helpful to refer to tables located at the end of today’s earnings release.

Please recognize that today’s discussion contains forward-looking statements. Actual results or outcomes could differ materially from management's expectations and plans. Please review our most recent 10-K filing with the SEC and our other SEC filings for a description of important factors that could cause results or outcomes to differ materially from management's expectations and plans. The company undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.

Today, Larry will start with a discussion of our volume and sales results. Steve will follow with a review of our financial performance in the quarter and our updated outlook for fiscal year '12, as noted in this morning's press release. And finally, Don will wrap up with his perspective on the acquisitions we announced about a month ago.

With that, let me turn it over to Larry.

Lawrence S. Peiros

Thanks, Steve, and welcome to everybody on the call. I'm happy to report that we had another good quarter. As anticipated, volume was up about 0.5 point despite the impact of price increases across most of our portfolio. Sales were up a very solid 4% as the benefit from price increases was either in line with or even slightly better than our expectations. This is our fourth consecutive quarter of sales growth during a challenging economic environment, with 8 out of 11 SBUs delivering year-over-year growth, driven both by pricing and product innovation. In fact, we're on track to deliver a record level of incremental sales from innovation in fiscal '12. Overall, we feel great about the quarter and the progress we are making in this tough economy.

As usual, I'm going to focus my comments on market share, volume and sales and provide perspective on what drove our top line results. Steve will then provide the financial detail.

Starting with our U.S. business, our market share in track channels, which account for about 1/3 of our business, was equal to year ago in the second quarter. On an all-outlet retail basis, we also helped share over the past 52 weeks with an absolute market share that remains near record levels. These share results are particularly encouraging given the large number of recent pricing actions.

Turning to our U.S. categories. We are starting to see improving sales trends as pricing kicks in and the economy recovers. Category consumption on an all-outlet basis was about flat for the past 52 weeks versus a decline of over 2% just a year ago.

In international, our share results were mixed with solid growth in Latin America and declines in Canada, Australia and New Zealand due to competitive pressures. Categories in the international markets continue to be healthier overall than in the U.S.

In our Cleaning segment, which includes our Home Care, Laundry and Away From Home businesses, volume was flat, and sales grew 5%. All 3 businesses in this segment saw solid sales growth in the quarter, driven by the impact of pricing actions at our Home Care and Laundry businesses and very strong volume results in our Away From Home business.

Home Care grew sales and market share behind higher shipments of Clorox Clean-Up, as well as innovation like our Clorox Bleach Foamer spray, Clorox Toilet Bowl cleaning gel and Liquid-Plumr Double Impact. In addition, we are seeing our Home Care business benefit from our focus on multicultural consumers as key brands grew significant share within the Hispanic market.

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