DST Systems' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

DST Systems (DST)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 07, 2012 8:30 am ET


Thomas A. McDonnell - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Stephen C. Hooley - President, Chief Operating Officer and Member of Proxy Committee

Kenneth V. Hager - Chief Financial Officer, Vice President, Treasurer and Member of Proxy Committee


David J. Koning - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

James F. Kissane - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

David Togut - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

Peter J. Heckmann - Avondale Partners, LLC, Research Division

Greg Smith - Sterne Agee & Leach Inc., Research Division



Good morning, and welcome to the DST Systems Fourth Quarter and Year-End Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Thank you. I would now turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Tom McDonnell. Please go ahead.

Thomas A. McDonnell

Good morning, and thank you for joining us this morning. Here with me in Kansas City are Steve Hooley, DST's President and Chief Operating Officer; and Ken Hager, our Chief Financial Officer.

Before beginning, I'd like to remind everyone that in the course of our conference call today, we will make forward-looking statements regarding DST or some of its businesses. Such statements are based on our views as of today, and actual results could differ materially from forecasted results. There could be a number of factors affecting future results including those risk factors set forth in our latest annual and quarterly reports, which we filed with the SEC. All such factors should be considered in evaluating any forward-looking statements that we will make today. Since the participants on the call have had access to our detailed earnings release, we'll focus our comments on those areas that we think are particularly significant. As a reminder, all of our comments on our financial results refer to our non-GAAP results. The reconciliation to the most comparable GAAP measures are included in the fourth quarter earnings release itself.

On an adjusted non-GAAP basis, diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $1.05 per share, that's a decrease of $0.02 or 1.9% from the fourth quarter of 2010. Consolidated operating revenues for the quarter were $457.3 million, that's an increase of $32.4 million or 7.6% from 2010. That, of course, reflects the inclusion of ALPS, the Lateral Group and Newkirk. Overall, consolidated operating income decreased by $4.2 million or 5.7% from the fourth quarter of 2010.

DST's employee healthcare and retirement benefit costs were $7.6 million lower in the fourth quarter of '11, as compared to the fourth quarter of 2010. $4.2 million of that decrease was included in the Financial Services segment, and $3.4 million was included in the Output Solutions segment. This decrease in healthcare cost resulted from the absence of some large healthcare claims last year and favorable healthcare claim experience for 2011. When we look at the past history and the current plan designs, we now think this is a trend of favorable experience that you can extrapolate into 2012, but that is the comparative data for '10 and '11.

Financial Services operating income declined from lower mutual fund shareowner processing. We had higher cost associated with business investments, those solutions in the brokerage, insurance and retirement verticals. However, these were partly offset by a lower employee healthcare and retirement benefit costs of the $4.2 million in this segment that I mentioned a moment ago.

In addition, ALPS was accretive to our fourth quarter results by approximately $0.02 per diluted share. Output Solutions operating income increased from strong performance at Output Solutions North America. And that, however, was somewhat offset by losses at IOS. The Financial Services operating revenues, overall, increased by $3.4 million or 1.2% over the fourth quarter of 2010. $14.6 million of the increase was the inclusion from October 31 of ALPS. While DST Global Solutions had increased revenues, we had lower mutual funds shareowner account fees and lower revenue at DST healthcare. Software licenses were $2.4 million, and that's 17% less than the fourth quarter of 2010.

The Financial Services cost and expenses increased by $12.6 million over the fourth quarter of 2010. Again, that includes the operating cost of ALPS and other businesses acquired during 2011. We also continue to incur business development and start-up costs for insurance, brokerage and retirement. Deferred comp costs increased by $1,400,000, that represented the investment appreciation. There is further offsetting costs, where lower employee healthcare and retirement benefits of the $4.2 million that we referred to before. Depreciation and amortization increased by $1 million. And we had increased intangible asset amortization of $2.4 million, and that was from the 2011 acquisitions. This amount, however, was partially offset by certain DST Health Solutions' intangible assets that became fully amortized. Overall then as a result, Financial Services income from operations decreased by $10.2 million or 13.9%.

Turning to the business development and start-up costs for insurance, brokerage and retirement. They were $7.4 million during the quarter or an equivalent of $0.10 per share. We expect in 2012, business development and start-up expenses for those business lines, brokerage, insurance and retirement to be between $0.60 and $0.65 of after-tax expense per diluted share. Expenses are currently in place, so that's kind of a run rate. And we anticipate they'll approximate $0.15 to $0.16 per quarter throughout the year of 2012.

During the quarter, our registered mutual fund accounts declined by $1,700,000. Conversions to non-DST subaccounting platforms totaled $2.2 million. We experienced an organic decline of 100,000 registered accounts and conversions to non-DST platforms of 100,000. However, these decreases were offset by new conversions of 700,000 registered accounts, bringing you back to the net of $1.7 million.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com