Dun & Bradstreet's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Dun & Bradstreet (DNB)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 07, 2012 8:00 am ET


Kathy Guinnessey -

Sara Mathew - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Richard H. Veldran - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Byron C. Vielehr - President of North America

Emanuele A. Conti - Chief Administrative Officer and President of International

Manny Conti -


Michael A. Meltz - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Shlomo Rosenbaum - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Korosh Saba - Stephens Inc., Research Division

Daniel R. Leben - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

William A. Warmington - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Manav Patnaik - Barclays Capital, Research Division



Good morning, and welcome to D&B's 2011 Fourth Quarter Teleconference. This conference is being recorded at the request of D&B. If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the call over to Kathy McGinnis (sic) [Kathy Guinnessey], Leader, Treasury and Investor Relations. Ms. McGinnis (sic) [Guinnessey], you may begin.

Kathy Guinnessey

Thank you very much. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. With me on the call this morning are Sara Mathew, our Chief Executive Officer; and Rich Veldran, our Chief Financial Officer; as well as Byron Vielehr, our President of North America; and Manny Conti, our President of International and Chief Administrative Officer. Byron and Manny will be available to handle questions you have after the call.

To help our analysts and investors understand how we view the business, our remarks this morning will include forward-looking statements. Our Form 10-K and 10-Q filings, as well as the earnings release we issued yesterday, highlight a number of important risk factors that could cause our actual results to differ from these forward-looking statements. These documents are available on the Investor Relations section of our website, and we encourage you to review this material. We undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statements.

During our call today, we will be discussing a number of non-GAAP financial measures as that's how we manage the business. For example, when we discuss revenue growth, we'll be referring to the non-GAAP measure core revenue growth before the effect of foreign exchange, unless otherwise noted. When we discuss operating income, operating margin and EPS, these will all be on a non-GAAP basis before noncore gains and charges. A reconciliation between these and other non-GAAP financial measures and the most directly comparable GAAP measures can be found in the schedules to our earnings release. They can also be found on the supplemental reconciliation schedule that we post on the Investor Relations section of our website. Later today, you'll also find a transcript of this call on the Investor Relations site.

With that, I'll now turn the call over to Sara Mathew. Sara?

Sara Mathew

Thank you, Kathy, and good morning, everyone. There was a lot of information in our press release last night. Let me lay out our agenda for the call this morning. I'll begin with a brief overview of our 2011 results and our expectation for 2012. Next, I will provide added details on the MaxCV program, including a delay in one component of the program and its impact on our financials. Following my remarks, Rich will discuss our 2011 results, including the impact of accounting changes and the strategic actions we have taken in Asia to improve profitability in that region. After that, we will open up the call for your questions.

Our full year 2011 results improved from 2010 and were mostly in line with expectations. Specifically, core revenue was up 5% with organic revenue up 2%. Operating income grew 4%. EPS was up 10%, and we generated free cash flow of $252 million.

North America was up a modest 1% for the year, with 2% growth in the second half offsetting mostly flat performance in the first. This second half growth was driven by S&MS and Hoover's, and we expect these businesses to strengthen in 2012. Hoover's, which is replatformed in 2010, is already benefiting from this new platform, as we're seeing an acceleration in innovation-driven top line growth in Hoover's. We've migrated our traditional S&MS products to this new platform and have achieved much higher profit levels than before this change. When coupled with the opportunities in the market for our Data-as-a-Service or DaaS products, you should know that we are very pleased with the progress in North America S&MS and expect stronger performance in 2012. I'll discuss the RMS business momentarily.

International grew 18%, 2% organically due to the acquisition of D&B Australia. Weakness in Japan throughout 2011 was offset by continued growth in our emerging markets. Our performance in China, once again, was very strong, and we expect the recent portfolio changes in Asia Pacific to strengthen that business even further.

For 2012, we expect improvement across all financial metrics, specifically: revenue growth of 3% to 5%, most of which is organic. North America will be at the low end of this range and international at or above the high end; operating income growth of 4% to 7%; margins of around 30%, that is 100 basis points above 2009; EPS growth of 8% to 11%; and free cash flow between $310 million and $340 million.

Stepping back, you'll note that all metrics, other than revenue growth, are in line with the expectations we laid out early in 2010 when we launched the MaxCV program. Revenue growth is about a point behind where we said we would be last July, due primarily to a delay in the MaxCV program.

Let me update you on where we are with the program and we -- how we expect it to impact our results going forward. And when we first announced the program back in 2010, we discussed the 3 key components: first, rationalizing our product portfolio; second, building a web service layer to enable faster and lower cost new product innovation; and third, building a new data supply chain to provide near real-time data for our customers.

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