Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Westinghouse Air Brake Technologies (WAB)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 21, 2012 10:00 am ET


Timothy R. Wesley - Vice President of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications

Albert J. Neupaver - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Alvaro Garcia-Tunon - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Secretary


Allison Poliniak-Cusic - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Steve Barger - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Paul A. Bodnar - Longbow Research LLC

Kristine Kubacki - Avondale Partners, LLC, Research Division

Liam D. Burke - Janney Montgomery Scott LLC, Research Division

Jason Rodgers

Thomas S. Albrecht - BB&T Capital Markets, Research Division

Scott H. Group - Wolfe Trahan & Co.



Good day and welcome to the Wabtec Fourth Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] Please note, this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Tim Wesley, Vice President of Investor Relations. Mr. Wesley, please go ahead, sir.

Timothy R. Wesley

Thanks, Danie. Good morning, everybody, welcome to our earnings call for the fourth quarter and full year. Introduce the Wabtec people who are here with me in the room, our President and CEO, Al Neupaver; Alvaro Garcia-Tunon, our CFO; Ray Betler, our Chief Operating Officer; and our Senior V.P. of Finance and Corporate Controller, Pat Dugan. As usual we'll have our prepared remarks from Al and Alvaro, and then we'll be happy to take your questions. During the call, we will make forward-looking statements. So please review today's press release for the appropriate disclaimers. I also want to point out that on today's call, we will refer to both GAAP and non-GAAP EPS because of the special items we discussed in our second quarter report. Listed as special items again in today's press release. We believe that non-GAAP EPS provide useful, supplemental information to assess our operating performance and to evaluate period-to-period comparisons. Non-GAAP financial measures should be viewed in addition to, and not as an alternative for, Wabtec's reported results in accordance with GAAP. And with that, I'll turn it over to Al.

Albert J. Neupaver

Thanks, Tim. Good morning. We had a strong operating performance in the fourth quarter. We have record sales of $535 million, with earnings of $0.96. This tied the record earnings we announced in the third quarter this year. Included in the results were charges of about $5.5 million. These charges were for restructuring and contract reserves in the Transit Group. Alvaro will talk more about these later.

As a result of the strong finish to the year, we ended 2011 with record sales and earnings, record cash from operations of $249 million in a record backlog. To top it off, Wabtec finished 2011 as the only company in the United States on any exchange who's year-end stock price has increased for 11 consecutive years. We accomplished this during a period that included 2 recessions, one of which was probably the worst any of us will ever experience. Clearly our business is performing very well, thanks to our diversified business model, our strategic growth initiatives and the power of Wabtec Performance System. As a result, we are well-positioned to take advantage of future growth opportunities around the world. Today, we are also issuing our 2012 guidance based on our current backlog and outlook, we expect full year earnings per diluted share to be about $4.30 with a sales growth of about 10% for the year. This EPS guidance is about 15% higher than our non-GAAP EPS of $3.70 in 2011. Our guidance has certain assumptions associated with it. The global economy grows modestly. The freight rail traffic improves with the economy. Our transient markets remain stable and there are no major changes in foreign exchange rates. As always, we will be disciplined when it comes to controlling costs. We're going to be focused on generating cash to invest in growth opportunities and we will be ready to respond decisively if any changes occur in the market conditions.

Next, I'd like to address our markets. We'll address the freight rail market first. Rail traffic grew in 2011 and continues to grow so far this year. In 2011, ton miles increased 3.2% and intermodal traffic was up 5.4%. Through mid-February this year, ton miles were up 2.3% and intermodal traffic, it increased 3.7%. This is despite very weak coal shipments. Our OEM market drivers should continue to be positive in 2012. About 48,000 new cars, freight cars were delivered in 2011 compared to 17,000 in 2010. At year end, the backlog was 65,000 cars, highest level in more than 3 years. Forecasters are expecting about 55,000 this year. As for new locomotives including kits, almost 1,100 were delivered in 2011. We expect to see about 1200 this year.

Now moving to the transit markets. Looking at transit, we continue to see stable markets in the U.S. and abroad. In the U.S., ridership was up 2% in the third quarter. That's the third consecutive quarter it has increased. In 2012, transit car deliveries will be about 1000, that's slightly up from last year this -- in 2011. Bus deliveries will be about 4500, slightly down from 2011. As for U.S. federal funding, as I think we all know, Congress is talking about a new Transportation Bill, but it's still very uncertain when something will be passed, the date. A house committee has proposed a 5-year bill and the Senate committee has proposed a 2-year bill with the President asking for a 6-year bill. All seem to be favoring maintaining or increased spending as we go forward in the transit area. The multi-year bill would give transit agencies the planning horizon they need to really dust off some of their long-term projects. So all in all, we're positive about our transit opportunities here in the U.S., but also on a global basis based on long-term demographic and economic trends and our relatively small market share in large global markets.

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