Rockwood Holdings' CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Rockwood Holdings, Inc. ( ROC)

Q4 2011 Earnings Conference Call

February 21, 2012, 11:00 a.m. ET

Executi ve s

Tim McKenna - VP, IR

Seifi Ghasemi - Chairman and CEO

Bob Zatta - SVP and CFO


Silke Keuck - JPMorgan

David Begleiter - Deutsche Bank

Mike Harrison - First Analysis

John McNulty - Credit Suisse

Chris Shaw - Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Company

Mack Fuller - GSO Capital Partners

Bob Koort - Goldman Sachs



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the 2011 Full-Year and Fourth Quarter Conference Call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct the question-and-answer session; instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder this conference is being recorded.

I’d now like to turn the conference over to our host, Mr. Tim McKenna, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Tim McKenna

Thank you. Good morning, welcome to our fourth quarter and full-year conference call. Seifi Ghasemi, Chairman and Chief Executive; and Bob Zatta, Chief Financial Officer will give a formal presentation after which we will have Q&A session. Our slides for this call are available on our website

Before I begin the call, I’m going to read a short statement. The conference call may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 concerning the business operations and financial conditions of Rockwood Holdings and its subsidiaries. Although Rockwood believes the expectations reflected in such forward-looking statements are based upon reasonable assumption, there is no assurance that its expectations will be realized. Forward-looking statements consist of all non-historical information, including statements referring to the prospects and future performance of Rockwood.

Actual results could differ materially from those projected in our forward-looking statements, due to numerous known and unknown risks and uncertainties, including the risk factors described in our 10-K and other filings with the SEC. We do not undertake any obligation to publicly update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which any statement is made or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events.

That’s all I have and now I will turn it over to Seifi Ghasemi.

Seifi Ghasemi

Thanks Tim, and good morning. Thank you for taking the time from your busy schedule to listen to our presentation. During our discussion we will be referring to the material we have posted on our website

I’m very pleased to report that Rockwood had an excellent performance in 2011. In line with our commitment to create shareholder value, we more than doubled our earnings to $4.02 per share. We are a specialty chemical company with unique products and services. We are focused on maintaining our high profit margins. Therefore, we are proud that we delivered an adjusted EBITDA margin of 23.5% of sales in 2011 compared to 19.9% in 2010. Even in the fourth quarter, despite the seasonal downturn in volumes in general and a significant decrease in volumes in our TiO2 business due to destocking by our customers, we still delivered an adjusted EBITDA margin of 24% of sales.

Now, please refer to Page 8 of our presentation material. Sales for the quarter were up by 2% and for the year they were up by 15%. Later on the presentation I will give you the breakdown of sales growth in terms of pricing, foreign exchange, and volumes.

Our adjusted EBITDA margin, as you will note on line 3, was a record high of 23.5% for 2011. We are very focused in maintaining this kind of margin as we move forward. And as you will note on the last line of Page 8, earnings per share was $0.91 for the quarter and $4.02 for the year, both of them increased more than 100% over the corresponding values for last year. We are very proud of this accomplishment, which is the result of excellent performance by our business units and prudent restructuring of our balance sheet to reduce interest cost.

Now, please refer to Page 9. We have broken down the components of our sales growth. To give you further clarity into the numbers, I want to disclose some additional information. Please focus on the fourth quarter column on the left hand side of Page 9. Of the $74.5 million of pricing variance, about 49.5 million of it is due to price increases in our TiO2 business and 25 million is in the other sectors. As for the volume and mix for the quarter, almost all of the negative variance is in our TiO2 business which experienced about 25% drop in volumes due to seasonal trends and destocking by our customers.

Now please focus on the right side of Page 9 on the full-year results. Of the $303.3 million of positive price variance about 210 million of it is related to our TiO2 business and 93 million is related to all of our other businesses. As for the $38.2 million of positive volume variance, we had a negative variance of 85 million for the full-year for our TiO2 business and a positive variance of $120 million for all of our other businesses. I hope that this additional information would be helpful in your analysis of our performance.

Now I want to make specific comments about each one of our business units. So, please turn to Page 12 of our presentation material. Our specialty chemicals sector includes our lithium and surface treatment businesses. Both of these businesses had an excellent year. We continue to grow volumes, increase prices and improve productivity. This is why the adjusted EBITDA margin for the business improved from 25.4% to 26.1%. We continue to be optimistic about the future of these businesses and expect further improvement in the results as we move forward.

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