Graftech International CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Graftech International, Ltd. ( GTI)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 23, 2012 11:00 am ET

Executives

Anita Fontana, Manager, Investor Relations

Craig S. Shular, Chairman, President & Chief Executive Officer

Lindon G. Robertson, Vice President & Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Luke Folta – Jefferies & Company, Inc.

Ian A. Zaffino – Oppenheimer & Co. Inc.

Timothy Hayes – Davenport & Company

Philip Gibbs – KeyBanc Capital Market

Charles Bradford – Bradford Research, Inc.

Daniel Whalen – Auriga USA

Luke Folta – Jefferies & Company, Inc.

Presentation

Operator

Good morning. My name is Stephanie, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the GrafTech Fourth Quarter and Year End 2011 Earnings Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers’ remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator instructions) Thank you.

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Anita Fontana. Ma’am, you may begin.

Anita Fontana

Thank you, Stephanie. Good morning and welcome to GrafTech International’s Fourth Quarter and Year End 2011 Conference Call. On the call today is GrafTech’s Chief Executive Officer, Craig Shular and our Chief Financial Officer, Lindon Roberton.

We issued our earnings release this morning. If you did not receive a copy, please contact Marie Nor at 216-676-2160 and she will be happy to fax or email a copy to you. As a reminder, some of the matters discussed during this call may include forward-looking statements as defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Please note the cautionary language about our forward-looking statements contained in our press release. That same language applies to this call.

Also to the extent that we discuss any non-GAAP financial measures, you will find reconciliations in our press release, which are posted on our website at www.graftech.com in the Investor Relations section. In particular, on this call, we will be discussing the non-GAAP financial items of adjusted EBITDA, operating income, net income and EPS that exclude the non-cash impacts of pension related charges and the release of that tax valuation allowance, both which have been accounted for in the fourth quarter of 2010 and 2011.

Any year-to-year growth comparison reflects the same adjustment. Further information on the methods we use to account for these items can be found in our SEC filings. For your reference, a reply of the call is available on our website.

At this time, I would like to turn it over to Craig.

Craig Shular

Thank you. Anita. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining GrafTech’s call. Today, we will take you to our full year and our fourth quarter highlights and then open it up to questions.

Recapping our full year results for 2011, sales increased 31% to 1.3 billion and our EBITDA was $269 million, up 30%.

2011 EBITDA was our second best in the company’s history. Operating income improved to $188 million, while net income was $141 million, or $0.96 per share.

Net debt at year end was $419 million, the increase year-over-year was primarily attributed to an increase in working capital needs to support the 31% increase in sales and the $2 million share buyback we concluded in Q4.

In October, we successfully completed a $570 million five-year refinancing of our revolving credit facility. This represents as $310 million increase over the prior facility. We secured better terms and conditions and the credit was rated investment grade by Moody’s. This new facility will provide us excellent liquidity as we continue to grow our company and we’ll keep us well positioned in the volatile and still recovering global economy.

In 2011, we completed two acquisitions, Micron Research and FMI. Over the past 14 months, we have closed on four acquisitions that enhance both our industrial materials and Engineered Solutions business segments further in our strategic growth goals and improved their competitive of our business model.

The integration is now complete with Seadrift and St. Marys. In 2011, they delivered $91 million of EBITDA, slightly more than a $90 million we guided to. In the fourth quarter after completion of the $2 million share buyback, we announced a new repurchase program for up to $10 million additional shares.

Turing to our Q4 results, total company sales improved 24% to $348 million, EBITDA came in at $75 million, up 47% versus 2010. Net income was $45 million, or $0.31 per share. In our Industrial Materials segments, sales increased 26% to $297 million in the fourth quarter. Operating income for the segment was $49 million, up over 50% compared to the prior year. In our Engineered Solutions segment, sales were $51 million in the fourth quarter. Operating income was $4 million. The decrease in operating income was primarily due to a decline in the solar market.

Turing to outlook, the IMF in its latest report dated January 24, 2012, projected world output to expand by approximately 3.25%. This projection presents the second time since June, 2011 they have reduced their numbers as the global recovery continues to move at a slower than previously expected pace.

Furthermore, the IMF is now projecting a mild recession in Europe as a result of the continued European debt crisis. The January report highlights that downside risk have intensified globally over the past few months. Also noting the slow down in Europe, the European Steel Association issued a report on February 3, 2012, highlighting the European recession and expectations that recessionary conditions will continue through much of 2012. According to the World Steel Association total steel production declined approximately 5% from Q3 to Q4 last year with Europe accounting for much of the decline.

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