Apollo Group's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Apollo Group (APOL)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

March 26, 2012 5:00 pm ET


Beth Coronelli -

Gregory W. Cappelli - Co-Chief Executive Officer, Director and Chairman of Apollo Global Inc

Brian L. Swartz - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President of Finance

Charles B. Edelstein - Co-Chief Executive Officer and Director

Joseph L. D'Amico - President


Andrew C. Steinerman - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Gary E. Bisbee - Barclays Capital, Research Division

James Samford - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Suzanne E. Stein - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Kelly A. Flynn - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Peter P. Appert - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Corey Greendale - First Analysis Securities Corporation, Research Division

Sara Gubins - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Paul Ginocchio - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Jeffrey M. Silber - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

Scott A. Schneeberger - Oppenheimer & Co. Inc., Research Division

Jeffrey P. Meuler - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Trace A. Urdan - Wunderlich Securities Inc., Research Division

Brandon Burke Dobell - William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division

Jerry R. Herman - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division



Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Release Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] This conference call is being recorded today, March 26, 2012, and may not be reproduced in whole or in part without permission from the company.

There will be a replay of this call available through April 10, 2012, beginning approximately 2 hours after we conclude today. The replay number is (855) 859-2056 or (404) 537-3406 internationally. The conference ID for this replay is 56164637.

I would now like to turn the call over to Beth Coronelli, Vice President of Investor Relations. Mrs. Coronelli, go ahead please.

Beth Coronelli

Thank you for joining us today to discuss our second quarter results. Participating on the call are Greg Cappelli, our Chief -- our Co-Chief Executive Officer of Apollo Group and Chairman of Apollo Global; Chas Edelstein, our Co-Chief Executive Officer; and Brian Swartz, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Our President, Joe D'Amico, is also here and will be available during the Q&A portion of the call.

As we discuss our results today, unless noted otherwise, we will be comparing the second quarter of fiscal 2012, which ended February 29, 2012, to the second quarter of fiscal 2011. I'd also like to remind you that this conference call may contain forward-looking statements with respect to future performance, financial condition, regulatory compliance and other matters regarding the business of Apollo Group that involve risks and uncertainties. Various factors could cause actual results of the company to be materially different from any future results expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. These factors are discussed under Risk Factors and also in the company's most recent 10-K and subsequent 10-Q reports filed with the SEC and available on our website at www.apollogrp.edu. The company disclaims any obligation to update any forward-looking statements made during the call.

Additionally, the call may defer -- refer to non-GAAP financial measures, which are intended to supplement, but not substitute, for the most directly comparable GAAP measures. Our press release, which contains financial and other quantitative information to be discussed today, as well as the reconciliation of the GAAP to non-GAAP measures is also available on our website.

And with that, I'll turn the call over to Greg.

Gregory W. Cappelli

All right. Thank you, Beth. And good afternoon, everyone. You'll have to forgive me for a wonderful Phoenix spring cold and cough I picked up. So sorry about my voice. I'll do my best here.

I'd like to share a brief business overview, discuss our strategy and then we'll turn the call over to Brian, who's going to review the financial results. And then Chas will talk about our future.

Looking at the broader environment, we have experienced what many have called the most difficult 18 months in our sector's history. Education is changing based on the needs of a shifting U.S. workforce, particularly [ph] the changing economy and a continuingly robust competition.

So far, fiscal year '12 has proven to be volatile. We went into this year with good momentum, resulting in stronger New Degreed Enrollment growth in the first quarter that also carried into January. As you know, that rate slowed in the second half of this quarter that resulted in reported new enrollment growth that was up only slightly in the second quarter, but it was not at the level we had originally anticipated. If the most recent trends continue, our third quarter New Degreed Enrollment could break into the negative double digits. However, this trend has recently been particularly volatile, moving both positively and negatively over short periods of time. As such, this trend could change again before the end of this quarter.

And Brian will go into more detail in a moment. But now I want to talk about some of the things we're doing to improve our company and take it in the right direction.

First, we're working hard to differentiate the University of Phoenix as well as to diversify the Apollo Group. We're focused on attracting new students and supporting our existing students so that they retain and that they're successful. We believe it will be important for us to grow all of our institutions as this will result in many more people in the world who will better be prepared to do the jobs of today and tomorrow. It's also important for us to increase our profitability and to grow our cash flows.

And here are some of the things we're doing in the near term to accomplish this goal. First, we're continuing to forge corporate relationships. While it's still at a relatively small percentage of our New Degreed Enrollment, there is significant opportunity for growth in this area, and we're very pleased with the progress that's been made over the past year. Second, we're evaluating and reallocating our marketing spend, with some anticipated increase for the remainder of this fiscal year as well as reworking our advertising to reflect our innovations. Third, we're reengineering our processes with the goal of reducing costs while simultaneously improving the student experience. Chas is going to get into more detail on this shortly. And then fourth, we're implementing initiatives to connect education to careers.

Now we believe one of the most important things we can do going forward is to differentiate our institutions and deliver a strong value proposition to our students. Our top priority is to help our students achieve their desired academic and life outcomes. To that end, we're working hard to differentiate by providing a world-class education that connects to relative careers, which is accessible and affordable to our base of students.

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