Crown Holdings' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Crown Holdings Inc. (CCK)

Q1 2012 Results Earnings Call

April 19, 2012 9:00 AM ET


Timothy Donahue – Executive Vice President and CFO

John Conway – Chairman and CEO

Tom Kelly – Senior Vice President, Finance


Alex Ovshey – Goldman Sachs

Philip Ng – Jefferies

George Staphos – Bank of America

Chris Manuel – Wells Fargo Securities

Ghansham Panjabi – Robert Baird

Mark Wilde – Deutsche Bank

Chip Dillon – Vertical Research Partners

Al Kabili – Credit Suisse

Phil Gresh – J. P. Morgan

Adam Josephson – KeyBanc

Scot Gaffner – Barclays Capital

Todd Wenning – Morningstar



Good morning. And welcome to the Crown Holdings First Quarter and Full Year 2012 Earnings Conference Call. Your lines have been placed on listen-only mode until the question and answer session. Please be advised that this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Timothy Donahue, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Donahue, you may begin.

Timothy Donahue

Thank you, [Shirley] and good morning to everybody. Welcome to Crown Holdings First Quarter 2012 Conference Call. With me on the call today are John Conway, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Tom Kelly, Senior Vice President of Finance.

Before we begin, I would like to point out that on this call as in the earnings release, we will be making a number of forward-looking statements. Actual results could vary materially from such statements.

Additional information concerning factors that could cause actual results to vary as contained in the press release and in our SEC filings, including comments in the section titled Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Result of Operations in Form 10-K for 2011, and in subsequent filings.

A reconciliation of Generally Accepted Accounting Principles to non-GAAP earnings can be found in our earnings release and if you do not already have the earnings release, it is available on the company’s website at You will also find reconciliation from net income to EBITDA, credit ratio computations and supplemental cash flow data on the company’s website.

I’ll first review the quarter, update our 2012 guidance and then hand the call over to John for his comments.

Diluted earnings per share were $0.46 versus comparable earnings of $0.48 in last year’s first quarter. On a currency comparable basis, net sales increased to 5.4% over the prior year on the back of strong unit volume sales in North American food and beverage cans globally.

Demand in our European three-piece steel packaging businesses, that is food can enclosures, specialty packaging and aerosol cans was soft in the first quarter, and while reflecting over all in all conditions in Europe, we caution that the first quarter is a very small quarter overall in Europe. And with respect to our food business, most seasonal crops have not yet been planted.

Inventory re-pricing non-recurring this year impact segment income globally in our food, aerosols and specialty packaging businesses.

In America’s beverage, revenue increased 4.3% over the prior year with overall volume in the division up more than 5%. Volume in North America was flat to the prior year, while Brazil was again up strong double digits.

Our volume growth in Brazil continues to come from strong demand in those regions, where we added considerable capacity last year. That is in the South at our new Ponta Grossa plant and in the Northeast, with a second line in our Estancia plant.

Sales unit volumes were up more than 5% in North American food, due to an early pack for some products and customers pulling shipments ahead. Segment income at $32 million in the quarter, was up $4 million over last year’s total of $28 million, referencing contribution from additional sales unit volumes and strong operational performance, which more than offset the 2011 inventory re-pricing.

Increased demand in Saudi Arabia and United Kingdom contributed to an overall 8% increase in European beverage sales unit volumes, segment income down $3 million in the first quarter, compared to the prior year reflects carryover of prior year price compression.

On a currency comparable basis sales in European food were level to the prior year as 5% lower sales volumes offset the impact of higher tinplate costs.

Segment income at 10% to net sales compared to 12.3% in the first quarter of 2011, reflects a lower volume levels and the impact of 2011 inventory re-pricing, which should not recur in 2012, and currency translation.

Specialty packaging revenues were down $10 million to the prior year, due to lower promotional sales and $3 million of currency. Segment income reflects lower sales and the inventory re-pricing last year.

In Asia, we are off to another strong start this year with beverage and food can volumes up more than 12% and 9%, respectively.

Global aerosol can volumes were down 8%, reflecting softer economic condition and lower demand for this premium dispensing packaging. Compared to the prior year, income was lower as our aerosol business did not benefit from the inventory re-pricing as in the prior year.

Supply remains tight in Asia with demand picking up in March post the Chinese New Year inventory rebalancing. Commissioned last year both the new planned Hangzhou, China and the second line in Cambodia are performing well and progressing up their respective learning curves. Our newest plant Putian in China successfully began commercial operation at the end of March and will go to a full three-shift operation this month.

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