CB Richard Ellis Group's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. (CBG)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 24, 2012, 5:00 p.m. ET


Nick Kormeluk – IR

Brett White – CEO

Mike Lafitte – President, The Americas

Gil Borok – CFO


Anthony Paolone – JPMorgan

Will Marks - JMP Securities

David Ridley-Lane - BofA Merrill Lynch

Brandon Dobell – William, Blair & Co.



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to the CBRE first quarter earnings call. At this time, all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session. The instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions). As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Mr. Nick Kormeluk. Please go ahead.

Nick Kormeluk

First quarter 2012 earnings conference call. About an hour ago, we issued a press release announcing our Q1 financial results. This release is available on the home page of our website at www.cbre.com. This conference call is being webcast and is available on the Investor Relations section of our website. Also available is a presentation slide deck which you can use to follow along with our prepared remarks. An archive audio of the webcast and a PDF version of the slide presentation will be posted to the website later today and a transcript of our call will be posted tomorrow.

Please turn to the slide labeled “Forward Looking Statements.” This presentation contains statements that are forward looking within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including statements regarding our future growth momentum, operations, financial performance, business outlook and our ability to integrate the ING REIM

businesses. These statements should be considered as estimates only and actual results may ultimately differ from these estimates. Except to the extent required by applicable securities laws, we undertake no obligation to update or publicly revise any of the forward-looking statements that you may hear today. Please refer to our first quarter earnings report, filed on Form 8-K and our current annual report on Form 10-K, in particular any discussion of risk factors or forward-looking statements, which are filed with the SEC and available at the SEC’s website (www.sec.gov), for a full discussion of the risks and other factors that may impact any estimates that you may hear today. We may make certain statements during the course of this presentation, which include references to “non-GAAP financial measures,” as defined by SEC regulations. As required by these regulations, we have provided reconciliations of these

measures to what we believe are the most directly comparable GAAP measures, which are attached hereto within the appendix.

Please turn to slide three. Participating with me today are Brett White, our Chief Executive Officer, Mike Lafitte, President of our Americas region, and Gil Borok, our Chief Financial Officer. I will now turn the call over to Brett.

Brett White

Thanks, Nick, and good afternoon everybody. Please turn to slide four. The macro market trends that have prevailed for most of 2011 have generally continued in the first quarter of 2012. The market is recovering, but at an incremental and uneven pace. While no two recoveries are identical, this current one is marked by mixed performance across geographies and market sectors.

That being said, our highly productive market-leading and diversified platform helped us deliver a strong opening quarter for 2012. We especially benefited from strong performance in the Americas, and in a moment Mike Lafitte, our president of the Americas, will describe our integrated Americas business platform in a bit more detail.

Not unexpectedly, EMEA performance weakened versus the prior year first quarter, as transaction activity has slowed against tough economic conditions. In Asia Pacific, while there was overall revenue growth, investment sales in the region cooled a bit. We also saw material and immediate contributions from the addition of the ING Real Estate Investment Management people, programs and platform to our investment management business. We expect these positive contributions to continue as we complete our integration process.

Our global outsourcing business continued to make strong gains, with revenue growing by double digits for the sixth consecutive quarter. Both total contracts signed and new wins set records, and we surpassed the 3 billion square foot managed milestone.

In our transaction businesses, leasing resumed growth with a 3% gain over the first quarter of 2011. Investment sales revenue increased 10%, and also deserving special mention is commercial mortgage brokerage, which jumped 46%.

As a result of all this, we posted solid 14% revenue growth and even stronger, 25%, normalized EBITDA growth, during the quarter. And I am particularly pleased to report that our EBITDA margin expanded 90 BPs, to 11.1%.

Some of the most notable transactions we completed during or immediately following the quarter are shown on slide five. As is our practice, I will not go through them individually but we have included them here for your review. With that, I’d like to turn the call over to Mike Lafitte, our president of the Americas, to discuss his real strong performance in the Americas business. Mike?

Mike Lafitte

Thank you Brett. Please advance to slide six if you will. As you have read in our earnings release and as Brett mentioned, our Americas business had excellent performance in the first quarter of 2012. We are very pleased to achieve 13% revenue growth and 29% normalized EBITDA growth in a sluggish economic environment. Credit for this goes to our nearly 21,000 Americas employees, who are intensely focused on providing superior service to our clients and maintaining disciplined expense control.

We took tough actions in 2011 to align our cost base to the difficult operating environment, and we are now seeing some benefits from those actions.

In the Americas, we have built a very large, deep, diverse, highly-integrated and arguably unparalleled platform. It took many years and considerable investment to build this robust platform and to integrate its component parts so they worked together cohesively. We are focused on continuous improvement of our platform to stay ahead of our evolving client needs.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

More from Stocks

How Small-Cap Stocks Can Protect Your Portfolio From a Trade War

How Small-Cap Stocks Can Protect Your Portfolio From a Trade War

Week Ahead: Trade Fears and Stress Tests Signal More Volatility To Come

Week Ahead: Trade Fears and Stress Tests Signal More Volatility To Come

3 Great Stock Market Sectors Millennials Should Invest In

3 Great Stock Market Sectors Millennials Should Invest In

Why Millennials Are Ditching Stocks for ETFs

Why Millennials Are Ditching Stocks for ETFs

Trump's 'Space Force' Could Launch a $1 Trillion Industry, Morgan Stanley Says

Trump's 'Space Force' Could Launch a $1 Trillion Industry, Morgan Stanley Says