Robert Half International's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Robert Half International (RHI)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 24, 2012 5:00 pm ET

Executives

Harold M. Messmer - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Member of Executive Committee

M. Keith Waddell - Vice Chairman, President and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Mark S. Marcon - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

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

Thomas Allen - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Paul Condra

Timothy McHugh - William Blair & Company L.L.C., Research Division

Sara Gubins - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Ato Garrett - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Giridhar Krishnan - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Tobey Sommer - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division

James J. Janesky - Avondale Partners, LLC, Research Division

Gary E. Bisbee - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Jennifer Huang - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

John M. Healy - Northcoast Research

Presentation

Operator

Hello, and welcome to the Robert Half International First Quarter 2012 Conference Call. Our hosts for today's call are Mr. Max Messmer, Chairman and CEO of Robert Half International; and Mr. Keith Waddell, Vice Chairman, President and Chief Financial Officer. Mr. Messmer, you may begin.

Harold M. Messmer

Thank you, and hello, everyone. Before we begin, we would like to remind you, as usual, that comments made on today's call contain predictions, estimates and other forward-looking statements. These statements represent our current judgment of what the future holds and include words such as forecast, estimate, project, expect, believe, guidance and similar expressions.

We believe these remarks to be reasonable but would remind you that they are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements. We've described some of these risks and uncertainties in today's press release and in our SEC filings, including our 10-Ks, 10-Qs and today's 8-K. We assume no obligation to update the statements made on this call.

Now let's discuss the first quarter.

Global revenues for the first quarter were $1,020,000,000, an increase of 15% from the first quarter of 2011. Income per share was $0.34, up 88% from the $0.18 per share reported in the first quarter of last year. Cash flow from operations during the first quarter was $23 million, capital expenditures were $10 million. We paid our stockholders a cash dividend of $0.15 at a cost of $21 million. We also repurchased 1 million RHI shares for a total of $29 million. There are approximately 5.1 million shares still available under our board approved stock repurchase plan.

We were pleased with the financial results for the quarter which were the result of continued strong demand for our specialized staffing and consulting services. This is the seventh straight quarter of the company has reported double-digit year-over-year revenue growth. In each of these quarters' growth and net income and earnings per share has greatly outpaced revenue growth.

Now I'll turn the call over to Keith Waddell for more detailed review of our first quarter financial results.

M. Keith Waddell

Thank you, Max. As you noted, first quarter revenues for the company were $1.02 billion, an increase of 15% year-over-year, and a 4% increase sequentially. We calculated 63.7 billing days in the first quarter compared to 63.1 days in the first quarter of 2011, and compared to 61.0 days in the fourth quarter of 2011. The higher number of billing days had the effect of increasing first quarter 2012 sequential growth rates by 5%, and year-over-year growth rates by 1.1%. The current quarter, has 63.1 billing days.

Currency exchange rates reduced first quarter 2012 sequential revenues by $1 million and first quarter year-over-year revenues by $6 million. This had the effect of reducing first quarter 2012 sequential growth rates by 0.1% and year-over-year growth rates by 0.8%. Beginning this quarter, we've added a new supplemental schedule to the investor center of our website at rhi.com. It shows the year-over-year revenue growth rates for each of our staffing lines of business on both a reported basis and also a same-day constant currency basis. It further splits the data between U.S. and non-U.S. operations. This information is presented for each of the quarters, beginning with the first quarter of 2011. We provided this data because we believe that better reflects our actual growth rate and aids in the evaluation of revenue trends over time. This data is considered to be a non-GAAP financial measure.

Additional information, including a reconciliation of these growth rates to reported growth rates also is available on our website. On a same-day constant currency basis, global staffing revenues grew 16% year-over-year compared to the first quarter of 2011, with the U.S. growing 20% and international locations growing 9% on this basis. U.S. staffing revenues were $652 million in the first quarter of this year, while International Staffing revenues for the quarter were $260 million. We have 353 staffing locations worldwide, including 104 locations in 19 countries outside the U.S.

First quarter global revenues for Protiviti were at $103 million, including $78 million in United States and $25 million outside the U.S. Year-over-year growth rates were 4% globally, with U.S. revenue up 9% and non-U.S. revenue down 7%. Protiviti and its independently-owned member firms serve clients through a network of 71 locations in 22 countries.

Now, let's look at gross margin. First quarter gross margin in our temporary and consulting staffing operations was 35.6% of applicable revenues. This was 125 basis point increase over the first quarter of last year, and only a 16 basis point decline from the fourth quarter of 2011. We were very pleased with our ability during the quarter to adjust our pay bill spreads to absorb the anticipated state unemployment tax increases, and also the absence of prior quarter workers' compensation credits. Temp-to-hire conversions also rose modestly during quarter. Our mix of permanent placement revenues increased to 9.1% of staffing revenues for the quarter versus 8.6% a year ago. Together with the higher temporary and consulting gross margins previously discussed, this resulted in a 150 basis point increase in overall staffing gross margin compared to the first quarter of 2011. Protiviti's gross margin was $24 million or 23% of Protiviti were revenues, compared to 25% of revenues a year-ago.

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