Chicago Bridge & Iron's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Chicago Bridge & Iron Company (CBI)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 24, 2012 5:00 pm ET


Philip Asherman - President and CEO

Lasse Petterson - COO

Dan McCarthy - President, Lummus Technology

Ron Ballschmiede - CFO


Joe Ritchie - Goldman Sachs

Steven Fisher - UBS Securities, LLC

Alan Fleming - Barclays Capital

Jamie Cook - Credit Suisse

Michael Dudas - Sterne Agee

Bryce Humphrey - BB&T Capital Markets

Scott Levine - JPMorgan

John Rogers - D. A. Davidson & Company

Avi Fisher - BMO Capital Markets



Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the conference call. (Operator Instructions)

Before beginning today's call, the company would like to caution you regarding forward-looking statements. Any statements made or discussed today that do not constitute or are not historical facts, particularly comments regarding the company's future plans and expected performance are forward-looking statements that are based on assumptions the company believes are reasonable, but are subject to a range of risk of uncertainties that are summarized in the company's press release and SEC filing.

While forward-looking statements represent management's best current judgment as to what may occur in the future, the actual outcome or results may differ materially from what is expressed or implied in any such statements.

Now, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. Philip Asherman, President and CEO at CB&I.

Philip Asherman

Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us as we report Chicago Bridge & Iron's results for the first quarter of 2012. With me today are CB&I's Chief Operating Officer, Lasse Petterson, who will report on the activities in our Project Engineering and Construction as well as our Steel Plate Structures sectors; Dan McCarthy, President of Lummus Technology, reporting on that sector's results and outlook; and our Chief Financial Officer, Ron Ballschmiede, who will discuss our first quarter financial performance.

Summarizing first quarter results and as my colleagues will discuss in further detail, I am pleased to report that this first quarter resulted in significant year-over-year growth in revenue, operating income, backlog and cash balances. I am also very pleased to report that we continue to record outstanding safety performance around the world.

In this first quarter, we've executed nearly 60 million hours with only one lost-time incident and in March alone that number was zero. There is also a zero for even recordable incidents. We believe that this core value and our goal of nobody gets hurt at CB&I is not only a tremendous competitive advantage for us, but it drives recruiting, retention and client confidence. And most importantly, it's just the right thing to do for our employees.

So we can get the under metrics, overall, margin levels performed as expected and we're very encouraged by the new awards in the quarter across all of our business sectors, including the Williams petrochemical project in Louisiana, which bundles all of our services from technology to construction.

Also the next expansion phase of Kearl for ExxonMobil oil sands project in Canada. The FEED work for the Freeport LNG export facility in Texas with our joint venture partner Zachry Construction. In addition, refineries here in Russia are provided by our Lummus Technology.

While over 85% of the backlog value is still outside of the United States, we are beginning to experience a very positive rebalancing of our work load, with approximately 75% of the quarter one awards located in North America. And with a strong international position in key end-markets, there's exciting development of new energy infrastructure driven by shale gas and non-conventional oil production presents a great opportunity for CB&I to sustain growth well into the future.

And so for 2012 we remain confident and the guidance we provided during our Investor Day last November and anticipate another solid year ahead for Chicago Bridge and Iron Company.

I'll now turn the call over to Lasse to discuss the current backlog and new awards for our Project Engineering and Construction and our Steel Plate Structures business sectors. Lasse?

Lasse Petterson

Thank you, Phil, good afternoon. I would first give my comments on new awards this quarter and then provide a brief update on some of our larger ongoing projects. Global market trends are positive in all of our end-markets. LNG trade is projected to continue growing at a rate twice as fast as natural gas production with the LNG portion of gas supply forecasted to increase approximately 20% over the next two decades.

In North America, shale gas production and low gas prices has resulted in several LNG import terminals, planned to be converted in to export terminals. The shale gas production has further increased the demand for gas processing facilities such as our Dominion project. The liquid rich gas has also resulted in a search of new petrochemical projects in the U.S.

And additionally, global offshore, oil and gas markets are strong with large developments planned particularly in Brazil and the North Sea. Offshore gas developments may also bring opportunities for CB&I to design and build floating LNG facilities.

Our first quarter new award total approximately $1.7 billion, which includes the Kearl expansion project in Canada, a Williams Olefins expansion in the U.S., the FEED for status Luva project and the Ethel Engineering for Talisman in the North Sea, and several contracts for conventional storage tanks in the U.S., Canada, Middle East and Australia.

We were also awarded the Freeport LNG FEED contract for two 4.4 million tons per annum process trains at the existing Freeport LNG import facility, which brings our current active LNG FEED and pre-FEED studies to five, including the previously announced Browse, Arrow, Yamal and Shtokman studies. Our backlog remains solid at $9.6 billion with a good mix between the reimbursable and lump-sum contracts.

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