Monster Worldwide's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Monster Worldwide (MWW)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 26, 2012 8:30 am ET


Lori C. Chaitman - Former Vice President of Investor Relations

Sal Iannuzzi - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President and Member of Special Litigation Committee Addressing Civil Litigation Matters

James M. Langrock - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President


William G. Bird - Lazard Capital Markets LLC, Research Division

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

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

Matt Hill

Douglas M. Arthur - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

Craig A. Huber - Access 3:42, LLC

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

Mark S. Mahaney - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

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



Good morning. My name is Chante, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the First Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the call over to Ms. Lori Chaitman. Ma'am, you may begin your conference.

Lori C. Chaitman

Good morning, and thank you for joining us on Monster Worldwide First Quarter 2012 Conference Call. We will have formal remarks from Sal Iannuzzi, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; and James Langrock, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. In addition to Sal and James, members of our executive management team are available to answer your questions during the Q&A part of the call. They are Tim Yates, Ted Gilvar, Patrick Manzo, Michael Miller, Lise Poulos and Mark Stoever.

Before we begin, I'd like to remind you that except for historical information, the statements made during this conference call constitute forward-looking statements under applicable securities laws. Such forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties, including statements regarding the company’s strategic direction, prospects and future results. Certain factors, including factors outside of our control, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in the forward-looking statements, including economic and other conditions in the markets in which we operate, risks associated with acquisitions or dispositions, competition and the other risks discussed in our Form 10-K and our other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

With that, I'd like to turn the call over to Sal for his comments. Sal?

Sal Iannuzzi

Thank you, Lori. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. Given our recent presentations at the Baird conference and Innovation Day, our prepared remarks will be shorter than usual. We will, of course, take your questions at the end of James' financial review.

The overall global business environment during the quarter remained uncertain and was much as we anticipated coming into the quarter. In this environment, we exceeded our expectations on bookings and EPS, and we're at the top of our range on revenue. The key highlights of the quarter were: Bookings were up 5% year-over-year. Excluding the DWP transactions, bookings were 4% lower than last year's first quarter. On a geographic basis, bookings in North America were up 6% year-over-year.

During the quarter, we executed better and experienced strong results in key verticals such as Government, Staffing and newspapers. We had improved performance in enterprise. The result of the e-Comm channel remains inconsistent and weak.

As noted in January, we took a number of steps to improve our performance and our competitive position in the U.S., and as a result, we definitely noticed an increase in our win/loss performance in highly competitive situations. We believe these initiatives began to pay off during the quarter and will gain momentum throughout the year. We are confident that these actions will allow us to continue the longer-term trend of share gains in the United States.

Bookings in Europe were up 13%, excluding the DWP that was down 16%. Economic indicators in Europe throughout the quarter were weaker than was generally forecasted. Euro area unemployment was an all-time high. According to Eurostat, and it is widely believed that many countries within Europe sank set into recession. We believe that the decline in Monsters' European bookings reflected this economic uncertainty and does not reflect a competitive concern.

Bookings in Asia-Pac were flat year-over-year despite the general cooling of Asian economy. While bookings of our Korean business declined 3%, the business continues to be extremely profitable and is well positioned to retain its growth, when the Korean economy picks up. Bookings in China increased by 4% and India, 2%.

Consolidated revenue was down 3%. EPS was $0.04 versus our guidance of $0.00 to $0.04. During the first quarter, we largely completed our restructuring, and as anticipated, began the redeployment of expense dollars into marketing. During the quarter, we purchased 4.4 million shares at an average cost of $7.58, deploying $33 million.

As I mentioned at the recent Baird conference, and as many of you are able to observe, at our recent Innovation Day, we are very focused on bringing our new products to our customers on a global basis. We are aggressively pursuing market share gains in all of our key markets and are supporting this asset with increased B2B marketing dollars.

Client interest in 6Sense technology, PRS and SeeMore continues to increase. A number of our current government contracts, including DWP, ohiomeansjobs and V Aid for vets [ph] have PRS and SeeMore embedded in the solution. And the 6Sense functionality was a critical ingredient in securing those transactions. In addition, our enterprise pipeline has essentially doubled during the quarter and interest within our Staffing vertical, in particular, have significantly increased.

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