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

WABCO Holdings Inc. (WBC)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 26, 2012 9:00 a.m. ET

Executives

Jason Campbell - Investor Relations

Jacques Esculier - Chairman & Chief Executive Officer

Ulrich Michel - Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

David Leiker - Baird

Jeff Hammond - KeyBanc Capital Markets

Peter Chang - Credit Suisse

Alex Potter - Piper Jaffray

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to WABCO First Quarter 2012 Results Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder this conference call may be recorded.

I would now like to hand the conference over to Mr. Jason Campbell, Director of Investor Relations. Sir, you may begin.

Jason Campbell

Thank you, Saed. Good morning everyone and welcome to WABCO’s quarterly conference call. Today, we will present our first quarter 2012 results. With us this morning is Jacques Esculier, our Chairman; and CEO and Uli Michel, our Chief Financial Officer.

As a reminder this call, webcast and the presentation that we are using this morning are available on our website, wabco-auto.com under the heading WABCO Q1 2012 results. A replay of this call will be available through May 26.

Also, as shown on chart two of the presentation, certain forward-looking statements that we’ll make today are based on management’s good faith expectations and beliefs concerning future developments. As you know, actual results may differ materially from these expectations as a result of many factors, examples of which can be found in our company’s Form 10-K and quarterly reports, including our first quarter 2012 Form 10-Q which was filed this morning with the SEC.

Lastly, some of our remarks contain non-GAAP financial measures as defined by the SEC. Reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable GAAP measures are attached as an appendix to this presentation and to our press release from this morning, both of which are posted on our website.

With that I’ll turn the call over to Jacques Esculier.

Jacques Esculier

All right. Thanks, Jason. Good morning, good afternoon to you all and thank you for attending our call today. While the first quarter of 2012 is actually from the market and business standpoint very much aligned with what we had anticipated and shared with you three months ago. We actually opened the year that we call year of transition that we still believe is characterized by high level of uncertainty and by market evolution in certain of our key markets like Europe, China, Brazil. Also to recognize actually a continuous growth and recovery at this time in the North American market.

Now in this environment you will see that today WABCO is starting on a high note. We are continuing to outperform our market and actually we also set new record in operating margins. So looking at the numbers on the first page, starting with top line. First quarter sales established itself at $657 million, up 0.5% in local currencies. We generated a gross profit margin at almost 30%, 29.9% to be accurate. Which happens to be a record level for WABCO at this time and it’s significantly, nicely up versus 29.2% a year ago, leading to a performance operating income of $91.3 million which also represents 13.9% in terms of margins versus sales. And that’s also a new record breaking for WABCO.

Generating performance EPS of $1.17 versus $1.12 a year ago and a free cash flow of close to $79 million which drives a conversion rate of 102%. Of which we returned $49 million to shareholders with the repurchase of 874,000 shares. And as of today we see no reason to revise or modify our guidance and we would maintain that. So our growth this quarter is again characterized by a continuous market outperformance in a market that is uncertain and eroding in some areas of our business, as well as some new records that were our operating and gross profit margin.

Moving to this following page, as we do quarter, we kind of you give you the profiles of our sales performance starting with obviously kind of showing the 0.5% improvement in terms of performance at the top line. And then from the channel standpoint we have seen a 3% erosion from sales to OE manufacturers. It’s still up sequentially 0.5% versus the last quarter 2011. Again, kind of driving increased content per vehicle through the outperformance but again recognizing that it is in an environment where some of our key markets, particularly in Europe slowed down.

Aftermarket generated 4% growth, we broke another all time record in revenues. However, as you notice, the 4% is below the 8% to 10% that we have been used to in the latest years, and that’s because obviously we are also dealing with this slowdown in the OE activities, particularly in Europe, in aftermarket as we already shared with you. This is usually kind of going in hand in hand with the erosion of OE business even being an indicator of near future evolution of that business.

Sales through our joint ventures is representing mostly our sales to our Meritor WABCO joint venture in the U.S. at 19%. Then when we look at the evolution of our sales by region versus the evolution of the production of commercial vehicles starting with Europe, production was down 3%, our sales were down 4%. Now I would also add that production was down actually 8% versus Q4 2011 which kind of highlights the fact that quarter-to-quarter there has been a pretty strong decrease in production of commercial vehicles in Europe. That again kind of leads to rationalization of inventory of parts of companies like WABCO which obviously explains the fact that we have been lagging this market by 1%.

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