Advanced Energy Industries' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Advanced Energy Industries (AEIS)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 01, 2012 8:30 am ET


Annie Leschin -

Garry W. Rogerson - Chief Executive Officer and Director

Yuval Wasserman - President of The Thin Films Business Unit

Gordon Tredger -

Danny C. Herron - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President


Joseph A. Maxa - Dougherty & Company LLC, Research Division

Krish Sankar - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Weston Twigg - Pacific Crest Securities, Inc., Research Division

Unknown Analyst

Edwin Mok - Needham & Company, LLC, Research Division

Mark Delaney - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Mehdi Hosseini - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Colin W. Rusch - ThinkEquity LLC, Research Division

Olga Levinzon - Barclays Capital, Research Division



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Advanced Energy Industries First Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded for replay purposes. [Operator Instructions] I would now like to turn the presentation over to Annie Leschin of Investor Relations. Please proceed.

Annie Leschin

Thank you, operator, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining us this morning for our first quarter 2012 earnings conference call. With me on day's call are Garry Rogerson, Chief Executive Officer; Danny Herron, Executive Vice President and CFO; Yuval Wasserman, President of the Thin Films business unit; and Gordon Tredger, President of the Solar Energy business unit. By now, you should have received your copy of the earnings release that was issued yesterday. For a copy of the release, please visit our website at or contact us directly at (970) 407-4670.

This quarter, Advanced Energy will be participating in the Barclays Global Technology Media and Telecom Conference on May 22 in New York and the BofA Small and Mid-Cap Conference on June 6 in Boston. As other events come up, we will make additional announcements.

I'd like to remind everyone that except for the historical financial information contained herein, the matters discussed on this conference call contain certain forward-looking statements subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such statements. Statements that include the terms believes, expects, plans, objectives, estimates, anticipates, intends, targets or the like should be viewed as forward looking and uncertain. Such risks and uncertainties include, but are not limited to, the volatility and cyclicality of the industries we serve, the timing of orders received from our customers and unanticipated changes in our estimates, reserves or allowances, as well as other factors listed in our press release. These and other risks are described in Forms 10-K and 10-Q and other reports filed with the SEC.

In addition, we assume no obligation to update the information that we provide you during this call, including the second quarter guidance provided today and in our press release. Guidance will not be updated after today's call until our next scheduled quarterly financial release.

I'd now like to turn the call over to Garry Rogerson, CEO of Advanced Energy.

Garry W. Rogerson

Welcome, everyone, and thank you for joining us this morning. I will begin today with a few comments on the quarter, provide an update on our cost reduction efforts and then discuss the next stage of our strategic plan, getting closer to customers and maximizing growth.

Starting with Slide 4, first quarter performance met our expectations. Sales of large-scale inverters were in line with their seasonally weak first quarter. In Thin Films, most of our markets remain at near-cyclical lows with the exception of semiconductors, which were stronger than anticipated, reflecting the industry momentum.

Total revenues declined 6% sequentially to $106 million, and we achieved non-GAAP earnings per share of $0.06. Although we exceeded our profitability target this quarter and improved Solar Energy margins, Thin Films operating margins were lower due to a one-time occurrence that pressurized gross margins. We ended the quarter with almost $151 million in cash, having generated nearly $30 million, excluding stock repurchases.

We ended 2012 with annualized cost reductions of $12 million, a redesigned compensation plan in effect and a new allocation of corporate expenses to each business unit. As you can see on Slide 5, we again lowered our operating cost this quarter, adding another $14 million annual cost savings and bringing our cumulative total to $26 million. Specifically this quarter, we exited several facilities relating to our Solar Energy business and completed an agreement to sell the remaining portions of our Aera Mass Flow Controller business to Hitachi. The deal will close either in Q2 or Q3.

Utilizing our manufacturing in Shenzhen, we also began qualifying our sub-assemblies. These sub-assemblies should be incorporated into our products and start shipping in Q2. Our breakeven is now below $100 million, mainly due to the measures we have taken to reduce our operating expenses. In parallel with these steps has been our increasing focus on lowering manufacturing costs by establishing Shenzhen as the hub of all our manufacturing activities. As Shenzhen starts ramping up manufacturing of sub-assemblies and sourcing parts locally, we should see some significant cost benefits.

Overall, we are on track with our plans and have made significant progress towards achieving our 3 main cost reduction goals: one, to balance the cyclicality of our business; two, to reach profitability in our Solar Energy business; and three, to improve our margins and profitability, such that we are bringing much more profits to the bottom line.

Turning now to the utilization of cash on Slide 6. During the quarter, we were pleased with our cash generation of $29.4 million and took several steps to invest in ourselves. Since the stock repurchase plan was announced in November, we had bought back a total of 4.1 million shares or about $44 million of stock and planned to continue these efforts throughout the year. We're also seeking bolt on acquisitions for both business units that can easily transition into our facilities and quickly become accretive. This is an unpredictable process, but what I can say is that the active list of companies we are looking at is growing.

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