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Rob has been with the company for ten year, most recently as Vice President and Corporate Controller, and has been involved as strategic activities, such as the acquisitions of VAC and EaglePicher. He knows the company very well, and will help us get the story out to the investment community.So let’s get started on slide 3, I’m pleased to report that we started the New Year with solid results in the first quarter of 2012. Despite low cobalt prices sales and profitability are higher than the prior year. This performance is based largely on the strength of VAC, which we acquired last August and EaglePicher which we acquired in 2010. These two businesses form the foundations of our newest strategic platforms; Magnetic Technologies and Battery Technologies. They both accounted for a substantial portion of our first quarter performance, underscoring the progress we’ve made in our strategic transformation over the past few years. As anticipated in our last call with you, our businesses faced challenges, including lower metal prices, customer disruptions from the Thailand flooding, and the economic pressures on some of our European customers. In spite of these challenges as a result of our portfolio diversification, we were able to deliver solid and improved financial results. Compared with last year, sales grew 41%, while adjusted EBITDA grew 42%. Cash flow was very good in the month of March, reversing the trends of January and February. We anticipate generating strong cash flows during the second quarter and for the full year driven by lower working capital levels. Our first quarter results included positive rare-earth pricing effects, similar to our second half results from last year. Slide four provides an overview of our business portfolio. Advanced Materials or Cobalt franchise contributed $15 million of adjusted EBITDA during the first quarter, this is a great business with market leading positions and is a consistent generator of cash. However, it does have significant exposure to metal prices.
On the right-hand side of the chart, and this is important are the three platforms that we built by executing our transformation strategy. These businesses contributed nearly $67 million of EBITDA or 81% of the consolidated total excluding corporate expenses. Most of our economic performance is now driven by businesses with exposure to attract it, long-term end market dynamics and by businesses that are better rewarded for the value they bring to customers not for selling materials by the pound.Our strategic platforms provide multiple task for organic growth as well opportunities for synergistic acquisitions to create shareholder value. Turning to slide 5, the execution of our strategy enhances our ability to grow profitably and sustainably. As these charts demonstrate trailing 12-month sales have nearly doubled compared to 2009 while adjusted EBITDA has more than doubled, and this does not yet reflect a full year of VAC results. OM Group is definitely on the move. Turning to slide 6, through strategic realignment of our portfolio and solid execution of our strategy, we’ve created a diversified materials company with growing exposure to attractive end markets. With our platforms established, we are clearly focused on enhancing the value of this company by continuously developing our capabilities, identifying and acting on synergistic acquisitions, investing in organic growth and improving our operating execution. What does this take us, our vision as a company where sales grow faster than GDP and earnings grow faster than sales due to our operating leverage. We remain committed to prudent financial and operational management to maintain earnings growth and cash flow generation, and we’ll continue the strategy to create long-term shareholder value. Slide 7, includes our key enterprise priorities for 2012. We’ve already discussed the positive impact from our VAC acquisition, not only through its contribution to our sales and earnings, but to the effectives we had on our portfolio transformation and our ability to build off that platform in the future. We’ve introduced new products, our activity level remains high in both sales and development of new products, and we’re seeing opportunities to gain market share through increased customer penetration and expansion in our new accounts and regions. All of these actions help us to deliver against our strategic objectives and bring about transformation of our portfolio. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com