Alliant Techsystems' CEO Discusses Q4 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Alliant Techsystems (ATK)

Q4 2012 Earnings Call

May 03, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Steven P. Wold - Vice President and Treasurer

Mark W. DeYoung - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Neal S. Cohen - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Thomas G. Sexton - Vice President

Analysts

Joseph Nadol - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Noah Poponak - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Carter Copeland - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Andy Brown - Panmure Gordon & Co. plc, Research Division

Michael F. Ciarmoli - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

George Shapiro

Herbert Hardt - Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co., Inc., Research Division

Andrew Feinman

Mark Hokanson

Robert Spingarn - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Good day, everyone, and welcome to this ATK Fourth Quarter and Fiscal Year '12 Earnings Release Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded. At this time, I'd like to turn the call over to ATK Treasurer and VP of Investor Relations, Mr. Wold. Please go ahead.

Steven P. Wold

Thanks, Kathryn. Good morning, and thank you for joining us for our fourth quarter fiscal 2012 earnings call. With me this morning, I have Mark DeYoung, ATK's President and CEO; Neal Cohen, our EVP and CFO; and Tom Sexton, VP and Corporate Controller.

Before we begin, I'd like to remind you all that during the call today, we'll make several forward-looking statements. We make these statements pursuant to the Safe Harbor provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. And these statements are made based on our best estimates, estimates based on our understanding of information known to us today, and they're subject to the risks and uncertainties that face any business. We encourage you to review today's press release and our SEC filings, also, for more information on those risks and uncertainties.

Also note that we have posted charts on our website at atk.com, which supplement our comments this morning and also include reconciliations of non-GAAP financial measures.

With all that said, I turn the call over to you, Mark.

Mark W. DeYoung

Okay, Steve. Thank you very much, and good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us today. This morning, we'll discuss our fourth quarter fiscal year 2012 results and our outlook for fiscal year '13, which we entered effective April 1.

Last quarter, we announced ATK's new Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Neal Cohen. I'm confident Neal will be an important part of our leadership team as we deliver performance against our business plans and create shareholder value. And I'm pleased to have Neal here with us here today.

In FY '12, ATK streamlined our group operating structure. We expanded our accessories business. We distributed $77 million to shareholders in dividends and share repurchases. We retired $320 million in debt to strengthen our balance sheet. We continue to look for opportunities to strengthen the company again this year.

We're sustaining our previously issued FY '13 guidance for sales and cash, but now expect higher earnings per share in the range of $6.25 to $6.55. This increase reflects the benefit of lower-than-expected pension expense.

The President's 2013 Budget request was released in February. This is an election year, so there'll be continued discussion on DoD cuts under the Budget Control Act, the NASA marks from the House of Senator now out. ATK is generally platformed independent, and our diversified approach to our wide range of existing platforms gives us additional confidence.

Our business plans are built with a budget-constrained environment in mind, and near-term opportunities for sustainment of our business and growth include projects like: our Liberty solution for NASA's Commercial Crew mission; Lake City upcoming competition, which we're in now; and the MOLLE tactical gear award, just to name a few.

In terms of what we're seeing with NASA budget, there's continued bipartisan support for the President's Budget. And we believe that fiscal year '13 legislation will result in sustained support for the projections we've made regarding our NASA programs.

I'd like to highlight what's happening in each group and then talk briefly about fiscal year '13. In Aerospace Systems, our 5-segment booster will be used for initial space launch system missions beginning in 2017, with the first full-scale ground test in the spring of 2013. This transition by NASA to a heavy-lift vehicle provides a sustainable base for our large rocket motor production programs.

The group continues to deliver solid performance on Airbus A350 program. We're at the beginning of a multiyear ramp up to full-scale production of the composite stringers and frames for that aircraft.

Multiple opportunities in our satellite business continue to present themselves. We recently won a major satellite systems award that lent stability to our core capability in satellites.

In Armament Systems, they maintained solid production record this year, that the group delivered more than 250 million rounds of the new 5.56 Enhanced Performance Round or the M855A1 round. We submitted a strong proposal for continued operation and maintenance of the Lake City facility. We'll expect to hear award results later this fall.

The XM25 program continues to demonstrate game-changing capability during operational use in theater. The program is progressing to Milestone C, with a critical design review scheduled this summer. And our major precision programs continue to have the support of our Army customer, and we're confident our innovative solutions will support the mission-critical needs of the warfighter.

In Missile Products, the U.S. Navy completed its operational testing and evaluation of the Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile, or AARGM. We look forward to hearing from the Navy on their overall assessment of the missile and its readiness for the next production milestone.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

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