Valassis' Management Presents At J.P. Morgan Technology, Media And Telecom Conference (Transcript)

Valassis Communications Inc. (VCI)

J.P. Morgan Technology, Media and Telecom Conference Transcript

May 17, 2012 11:10 AM ET


Bob Recchia – Chief Financial Officer



Unidentified Analyst

I’m pleased to welcome Valassis Communications to the J.P. Morgan TMT Conference. Valassis is a leading marketing -- media and marketing services company, both national and local level, reaching $100 million households every week through the mail, internet and store and newspapers. With us today is Bob Recchia, CFO. Thanks for being here Bob.

Bob Recchia

Thank you.

Unidentified Analyst

To start it off, could you give an update on advertising trends you are seeing both for Valassis, specifically in the wider promotional market?

Bob Recchia

Yeah. Just I would start with Valassis specifically the numbers that we saw in the first quarter are pretty much an indication of what we expect in the first half of the year in terms the trends. And in that, I mean, the businesses that we’ve been doing well and should continue to perform well and the challenge businesses mainly the once we are reliant on consumer packaged goods revenues. I think they are going to continue to be challenge for the first half of the year.

We should see an uptick in our Shared Mail business which is the obviously our driver for the business in Q2. We’ve still got a little bit of time left in Q2 to rapid it up, but I think we’ll see an uptick versus Q1.

Our Clearing business continues to do very, very well that’s the NCH business. We do believe we are seeing a leveling off on coupon redemption is really a function of the decrease in number of coupons that we’ve seen going out from FSI over the past really three quarters are starting to take effect even though rate of redemption has gone up, we are seeing a leveling out there. But we still think that business will continue to perform very well throughout 2012.

Problem here is for us continue to be neighborhood targeted with margins continue to be under pressure. I don’t see that elevating anytime soon and then the FSI business obviously as a result of the pull back in the spend from CPGs has been impacted somewhat negatively.

We are going to have comp issues throughout the first three quarters of the year in terms revenue not as bad on the profitability side, because it’s primarily as a result of loosing the customer co-op business.

But we haven’t seen the bounce back from the consumer packaged goods companies yet. Clearly not what it was in the back half of last year, it was down about 10%, we think it will be downward single digits in the first half of this year as an industry.

So we are seeing it stabilizing out. We do think it will come back to some degree in the back half of the year because we are talking to customers who are loosing market share with pull back in FSI. So I’d rather believe there is going to be a little bit of an uptick in second half of the year, but it’s a little bit earlier to tell.

As far as the broader market, I think you were talking that, we think the overall spend market is probably showing down about 1%. How that relates across all project, I don’t know but that’s the number we are getting.

Unidentified Analyst

And you would say that’s the promotional market, how does…

Bob Recchia

Yeah. That’s the ad market. Yeah, the ad market.

Unidentified Analyst

Overall ad market. Okay. And you had a tough first quarter, much it was expected, I think you’ve -- you had said that, it was a bit disappointing, but you maintain your full year outlook. So is it the Shared Mail and maybe some CPGs spending coming back that gives you the confidence that you still going to hit your targets?

Bob Recchia

Well, I think, it’s a couple of things, one, we think Q2 is stronger in Shared Mail than Q1 was. I’m not banking on CPGs spend coming back for the rest of the year, so we saw the model that the way it is today.

And then we did talked at the end of Q1 that we are going to sit and try take some costs out of the underperforming businesses, because we’ve got revenue down in few of the segments and even more so in some of the smaller businesses, we need to right size those businesses and make them a little bit more efficient. So we are going through that process right. We’ll be talking a little bit more about in detail on the second quarter call.

Unidentified Analyst

So you are further into Shared Mail the uptick you are seeing this quarter versus some of the weakness you saw last quarter. You talked about, what you are saying as a specific ad categories or just bookings being naturally a bit volatile?

Bob Recchia

Okay. So, I need to clarify this, because when we talk about uptick versus weakness, we are probably talking about $5 million or $6 million of revenue. It just -- it’s not that precise for us.

We came in Q1 at 1.7% revenue growth, if I take you back to the third quarter of last year. We did 1.4% and after that we were continually defending ourselves that we can get to 3% and we actually did 5.4% in the fourth quarter, which got us to 3.3% for the year.

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