Nielsen Holdings N.V. Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Nielsen Holdings N.V. (NLSN)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 25, 2012 8:30 am ET


Liz Zale - Senior Vice President of Investor Relations

David L. Calhoun - Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director

Brian J. West - Chief Financial Officer and Chief Financial Officer of Nielsen Finance Llc


Andrew C. Steinerman - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Suzanne E. Stein - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Brian Karimzad - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Eric J. Boyer - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Sara Gubins - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Matthew Chesler - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Douglas M. Arthur - Evercore Partners Inc., Research Division

William A. Warmington - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Kelly A. Flynn - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Ashwin Shirvaikar - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Tim Nollen - Macquarie Research

Mark J. Zgutowicz - Piper Jaffray Companies, Research Division

Bishop Cheen - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Edward J. Atorino - The Benchmark Company, LLC, Research Division



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for holding. And welcome to this conference call on the Second Quarter 2012 Results for Nielsen Holdings N.V. [Operator Instructions] And today's call is being recorded.

I will now turn the conference over to the host, Liz Zale, Senior Vice President of Investor Relations. Ms. Zale, please proceed.

Liz Zale

Thank you, Rocco. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us to discuss Nielsen's second quarter financial performance. Joining me on the call today from Nielsen is David Calhoun, our Chief Executive Officer; and Brian West, our Chief Financial Officer.

Before we begin our prepared remarks, I'd like to remind all of you that the following discussion contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These forward-looking statements may include comments about Nielsen’s outlook, expectations and prospects. These and other statements that relate to future financial results and events are based on Nielsen’s view as of today, July 25, 2012.

Our actual results in future periods may differ materially from those currently expected because of a number of risks and uncertainties. The risks and uncertainties that we believe to be material are outlined in Nielsen’s 2011 Form 10-K and other filings and materials, which you can find on We encourage you to consult these documents for a more complete understanding of these risks and uncertainties. We disclaim any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as may be required by securities laws.

A slide presentation that we’ll use on this call is available under the events section of our Investor Relations website at

We use certain non-GAAP measures to evaluate the results of our operations. We believe these non-GAAP measures provide useful information to investors regarding financial and business trends when viewed in conjunction with our GAAP results of operations. Further definition and a reconciliation of these non-GAAP measures to our results under GAAP is available at the end of our press release. It is also in the Appendix of the webcast slide presentation we're using on today's call and on our IR website.

Our agenda for today's call will start with Dave with a brief summary of our results for the quarter and the business update. Then, Brian will discuss financials for the quarter and will take us through full year guidance, and then we'll take time to address your questions.

And now to start the call, I'd like to introduce our CEO, David Calhoun.

David L. Calhoun

Hi. Good morning, everyone. First slide. Absent currency translation, we had a very solid operating quarter. Revenue on a reported basis declined 1%; on a constant-currency basis, grew 4%. Adjusted EBITDA grew 1% on a reported basis and up 5% on a constant-currency basis. Margin expansion met expectations in every way and net debt leverage of 4x as we finished the quarter.

Growth and resilience were sort of apparent in what is clearly a more difficult macro environment. And for us, you see those implications in the developing markets, as well as the developed markets. Tangible progress in all our growth investments. High confidence. We'll talk about a few of those here in the upfront comments, and then we'll get more to it in Q&A I'm sure. And we are reaffirming our 2012 guidance.

With respect to the operating environment, strong growth in North America. For us, it has been robust, 7% on the buy side, which is, of course, sort of the bigger piece of the puzzle. And the Wal-Mart implementation went beautifully with very, very little lift in 2Q with respect to revenue in buy. So those are -- those days are ahead of us.

Difficult operating climate in western Europe, not news to anybody. Just to frame it, that is a little less than 15% of our overall revenue. Despite that tough environment, the resilience of our information business is always as apparent, and it continues to grow. Insights has been -- has declined quite a bit over 20%.

Solid growth in the developing markets, but not as robust as I would like. As you all know, we have a target of double digit. In the quarter, it grew 7%. Global multinationals are clearly being more selective. Believe it or not, I believe most of that is a reaction to difficulties in developed markets and just more selective resource calls.

Local clients continue to accelerate. Our first-time client count continues to go up. And the growth in our priority markets, or what I'll call our investment markets: China, India and Africa does, across the board, meet the double-digit test. Consistent growth in Watch, with a real momentum in OCR and in ad solutions. We don't talk a lot about the ad solutions piece, but it is a very robust business in our environment.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on

More from Stocks

How to Invest in Cannabis - In Its Many Forms

How to Invest in Cannabis - In Its Many Forms

Jim Cramer: Aramark Is a Great Company but It's Levered to Baseball

Jim Cramer: Aramark Is a Great Company but It's Levered to Baseball

Preferred Stock & Common Stock: What's the Difference?

Preferred Stock & Common Stock: What's the Difference?

How to Buy a Stock

How to Buy a Stock

How to Open a Brokerage Account

How to Open a Brokerage Account