MeadWestvaco Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

MeadWestvaco (MWV)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 25, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Jason Thompson - Director of Investor Relations

John A. Luke - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of Executive Committee

James A. Buzzard - President

E. Mark Rajkowski - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Analysts

Phil M. Gresh - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Mark W. Connelly - Credit Agricole Securities (USA) Inc., Research Division

Gail S. Glazerman - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Ghansham Panjabi - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

George L. Staphos - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Mark Wilde - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Mark A. Weintraub - The Buckingham Research Group Incorporated

Chip A. Dillon - Vertical Research Partners Inc.

Presentation

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to MeadWestvaco's Second Quarter Results Conference. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I'd now like to turn the conference over to your host, Mr. Jason Thompson, Director, Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Jason Thompson

Thanks, Rochelle, and good morning, everyone. This morning, we announced our results before the market opened and a notification of this morning's call was broadly disclosed. Further, this morning's call is being webcast at mwv.com, and slides that accompany this call are available there as well.

I'll briefly remind you that certain statements we make are forward-looking and are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to known and unknown risks and uncertainties described in our public filings. Furthermore, contents contain time-sensitive information that, although correct today, may change with the passage of time.

All the results we share this morning are presented on a continuing operations basis. For the second quarter, the company's income from continuing operations was $78 million or $0.44 per share. Excluding special items, adjusted net income from continuing operations was $82 million or $0.46 per share.

Now here to tell you more about our results for the second quarter are John Luke, Chairman and CEO; Jim Buzzard, our President and Mark Rajkowski, CFO.

I'll now turn the call over to John.

John A. Luke

Jason, thanks, and good morning, everyone. MWV deliver good results in the second quarter given both the increasingly challenging conditions in the global economy and the significant top and bottom line impact from foreign exchange during the period. Overall, we increased revenue by 3.5%, including nearly $50 million of increased volume and better pricing compared to last year, and earnings were up more than 13%. This solid performance includes profitable growth in our targeted packaging markets, another record performance in Specialty Chemicals and good execution on our productivity initiatives across our manufacturing system, as well as a larger-than-normal amount of land sales.

This morning, I'll put this performance in the context of what is happening in the global economy and comment on the momentum we're building towards the profitable growth target we've laid out for the next 3 to 5 years. Jim and Mark will then provide more detail about our second quarter segment and financial results, and then we'll get to your questions following their comments.

First, slower growth around the world, especially in Europe, was a headwind for the business in the second quarter. We not only had lower demand in some markets, including food and personal care, but we also had nearly $55 million of negative impact on the top line from the depreciation of the real in euro compared to this period last year. This development masked some good volume improvement in our targeted markets, including share gains in beverage, health care and home and garden, corrugated packaging in Brazil and Specialty Chemicals.

This volume in market share gains during the quarter were a good reminder that while growth is slower, it is still growth, and we're working hard to capitalize on it. In fact, we're seeing positive momentum well above GDP levels in several of the markets we've targeted, especially in emerging markets. For instance, growth was slower in China during the period but still generally in line with the roughly 7% annualized GDP. There, beauty and personal care, home and garden and beverage categories are growing in at least steadfast while liquid packaging is growing on the order of twice that rate. And in each of these cases, our year-over-year unit volume growth during the second quarter was notably higher than the market levels.

The story was similar in Brazil, where the consumer economy is relatively stronger than the 2% to 3% annualized GDP rate. It is principally driven -- being driven by lower industrial production and commodity prices. Our corrugated packaging business in Brazil significantly outpaced the volume performance in the broader market.

With our market participation strategies, we're demonstrating that MWV can generate profitable growth. We're only 6 months into a 3- to 5-year record to add a $1 billion of profitable new revenue. In this short time, we've already put some points on the board that are reflected in our positive results in the last 2 quarters. For example, we've used our improved commercial excellence capabilities to increase our share of wallets and extend our price for value initiatives with many top customers. A great example is the revenue gains we've earned through brand engagements and packaging design work with AB InBev. As I've noted, we increased our corrugated volume in Brazil faster than the market in part by serving new customers in the region of our fifth box plant in Araçatuba.

We've moved a number of prescription drug SKUs into our new Shellpak Renew package, and we continue to benefit from other innovations launched in the last few years, including a NoC fragrance dispenser, for which we recently won a patent infringement too. And we've outperformed our business plans for the recent acquisitions of Spray Plast trigger capabilities and Polytop’s cap and closure technologies, both of which have enabled us to increase our revenue with targeted packaging customers, as well as expand into new products and geographies.

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