Energizer Holdings' CEO Discusses F3Q12 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Energizer Holdings, Inc. (ENR)

F3Q12 Earnings Call

August 1, 2012 10:00 AM ET

Executives

Jackie Burwitz – VP, IR

Dan Sescleifer – EVP and CFO

Ward Klein – CEO

Analysts

Bill Chappell – SunTrust

Bill Schmitz – Deutsche Bank

Ali Dibadj – Bernstein

Nik Modi – UBS

Christopher Ferrara – Merrill Lynch

Jason Gere – RBC Capital Markets

John Faucher – JP Morgan

Connie Maneaty – BMO Capital Markets

Presentation

Operator

Good morning. My name is Jasmine, and I’ll be your conference operator today. At this time, I would like to welcome everyone to the Energizer Holdings, Inc. Fiscal 2012 Third Quarter Earnings Result Conference Call. After the speakers’ remarks, there will be a question and answer session (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference call over to Jackie Burwitz, Vice President, Investor Relations. You may begin your conference.

Jackie Burwitz

Thank you, Jasmine. And good morning everyone. Thank you for joining us on Energizer’s Third Quarter Fiscal 2012 Earnings Conference Call. With me this morning are Ward Klein, Chief Executive Officer; and Dan Sescleifer, Chief Financial Officer. This call is being recorded and will be available for replay via our website, energizerholdings.com.

During our prepared comments and the question and answer session that follows, we may make statements expressing the expectations of management regarding our future plans and performance, including future results or events, future sales, earnings, earnings per share, investment, capital expenditures, advertising and promotional spending, cost savings related to our internal initiatives and working capital projects, the impact of price increases, currency fluctuations, raw material and commodity costs, category value, future plans for return of capital to shareholders and the future growth in our businesses.

Any said statements are forward-looking statements which reflect our current views with respect to future events and are based on assumptions and therefore are subject to risk and uncertainty. These risks, uncertainties and other factors may cause our actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from those expressed or implied by our forward-looking statement.

These risks and uncertainties include without limitation those described under the caption “Risk Factors” in our Annual Report on Form 10-K, filed November 22, 2011. We do not undertake or plan to update these forward-looking statements even though our situation may change, and these forward-looking statements represent our views as of today only.

During this call, we will be referring to non-GAAP financial measures. These non-GAAP measures are not prepared in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles. A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measures is shown in the press release issued earlier today, which is available in the Investor Relations section of our website, energizerholdings.com. Management believes these non-GAAP measures provide investors valuable information on the underlying growth trends of the business.

With that, I would to call – turn the call over to Dan.

Dan Sescleifer

Thanks Jackie. For the third quarter, GAAP earnings per share were $1.06 compared to $0.94 in the third quarter of 2011. As outlined in the table in the press release, adjusted earnings per share were $1.18 for the June quarter compared to a $1.37 in the same quarter last year. Net sales on an organic basis declined 6.6%, which I will explain in greater detail when reviewing the divisional results.

Gross margin for the quarter was 47%, a 60 basis point improvement versus a year ago and 130 basis point improvement excluding unfavorable currencies due primarily to improved product costs and favorable product mix. Advertising and promotion expense was down 9% versus year ago but was roughly flat as a percentage of sales due to the sales decline in the quarter. SG&A, excluding a $13.5 million litigation provision, increased $5.1 million or 2% during the quarter but was up almost 200 basis points as a percentage of sales due to the sales decline.

Now turning into divisional results. In Personal Care, organic sales declined 5% due to lower sales across most major product lines. Organically, our Wet Shaves segment declined 5% as gains within the Hydro franchise were offset elsewhere. Within Hydro, men’s refills continue to grow at double-digit rates and the Power Select and women’s Hydro Silk products, both of which launched in the second quarter, provided year-over-year sales growth partially offset by lower sales of Hydro men’s razor handles.

We also experienced sales declines in the other razor and blade sub-segments, which more than offset the growth in the Hydro franchise including legacy men’s and women’s systems related to the Hydro launch and lower sales of disposables.

Sales of the Hydro men’s razor handles declined in the quarter due to comparatively high prior year razor handle shipments from trial-generating investments. Declines in the razor handle shipments are typical on a comparative basis, as we move away from the initial launch period and consumers’ purchases shift to refill blades.

Importantly, refill sales have increased significantly every quarter since launch and were up 21% this quarter versus the third quarter of fiscal 2011 and 57% year-to-date. All segments of Wet Shave were impacted by intense competitive activity and spending levels.

Net sales in Skin Care decreased 6% due to higher trade and promotional investments and unfavorable product mix. Our Banana Boat and Hawaiian Tropic volumes increased versus prior year despite timing of the seasonal recess, which pulled the Easter shipments into the second quarter of this year.

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