Cabot's CEO Discusses F3Q 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Cabot Corporation (CBT)

F3Q 2012 Earnings Call

August 1, 2012 2:00 pm ET

Executives

Erica McLaughlin – Vice President, Investor Relations

Patrick M. Prevost – President and Chief Executive Officer

Eduardo E. Cordeiro – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

David A. Miller – Executive Vice President and General Manager, Core Segment and General Manager, Americas Region

Sean D. Keohane – Senior Vice President and General Manager, Performance Segment

Analysts

Ivan M. Marcuse – KeyBanc Capital Markets

Saul H. Ludwig – Northcoast Research Partners LLC

John E. Roberts – Buckingham Research Group, Inc.

Lucy K. Watson – Jefferies & Co., Inc.

Jeffrey Zekauskas – JPMorgan

David I. Begleiter – Deutsche Bank Securities Inc.

Christopher W. Butler – Sidoti & Co. LLC

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Quarter Three 2012 Cabot Earnings Conference Call. My name is Sharon and I’ll be your operator for today. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. We will conduct a question-and-answer session towards the end of this conference. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this call is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would like to turn the call over to Ms. Erica McLaughlin, Vice President, Investor Relations. Please proceed.

Erica McLaughlin

Thank you, Sharon. Good afternoon. I’d like to welcome you to the Cabot Corporation earnings teleconference. Here this afternoon are Patrick Prevost, Cabot’s President and CEO; Eddie Cordeiro, Cabot’s Chief Financial Officer; Dave Miller, General Manager of the Core Segment; Sean Keohane, General Manager of the Performance Segment; Fred von Gottberg, General Manager of the New Business Segment; Jim Kelly, Corporate Controller; and Brian Berube, our General Counsel.

Last night, we released results for our third quarter of fiscal year 2012, copies of which are posted in the Investor Relations section of our Web site. For those on our mailing list, you receive the press release either by e-mail or fax. If you are not on our mailing list and are interested in receiving this information in the future, please contact Investor Relations. The slide deck that accompanies this call is also available in the Investor Relations portion of our website and will be available in conjunction with the replay of the call.

I remind you that our conversation today will include forward-looking statements, which are subject to risks and uncertainties, and Cabot’s actual results may differ materially from those expressed in the forward-looking statements. A list of factors that could affect Cabot’s actual results can be found in the press release we issued last night and are discussed more fully in the reports we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission, particularly in our last Annual Report on Form 10-K. These filings can be found in the Investor Relations portion of our website.

I will now turn the call over to Patrick Prevost, who will discuss the key highlights of the company’s performance for the quarter and the acquisition of Norit. Eddie Cordeiro will review the business segment and corporate financial details. Following this, Patrick will provide closing comments and open the floor to questions. Patrick?

Patrick M. Prevost

Thank you, Erica, and good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. I’m pleased with our performance this quarter despite of challenging economic environment. Our continued focus on value pricing and margin expansion has enabled a 32% increase to adjusted earnings per share, as compared to the same quarter last year. While our rubber blacks volumes were unfavorably impacted by the macroeconomic environment in Europe and Asia, we continue to benefit from our value pricing initiatives and investments in yield and energy efficiency technology.

In North America, we continue to see strength in certain segments such as the original equipment and off-the-road tire markets, but weakening consumer confidence is negatively affected the replacement tire market. In our other businesses, we saw higher sequential volumes in our performance segment and inkjet colorants business, supported by the new capacity we have brought online over the last few quarters.

We also introduced a number of new products with unique performance attributes continuing to strengthen our portfolio. Our specialty fluids segment also had another strong quarter with the completion of a number of large jobs and geographic expansion into Asia.

Delivering on our objectives is key focus for us. This includes capacity expansion, energy efficiency and yield technology investments. We are progressing well with our announced capacity expansion plans and the completion of these projects will provide significant volume leverage as demand recovers.

As we discussed last quarter, there are number of expansions that have been completed, including the addition of rubber blacks capacity in Indonesia, fumed metal oxides and massive expansions in China and an inkjet expansion in the U.S. We anticipate the completion of future capacity additions by the end of calendar year 2012, including rubber black capacity in South America and Europe and a few metal oxides debottleneck in Europe.

All of the rubber blacks projects will result in approximately 80,000 metric tons of new capacity. This will be in Indonesia, South America and Europe, and will be completed by the end of this calendar year. By the end of the following calendar year in 2013, we plan to complete additional rubber blacks capacity of about 140,000 metric tons mainly in China, but also in Europe. And we also have an efficient debottleneck of our specialty carbon black capacity in Europe.

Along with the capacity expansion projects, we are also on track with our investments in energy efficiency and yield technology. We have put two new projects into production in Asia and Europe during our third quarter. And we’re excited about these new process technology investments as they address both our sustainability goals and our financial return expectations. They continue to position us as the low cost producer in most geographies.

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