Beazer Homes USA Management Discusses Q3 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Beazer Homes USA (BZH)

Q3 2012 Earnings Call

August 03, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Jeffrey S. Hoza - Corporate Vice President

Allan P. Merrill - Chief Executive Officer, President and Director

Robert L. Salomon - Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Executive Vice President, Senior Vice President and Controller

Analysts

David Goldberg - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Alan Ratner - Zelman & Associates, Research Division

Daniel Oppenheim - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Michael Rehaut - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Will Randow - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Adam Rudiger - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Alex Barrón - Housing Research Center, LLC

Presentation

Operator

Good morning, and welcome to the Beazer Homes Earnings Conference Call for the Third Quarter of Fiscal Year 2012. Today's call is being recorded and will be hosted by Allan Merrill, the company's Chief Executive Officer. Joining him on the call today will be Bob Salomon, the company's Chief Financial Officer. Before he begins, Jeff Hoza, Vice President and Treasurer, will give instructions on accessing the company's slide presentation over the Internet and will make comments regarding forward-looking information. Mr. Hoza?

Jeffrey S. Hoza

Thank you, Tonya. Good morning, and welcome to Beazer Homes conference call discussing our results for the quarter ended June 30, 2012. During this call, we will webcast a synchronized presentation which can be found on the Investor page at beazer.com.

Before we begin, you should be aware that during this call, we will be making forward-looking statements. Such statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially. Such risks, uncertainties and other factors are described in our SEC filings, including our report on Form 10-K.

Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and except as required by law, we do not undertake any obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statement, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict such factors.

Joining me today are Allan Merrill, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and Bob Salomon, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Following their prepared remarks, we will take questions in the time remaining.

I will now turn the call over to Allan.

Allan P. Merrill

Thank you, Jeff, and thank you for joining us this morning. On our call today, I'll update -- I'll summarize our recent capital transactions, recap our results for the third quarter and update you on the progress we've made to date on our operational objectives and financial goals for the year.

After the quarter, we successfully completed a series of important capital markets transactions that significantly strengthened our balance sheet, reduced annual interest expense and increased our liquidity. Specifically, we raised over $170 million of growth capital through the issuance of 22 million shares of common stock and 4.6 million tangible equity units. We refinanced our 12% notes that were due in 2017 with a 6.625% notes that are due in 2018, and we received commitments from 4 financial institutions for $150 million revolver. Combined, these transactions will save us approximately $15 million in annual interest expense and enable us to more confidently grow our new home community count with an overall goal of accelerating our return to profitability.

At this point, we are very comfortable with our balance sheet, although there are 2 topics we're thinking about. The first is finding the right time and structure to refinance our 2015 and 2016 notes. Continued improvements in operations, I think, we'll have plenty of opportunities to address this prior to maturity.

The second topic relates to our common stock. We're very sensitive to the dilution experienced by our shareholders with the recent capital raise and the share price performance since the offering. At the same time, we have heard from many market participants that our low share price and high stock price volatility are impediments for prospective shareholders. For this reason, the board is currently considering whether a reverse stock split may be beneficial. While a reverse split, we do nothing to change the value of the company, it may signal to investors that our balance sheet has been substantially enhanced and we're now in a forward-looking path-to-profitability mode. In the event we decide to pursue such a reverse split, we would expect to adjust downward our total authorized shares by some amount. And of course, any decision by our board on this matter would be explicitly subject to shareholder approval.

The highlights from our third quarter include substantially higher new home orders and closings with improvements in every geographic segment. This quarter represents the fourth consecutive quarter of year-over-year improvement in these key metrics.

In terms of specific numbers, we recorded 1,555 new home orders, which was up 28% over the third quarter of fiscal 2011, despite having a lower community count. The orders were driven by a substantial improvement in sales per community per month, which grew from 2.2 in last year's third quarter to about 2.9 this year.

We closed 1,109 new homes, up 40% over the third quarter of fiscal 2011. We ended the quarter with a backlog that is 33% higher than the same time last year. We generated unlevered homebuilding gross margins of 16.7%, allowing us to reach a year-to-date gross margin of 18%, the same as last year's gross margins on a year-to-date basis. And we maintained substantial liquidity, ending the quarter with $232 million in unrestricted cash, which was further enhanced by our financing transactions in July.

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