Buckeye's CEO Presents At UBS Global Paper & Forest Products Conference (Transcript)

Buckeye Technologies Inc. (BKI)

UBS Global Paper & Forest Products Conference Transcript

September 13, 2012 11:15 AM ET


John Crowe - Chairman and CEO

Steve Dean - Chief Financial Officer

Doug Dowdell - Head, Specialty Fibers

Eric Whaley - Director, Investor Relations


Gail Glazerman - UBS Securities


Gail Glazerman - UBS Securities

All right. So we are again moving to the home stretch, most of the focus to the later morning, early after is going to be on various forms of pulp, mainly towards the value added in. To that end, I’m happy to be able to introduce John Crowe from Buckeye Technologies, Chairman and CEO. With him today also we’ve got Steve Dean, Chief Financial Officer and perhaps, I can put, Doug Dowdell, Head of the Specialty Fibers business to be test during Q&A.

But Buckeye is a leading producer of high-end specialty pulp, as well as they are now moving, they’ve been through a huge transformation over the last couple of years. I’m very happy to turn the mic over to John Crowe

John Crowe

Thanks, Gail, and thanks for having us. I’d like to also introduce our Investor Relations -- Director of Investor Relations plus Eric Whaley. So Eric with us here and Doug and Steve are originally promoted to Executive Vice President also of Buckeye Technologies.

So thanks for having us. It’s a pleasure to be with you and take this opportunity to talk about Buckeye Technologies. Before discussing, however, I’d like to at least direct your attention to our Safe Harbor statement, which is up on the screen. I’m sure you have seen several of those today.

And then real quick, we’ll go to the next one. This is our agenda. This is what I plan to talk about today with you. As you can see particularly if you are familiar with, if you are not familiar with us. We have made some excellent progress over the last few years, growing our sales, our EBITDA and earnings per share.

We’ve been generating returns well above our cost-to-capital and we continue to generate strong fee cash flow. The bulk of our free cash flow has been used to reduce our net debt and today our net debt is close to zero. We are clearly under leveraged and positioned, and this has position us to take advantage of investment opportunities.

Our CapEx has increased significantly as we work on high rated return projects, it also enables us to look at complimentary acquisitions and return cash to shareholders through the combination of dividends and share repurchases.

Reflecting that, we initiated our first dividend in Buckeye’s history on August of 2010 and we have raised it four times since then and have repurchased over 3% of our stock outstanding during fiscal year 2012.

Despite our strong performance, our stock trades at lower EBITDA multiples in the average paper company. Analysts compare us to other paper companies most of which we have little in common world.

Looking at our margins, our return on invested capital and product mix all of which I will be discussing. We are much closer to our financial and product characteristic in specialty chemical companies, which trade at much high multiples. Many of our customers are chemical companies. Our major product, high-purity pulp is a chemical product.

Now let me explain our products and results, so if you can understand us better and view us properly, after that I will discuss our vision and how we are positioned to continue to generate increased shareholder value.

Looking at slide number four, Buckeye is a leading producer of value added cellulose-based specialty products. Our specialty pulps are made from both wood and cotton linter fibers which undergo chemical processes.

They go into many of the niche markets displaced on this slide and their prices are generally higher and more stable than traditional paper pulp of lower purity viscose is like lower -- traditional paper pulps are lower-purity viscose dissolving pulps. They are also highly technical in nature which limits competition.

This is our pulp pyramid. Our specialty pulps are at the top of this pyramid they are most difficult to produce and have the highest level of purity or alpha cellulose content. We are focused on the 94% to 99% alpha area. Low end dissolving namely viscose use for producing rayon is round the 92% alpha level.

In addition, we produce fluff pulp which is mainly used in absorbent end applications. It is represented by the green portion of the pyramid, fluff pulp is traditionally been more commodity like although it has been more stable in the recent years. In fact, we attribute to demand growth, which we estimated about 4% per year, primarily out of emerging markets.

Over the last 12 months, the fluff pulp price has declined after reaching record levels. However, since a recent of low of $910 per ton, the recent index has generally trended upwards and was $940 per ton last week. Buckeye fluff pulp has priced up this index.

90% of the world’s fluff pulp is produced in Southern United States due to the favorable absorbency characteristics for diapers, feminine care and other products that the Southern Yellow Pine wood provides.

No one is building a new fluff pulp mill in the Southern U.S. and has not done so for many years due to the cost and issues residing on. While several existing paper pulp mills have recently converted to fluff there are also a couple of convergences away from fluff including projects we are undertaking to increase our capacity of higher purity pulps. I will discuss this product -- project in more detail later. Bottom line the fluff pulp demand is growing at a good rate and long-term supply has somewhat limited.

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