Hillenbrand Inc (HI)

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Hillenbrand, Inc. (HI)

F4Q08 Earnings Call

November 25, 2008 8:00 am ET


Mark R. Lanning - Vice President, Investor Relations and Treasurer

Kenneth A. Camp - President, Chief Executive Officer, Director

Cynthia L. Lucchese - Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President


[Clint Funley - Davenport]

Jamie Clement - Sidoti & Company

Jack Ripstein - Portrero Capital

Steve O’Neil - Hilliard Lyons



Welcome to Hillenbrand’s earnings call for the fourth quarter 2008. Today’s conference is being recorded and will be available for replay through midnight Eastern Time December 5, 2008 domestically at 888-203-1112 and internationally at 719-457-0820. For the replay callers will need to use confirmation code 5779184.

If you are unable to listen to the live audio only webcast, it will be archived at www.hillenbrandinc.com through November 25, 2009. If you choose to ask a question today, it will be included in any future use of this recording. Also note that any recording, transcript or other transmissions of the text or audio is not permitted without Hillenbrand’s written consent.

Now at this time it’s my pleasure to turn the conference over to Mark Lanning, Treasurer and Vice President of Investor Relations.

Mark R. Lanning

With me today are Ken Camp, Chief Executive Officer, and Cindy Lucchese, Chief Financial Officer. We would like to welcome you to our fourth quarter earnings call.

During the course of today’s conference call and the question and answer session that follows, we may make projections or other forward-looking statements that are subject to the Safe Harbor provisions of the securities laws regarding future events or the financial performance of the company. We caution you that these statements are only our view of the future and that actual results may differ materially. We also alert you to the risks described in the documents we file with the Securities and Exchange Commission such as our annual and quarterly reports on Forms 10K and 10Q. We do not undertake any obligation to update or correct any forward-looking statements.

Now let me provide some information regarding our call. We have scheduled one hour and will start with prepared remarks that should last approximately 20 minutes. We will then move directly to Q&A. If you have follow-up questions after the call has ended, please don’t hesitate to phone me at 812-934-7256 or email me at mrlanning@hillenbrand.com.

As our first order of business I want to remind you about our analyst and investor conference which we announced at the end of October. The event is scheduled for Wednesday, December 3, at the Millennium Broadway Hotel on Times Square in New York City. We’ll discuss our core business including progress on our 2008 strategic initiatives, our financial guidance for the new fiscal year and our plans for 2009. I know many of you have been interested in more information about our Hillenbrand growth strategy and we’ve worked closely with our Board to develop and refine the plan we’ll be sharing with you at the conference.

We hope you’ll be able to join us in person but for those who are unable to do so, please remember you can also attend our analyst and investor day via webcast. To register and get more details, go to our website at www.hillenbrandinc.com.

Now it is my pleasure to turn the call over to Ken Camp, the President and CEO of Hillenbrand, Inc.

Kenneth A. Camp

Thank you for joining our earnings call during this very busy holiday week.

Before we get into the earnings and business update, I want to provide you with encouraging late-breaking news about the anti-trust litigation that has been reported in our previous public filings. We learned last night that the magistrate judge in the Southern District of Texas has issued an order recommending denial of class certification in both the Funeral Consumers Alliance and Pioneer Valley cases. The order is awaiting acceptance and confirmation by the district judge. We don’t have further details at this time but will keep you posted as we know more.

Now let’s turn to the purpose of our call today. We’ll be talking about a number of items starting with highlights of our performance for the fourth quarter and for fiscal year 2008 which ended September 30. I’ll give you an update regarding our progress on key initiatives followed by a brief overview of our results and how we’ve performed in the current economic climate. Then I’ll turn the call over to Cindy Lucchese for details about our quarterly and annual financial results. I’ll then wrap up the prepared portion of this call with some closing thoughts and after that both Cindy and I will be available to take your questions.

In this morning’s press release we reported that Hillenbrand has once again posted solid results for the quarter and for our first fiscal year end as a stand-alone public company. In an economy that’s been particularly challenging in the past few months we’re pleased that we’ve been able to not only weather the financial storms but also to maintain consistent annual revenue and earnings.

Revenue for the fourth quarter was in line with 2007 as price realization helped offset the effects of a declining casket market and continued downward mixed pressure. Our relentless application of continuous improvement initiatives helped to partially offset increases in steel and fuel prices resulting in slightly higher gross margins. At the bottom line we posted slight increases in net income and earnings per share. We’re pleased with our results for the fiscal year which were above the midpoint of our guidance. Cindy will provide more details regarding our financial results a bit later in the call.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com