PPG Industries, Inc. (PPG)

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PPG Industries (PPG)

Q4 2012 Earnings Call

January 14, 2013 11:00 am ET


Vincent J. Morales - Vice President of Investor Relations

Charles E. Bunch - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Member of Operating Committe

David B. Navikas - Chief Financial Officer, Principal Accounting Officer, Senior Vice President of Finance and Member of Operating Committee


David L. Begleiter - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Duffy Fischer - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Frank J. Mitsch - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Eugene Fedotoff - Longbow Research LLC

Robert Koort - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Jeffrey J. Zekauskas - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

John E. Roberts - The Buckingham Research Group Incorporated

Kevin W. McCarthy - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Abhiram Rajendran - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

P.J. Juvekar - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Nils-Bertil Wallin - Credit Agricole Securities (USA) Inc., Research Division

Robert Walker - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Donald Carson - Susquehanna Financial Group, LLLP, Research Division

Gregg A. Goodnight - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Ghansham Panjabi - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated, Research Division

Charles A. Dan - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

James Sheehan - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Saul Ludwig - Northcoast Research

Richard O'Reilly



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Q4 2012 PPG Industries Earnings Conference Call. My name is Martine, and I will be your operator for today. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this call is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would now like to turn the call over to Mr. Vince Morales, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please proceed, sir.

Vincent J. Morales

Thank you, Martine, and good morning. Again, my name is Vince Morales. I'm the Vice President of Investor Relations for PPG Industries. Welcome to PPG's Fourth Quarter 2012 Financial Teleconference.

Joining me on the call today from PPG is Chuck Bunch, Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer; and Dave Navikas, Senior Vice President, Finance and Chief Financial Officer.

Our comments relate to the financial information released on Monday, January 14, 2013. I will remind everyone that approximately 1 hour ago, we posted detailed commentary and accompanying presentation slides on the Investor Center at our website, ppg.com. Those slides are also available on the webcast site for this call, and they provide additional support to the opening comments Chuck will make momentarily. Following Chuck's perspective on the company's results for the quarter, we'll move to a Q&A session.

Both the prepared commentary and discussion during the Q&A may contain forward-looking statements reflecting the company's current view about future events and their potential effect on PPG's operating and financial performance. These statements involve uncertainties and risks, which may cause actual results to differ. The company is under no obligation to provide subsequent updates to these forward-looking statements.

Today's presentation also contains certain non-GAAP financial measures the company has provided in the appendix of the presentation materials, which, again, are available on our website, reconciliations of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. For additional information, please refer to PPG's filings with the SEC.

Now let me introduce PPG's Chairman and CEO, Chuck Bunch.

Charles E. Bunch

Thank you, Vince, and welcome, everyone. Our record fourth quarter results capped off what has been an exceptional year for the company, driven by excellent operating performance and the announcement of several significant strategic transactions that accelerate the pace of our portfolio transformation.

Record fourth quarter adjusted earnings per share of $1.53 are 10% higher than last year and marked 10 consecutive quarters of adjusted earnings per share records. We achieved these results despite continued variation in regional economic performance and mixed end-use market demand levels.

A few business highlights from the quarter were the aggregate coatings segment earnings growth of 30% and Optical and Specialty Materials segment results, which were similar. Commodity Chemicals also grew earnings versus last year despite 2 unplanned outages during the quarter. Full year commodity chemical results eclipsed last year's record level.

Geographically, the United States remained our strongest region, with most businesses delivering top line growth. Emerging markets growth remained modest, but trends improved in several businesses versus the prior 2 quarters. European demand continued to be negative, but the trend there also improved slightly versus the last few quarters.

A key element of our success in the quarter and overall for the year was the company's strong operating execution. We continued to aggressively manage our businesses, and fourth quarter results also benefited from the restructuring actions, which we proactively initiated early in 2012.

For the full year, we achieved a record adjusted EPS figure of $7.94, which is up 16% from last year's record. Worth mentioning is earnings results improved in each region, including Europe. Also, our full year return on sales percentage was higher in each segment except Glass.

For the year, we delivered a record level of cash from operations, up 25% versus last year, and continued our long legacy of returning cash to shareholders by increasing our dividend for the 41st consecutive year.

In addition, the announced strategic actions reflect the continued execution on our vision to remain a global leader in coatings and Specialty Materials. Progress is well under way to finalize these actions.

We begin 2013 well positioned. Our expectations are for continued variations in economic conditions. We expect a growth bias to remain for the United States, improvement in growth prospects in Asia and European activity to remain subdued. As a result of these mixed economic conditions, we will remain diligent in managing our businesses.

Operationally, we expect an incremental $70 million to $80 million of savings from the finalization of our restructuring programs, and we will implement targeted price increases in our coatings businesses to fully offset the inflation from the past 2 years.

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