Rockwell Automation, Inc. (ROK)

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Rockwell Automation (ROK)

Q1 2011 Earnings Call

January 26, 2011 8:30 am ET

Executives

Theodore Crandall - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Keith Nosbusch - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Rondi Rohr-Dralle - Vice President of Investor Relations & Corporate Development

Analysts

Scott Davis - Morgan Stanley

Richard Kwas - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC

Richard Eastman - Robert W. Baird & Co. Incorporated

John Inch - BofA Merrill Lynch

Shannon O'Callaghan - Lehman Brothers

Mark Koznarek - Cleveland Research

C. Stephen Tusa - JP Morgan Chase & Co

Robert Cornell - Barclays Capital

Julian Mitchell

D. Mark Douglass - Longbow Research LLC

Presentation

Operator

Thank you for holding and welcome to Rockwell Automation Quarterly Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Rondi Rohr-Dralle, Vice President of Investor Relations. Ms. Rohr-Dralle, please go ahead.

Rondi Rohr-Dralle

Thanks, Wanda appreciate it. Good morning, thank you everyone for joining us for Rockwell Automation First Quarter Fiscal 2011 Earnings Release Conference Call. Our results were released this morning. The press release and charts have been posted to our Web site at www.rockwellautomation.com. Please note that both the press release and charts include reconciliations to non-GAAP measures. Additionally, a webcast of this call is accessible at that website and will be available for replay for the next 30 days. With me today, as always, are Keith Nosbusch, our Chairman and CEO; and Ted Crandall, our Chief Financial Officer.

Our agenda includes opening remarks by Keith, that will include his comments on the company’s performance in the first quarter and some outlook comments.. And then Ted will provide more details around the fourth quarter results and our revised guidance for fiscal 2011. We’ll take questions at the end of Ted’s remarks. And we want to get to as many of you as possible, so please limit yourself to one question and a follow-up. We expect the call today to take about an hour, and as is always the case on these calls, I need to remind you that our comments will include statements related to the expected future results of our company and are therefore forward-looking statements as defined by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Our actual results may differ materially from our forecasted projections due to a wide range of risks and uncertainties that are described in our earnings release and detailed in all of our SEC filings.

But before I turn it over to Keith, I have to say that we have a pretty unique situation here at Rockwell. As you may or may not know, Keith is from Wisconsin, but Ted is from Pittsburgh and they both played college football, so football is definitely in their blood. So it's Packer nation against Steeler nation here at Rockwell until the Super Bowl. So we'll try not to get too distracted about that and sorry, Ted, but I think you're outnumbered. So with that, Keith I'll turn the call over to you.

Keith Nosbusch

Thanks, Rondi, I think. Good morning, everyone and thank you for joining us on the call today, I certainly appreciate your time and interest in Rockwell Automation. We had a great start to the fiscal year. And 28% revenue growth in Q1 was broad-based with all regions and both segments exceeding our expectations. We believe a few points of this growth came from year-end budget consumption by our customers, similar to last year, but even if we stripped that out, it was a great quarter. We delivered our fifth consecutive quarter of operating earnings improvement and topped 16% consecutive operating margin, and we almost doubled earnings per share from a year ago. After cash return on invested capital at the end of December was 25.6%, which is now well-above our long-term goal of 20% and is approaching the 26% peak that we saw in the last cycle.

I'm sure by now you have all seen the reported financial results, but let me highlight some other indications of progress in Q1. EMEA had year-over-year sales growth of over 30%, not quite back to 2008 levels, but after lagging the rest of the world into recovery, it looks like our business in the EMEA region has turned the corner. Our sales growth in emerging markets was well-above the company average in Q1. This was our third consecutive quarter of 40% or higher year-over-year growth in China. The comps shared will get tougher from here on out, but we are confident China will deliver more than 20% growth in fiscal 2011. India grew over 30% and Latin America with 42% growth, had its third consecutive quarter of robust growth.

Our OEM business was strong again this quarter, over 50% growth in our Machine Safety business. This is an indicator that our OEM strategy is working and we are seeing more penetration of safety content on machines. And Logix grew 38% in the quarter, establishing a new high for quarterly revenue, exceeding the previous high in Q4 of 2008. All of this is evidence that our global sales and marketing organization is doing a great job of executing our targeted initiatives.

Lastly, we announced the acquisition of Hiprom, a system integrator based in South Africa that is focused on the mining and mineral processing industries. This is right in the sweet spot of our acquisition strategy, a niche acquisition that supports process in emerging markets that will be catalytic to organic growth. We expect to close this transaction around the end of February.

Overall, a great quarter for us and an excellent start to the fiscal year.

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