LAMR

Lamar Advertising Company (LAMR)

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Industry: Consumer Services
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Lamar Advertising Company (LAMR)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 22, 2012 10:00 a.m. ET

Executives

Kevin Reilly - President and Chairman of the Board

Sean Reilly - Chief Executive Officer

Keith Istre -Treasurer and Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Marci Ryvicker - Wells Fargo Securities

James Marsh - Piper Jaffray

Benjamin Swinburne - Morgan Stanley

James Dix - Wedbush Securities

Jaime Morris - UBS

Bishop Sheen - Wells Fargo

Presentation

Operator

Excuse me, everyone. We now have Mr. Kevin Reilly, Mr. Sean Reilly, and Mr. Keith Istre in conference. Please be aware that each of your lines is in a listen-only mode. At the conclusion of the company’s presentation, we will open the floor for your questions.

In the course of this discussion Lamar may make forward-looking statements regarding the company, including statements about its future financial performance, strategic goals and plans. Lamar has identified important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in this call and the company’s reports on Forms 10-K and 10-Q, and the registration statements that Lamar files with the SEC from time to time. Lamar refers you to those documents.

Lamar’s fourth quarter and year-end 2011 earnings release which contains the information required by Regulation G, was furnished to the SEC on a Form 8-K this morning and is available on Lamar’s website, www.lamar.com. I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Kevin Reilly. Mr. Reilly, please begin sir.

Kevin Reilly

Thank you, David. I want to welcome all of our friends and guests to our quarterly call. As is our customer, Keith will walk through the numbers and then Sean will try to give you some color. As we -- I think about the next couple of years, we are going to continue to push our maturities out and use our free cash flow to reduce debt and expand our digital platform.

With that I would like to turn the call over to Keith Istre to give you some color regarding Q4.

Keith Istre

All right, good morning, everybody. For the fourth quarter of ’11 we saw that the revenue came in slightly higher than our guidance at 4%. No one category contributed to that. Sean will get into more detail later, but it was a good quarter across the board. On our consolidated expenses on the last call, we talked about expenses running like they have all year in approximately the 2% range, but the consolidated expenses as you saw came in at 0.7 tenths of a percent. The main contributor to that downward or that decreased amount, was primary the bonuses that were paid to the officers throughout the corporation. In 2011, the officer core took less in bonus payments then they did in 2010 based on performance grids, and so in the fourth quarter we accrued approximately $2 million less for officer bonuses then we did last year. So that’s primarily what contributed to that.

EBITDA. You saw our margins were 43.7% for the quarter versus 41.8% last year. So we picked up a couple of points. To recap, the full year revenue growth on a pro forma basis was 3.3%, our consolidated expense growth was 2.4%, which is about what we guided to last year at this time. EBITDA was up 4.6% for the year and EBITDA margins were 43% for 2011 versus 42.4% last year.

On the guidance for 2012 Q1, we gave you a number for revenue up approximately 3% on a pro forma basis. For the expenses for 2012 we will tell you that as of right now our projections for the year are up approximately 3%, slightly higher than they were in 2011. But the expenses for the first quarter will be higher than what they will average for the year, in fact we are expecting pro forma expense growth in Q1 of ’12 of approximately 5%. And a part of that is real and part of it is timing.

On a timing basis, there is one extra hourly pay period in the first quarter of ’12 than there was in the first quarter of ’11. That’s just a way it falls sometimes. That accounts for about $1.2 million in additional wages in Q1 over last year’s Q1. We gave out raises effective March 1 last year to all the employees except the officers to there is a couple of months worth of raises in the first quarter of this year that were not in the first quarter of last year. And on a real basis, minimum annual guarantees and escalators on our transit contracts are expected to jump $1 million in the first quarter of this year. They are expected to go down, they will not be that high in the second and third quarter going forward.

Just to touch on a balance sheet issues that we completed at the end of January. You saw in the press release, we issued some new subordinated bonds of $500 million and 5 7/8%, 10 years interest only. We took out a new $100 million term loan on our bank credit agreement and we called $700 million of our existing 6 5/8% 2015 bonds. We got approximately 600 million of those tendered. We will settle this coming Monday, February 27. If you do the math you will see we came up $100 million, we tendered for seven, we got six. We were planning on borrowing and extra $100 million off of our revolver to cover the last 100.

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