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PPG Industries, Inc. (NYSE:PPG)

Goldman Sachs Basic Materials Conference

May 21, 2013 1:35 pm ET

Executives

Vincent J. Morales - Vice President of Investor Relations

Analysts

Brian Maguire - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Brian Maguire - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Okay. We're going to move on to the next presentation. We've got another company I'm sure most of you are familiar with, PPG Industries. And I'm really happy to welcome Vince Morales, Head of Investor Relations to come and present their story to us today. Thanks.

Vincent J. Morales

Thanks, Brian. Again appreciate the opportunity to present at the Goldman Conference. We've been presenting here for several years in a row, and it's been a, for us, a good conference. Hopefully you guys are feeling the same way.

Just quickly, our Safe Harbor statement. The comments in my presentation and Q&A are covered in the statement are forward looking, we have no obligation to update that -- those statements. The agenda for the presentation, I'll get you some background material on PPG for those who may not be as familiar with the company. I'll talk a little bit about a significant acquisition we had just closed on within the last 6 weeks. Reference a little bit about the coatings industry and then talk about finances and cash and move to Q&A.

Just a -- some overall broad background on PPG. We're the world-leading coatings company. We apply -- we have coatings that are applied to a variety of different materials, houses, boats, cars, planes. We have a very broad geography spread. We're -- and if you look at our coatings profile, we're about 1/3 U.S., 1/3 Europe and 1/3 emerging regions. So again, very broad base of businesses, typically considered the technical leader in most of these markets.

We've been going through, really for the past decade, a business portfolio transformation. Some of you may be familiar with this process, some may not. But if you look at our portfolio over the last 10 or so years, we've really moved from what I would call as a diversified industrial company to a very coating-centric company. We also have some very, very good optical business, one of our margin-leading businesses. And so our mission to be a leading coatings and specialty materials company holds true. And we've more than doubled our sales in those 2 businesses in the past 10-year period as we move from $5 billion, in coatings and optical, to $12.5 billion.

You could see we've also downsized some other non-core businesses like glass, and if I took this chart back pre-2002, glass was upwards of 40% of the company at one point. So again, we've been moving out of some of these non-core businesses and really redeploying our energies in coatings.

2012 was another milestone year for us. We announced in the middle of the year we were going to separate our Commodity Chemical business. We also announced late in the year we were going to acquire the architectural -- North American Architectural business from AkzoNobel. We had some other more minor announcements, but these were -- the first 2 were fairly significant in terms of moving the portfolio. And if you look at us on a pro forma basis, counting those 2 transactions alone, we moved from about 80% or so, coatings and optical, to over 90%, and again that's with the separation of the Commodity Chemical business not included. And you could see the coatings business now represents -- coating and optical represent $14 billion of sales. Flashback to 2002, I'll remind you that was about $5 billion of sales. So significant growth the past 10 years in those core segments.

At the same time, we've been very active in shifting the geographic orientation of the company. We've gone from a U.S.-centric company to a much more robust geographic profile with, again, good positions in Asia, Latin America and the U.S., supplemented by some activity in Europe. The Asian business was primarily organically grown. Asia is one of our best regions from a profitability perspective. We're fully owned through all of Asia except India, and we're leaders in many of the markets there and we're leaders in many of the Chinese markets already.

And what, really, the portfolio change has really done for us, as you could see, it's really changed the profile of earnings for the company. So coatings, typically, is a more stable and higher growth opportunity than some of the businesses we've exited, and we certainly hope to continue that trend on a go-forward basis.

So once again, a quick backdrop on the company, just some commentary now on the acquisition we announced, the acquisition of AkzoNobel, their North American business, mid-December. We closed on this transaction April 1. This business is located in North America, but has a U.S. position, a #1 position in Canada and a #1 position in the Caribbean. It's about $1 billion -- it was about $1.5 billion in sales in 2012. And for us, we got it at about 0.7x of sales in terms of purchase price. And we think this is a good opportunity for us, especially in consideration of where we are and what we think is going to be the early stages of the housing recovery. So it gives us a good position -- expands our positions, we already have existing business lines in most of these markets, although we have nothing in Canada to speak of, but in the U.S., we had existing business lines in most of these markets.

We've got the business, again, for about $1 billion. We only assumed minimal liabilities, we assumed some Canadian pension liabilities, as required by law, we didn't assume any U.S. pension liabilities or no other significant commercial liabilities. We announced -- upon signing the deal in December, we announced $160 million synergy target. When we closed the deal, we raised that target to $200 million. You could see the stratification of the synergies over the time period noted. We did get $50 million of synergies -- annual synergy at day 1, so roughly $15 million a quarter. And we have, again, various programs in place to extract the remaining synergies over the allotted time period there. So for us, this will move to from what today was a breakeven business, this will move to a 10%-plus EBIT business by the time we fully extract those synergies.

This -- one of the -- this does have a significant impact on our architectural global presence, and we have a very strong European presence. We have a solid U.S. presence, but certainly not as big as this business. And this really rounds out our architectural presence in the major developed regions of the world. We also are not listed on [indiscernible] listed in other, but we also have a leading presence in Australia. And Architectural is a market that we typically enter when it's more consolidated, or we get bigger when it's more consolidated. It's a very local or regional marketplace for Architectural Coatings, unlike Industrial Coatings. So again, the fact that we're seeing consolidation in some of these markets makes us more inclined to want to participate.

Just again looking at the combined business with PPG's legacy architectural business in North America plus ours, you could see we grow on all 3 distribution channels. The first, which is company-owned stores, these stores are primarily tailored to serving professional painters. We grow from 400 to 1,000 stores in North America. We expanded our presence in the DIY network. PPG legacy business served Lowe's and Menards. Menards is the #3 big box in the U.S., it's a private company. The Akzo business serves Home Depot, Walmart and Rona. Rona is the #1 big box in Canada. So we have, again, supplemented the position we have in the DIY channel. And there's still a fairly distinct independent distributor channel, and again this extension, where we're selling through independent distribution of both Akzo and PPG combined, gives us more distribution up there.

So if you look at our footprint in all of these, we're #2 in each one of these channels. And if you look at our footprint on a sales basis, we match the industry in terms of sales orientation, about 50% of our paint will go through our company-owned stores, about 30% to 35% will go through the DIY channel, it's getting similar as the industry, and the remainder will go through independent distribution. And you could see, geographically, this spread in both of the store networks is complementary in most cases.

Just to give you some background material looking at the coatings industry, overall. The industry is just under $100 billion. You could see it's been a consolidating industry in the past 10 years, it's grown about 15% over the past 10 years, so the top 10 now constitute about 60% of the market, but it's a bigger market. PPG Akzo have fairly similar share positions and are the most global of the coatings companies that are on that chart here, and you could see the other players in the others category, depending on the region, there is a variety of different competitive sets. If you look at North America there's not a tremendous amount of what I call others. In countries like China, there could be 4,000 or 5,000 very small competitors. So again, being prudent where you want to acquire is important from a competitive perspective.

There's 2 distinct parts of coatings. If you look about just under half of coatings is what's called architectural or deco that's probably what most people here are familiar with. Essentially this is paint for halls and walls at homes and commercial buildings. And again that's typically a separate distinct type of coatings versus coating that goes on -- coatings that will go on a plane, or a boat, or a car. The architectural coatings have some aspects to it, which is preservation, but more so, it's decorative. If you flip to the other side of coatings, which includes automotive, marine, aerospace, these are typically more spec-driven coatings so they're going on, again, airplanes or boats, and they have other characteristics that are important for the purchaser of the coatings. Protection is extremely important for these heavy assets whether, again, it's a car, oil rig. Decoration is somewhat becoming more important. If you're doing appliances, you'll see there is more color in appliances, there is more color in cellphones. But also, in most of these coating applications, extremely important to the production process for the customers. So whether it's Toyota, or GM, or John Deere, Caterpillar, the paint line to immerse in their production process and the ability to apply coatings efficiently, helps them run their factories. So you'll much more -- you have much more customer intimacy when you're working with these customers than you would on the architectural side. So you're working a lot within their plants, you have technical service people within their plants. So that is a significant difference, and again these coatings typically are what I'd call more sturdy coatings because they're going to be exposed, in many cases, for many years, to weather, and the assets they're protecting are extremely valuable, again, whether it's a plane, or a boat, or a car.

So again, much more technology involved, much more customer intimacy involved. And if you look at PPG's history, we are #1 or #2 in each one of these special coatings markets globally and in most continents, and we're moving into the architectural spectrum in a measured manner.

If you look at the industry split by vertical, you could see PPG is the only coatings company that participates in each of the verticals. And you could see, obviously, we're the only coatings company as such for that as the #1 or #2 position. And again, if you go continent-by-continent, you'd see generally the same spread. So again, we have the widest breadth of any coatings company in the world and leading positions, especially in these special purpose coatings markets.

If you look at the industry and PPG, about 60% of the industry, as you saw on the prior chart, is special purpose, 40% is architectural, so we match the industry. Also another split of the industry which is interesting -- a split of PPG, excuse me, which is interesting is we have 50% OEM and 50% aftermarket exposure. So cars are painted, there is car collisions, collision market is the aftermarket. Houses are painted, houses are refurbished, there's an aftermarket component in most of our markets. So it's again another good attribute of the coatings industry in general, PPG-specific division.

PPG is the leader -- the EBITDA leader in the coatings market out of the major players. And if you look, we outpaced the general market by a couple hundred basis points, and if you look over a longer period of time, and we can take this chart back longer, we've been and continue to be a market leader. And that's really a representation of our higher exposure to these special purpose coatings markets, where, again, they typically command more customer intimacy, more R&D time to develop new technologies.

Looking at our financial performance, I've put some 2012 data in here for those, again, who may not be as familiar. Our sales, in 2012, moved up a little bit. Really the key drivers were improving pricing, which offset inflation. We did have a very heavy currency headwind last year, we did do some acquisitions, which is again common for us. So if you look, we are up about 3% in our coatings businesses we declined in our chemical businesses, both have had negative currency within the coatings business. So again, that organically or volume-wise we were up higher, with offset being currency.

Just looking at by quarter, just for some reference to -- for people. You could see by quarter, by region, we faired. U.S. for us last year was a fairly solid market. Europe remained weak, extremely weak in Q2 last year but weak all year. Asia, for us, was up slightly positive market, we do have one business in Asia that's experiencing significant declines which is the marine new-build business. All the marine new-build business is housed in Asia. It's down significantly from -- it's a very long cycle business, it's down significantly from peak, and that actually tampered our Asian results by 300 to 400 basis points a quarter. So if you look outside of marine, which happens to all be housed in Asia, marine in Asia for us is really good.

And the chart on the right panel just shows where we are versus 2008. You could see, in Asia, we've grown significantly versus what was a record 2008. But in both the U.S. and Europe, we're still down volume-wise fairly considerably, almost 10%. A little more in Europe, a little less in Asia -- or a little more in Europe, a little less in U.S. excuse me. Despite that volume decline, we've posted record earnings for the past 3 years, with the last couple of years up over 20%, obviously up versus '09 [ph] recession more. More importantly, I think, and more current, is we had record earnings in Asia and the U.S. last year, but also record earnings in Europe last year despite a very difficult economic climate. And so our European earnings were up 5%, versus what was a record 2011 number.

The big driver for our record earnings was the restructuring program we announced in early 2012. We're executing on that now. We're probably, as we sit here today, over 90% complete with our restructuring. It's targeted to save about $140 million a year, and we're, again, in the latter stages of completion of that. And we've saved $50 million, roughly $50 million last year, and again on target with the $140 million full-year number.

Looking at Q1, you could see our volume performance again by region, versus last year. So we had some transitory issues in Q1, one being weather, second being the calendar, or we had a leap year last year and no leap year this year. We had some weather issues in Europe and the U.S. this year. We also had very tough comparable periods. But overall, we feel good about where we are in the U.S. market against a tough comp. Europe, for us, the pace of business has slowed year-over-year, that's continued certainly into Q2 but not to this same level. And again, we had some transitory issues that affected Q1.

And in Asia, we give you both with and without marine, you could see without marine we posted very commendable volume performance in the first quarter. And again, I think if you would pool most companies, I think we're a little more bullish in Asia than most. Most of what we do in Asia, or specifically China, stays within the Chinese market, we're not heavily oriented to exports from China. The products we -- our coatings goes onto stays within China. One other thing that's occurring in China is they're trying to incite more Chinese domestic consumption, so it really played into our strength. And so again, I think we're a little more bullish on Asia than what I've seen other companies.

Again, record results in the quarter, up over 10%. And again, one of the ongoing themes of the restructuring savings we've got $50 million last year in restructuring, we got another $28 million this year in the first quarter, so again, well on our way to capturing full synergy numbers.

Again, just continued growth, I think this is really a reflection of the change in the portfolio. One of the things we'll talk about soon is cash, but we also have been very prudent in deploying our cash, and you could see 11 consecutive record quarters in a row.

One of our hallmarks has been cash. We were very strong cash generators for a decade, prior to 2008 we generated almost $1 billion a year cash from operations. We did a fairly large acquisition in '08 that amplified our cash deployment, roughly 40%, and then we performed exceptionally since then. And last year we had just under $1.8 billion of cash from operations. And if you look at our cash on hand, that's grown steadily from 2008. We're sitting on a great deal of excess cash today. We were a little bit strapped last year, we couldn't do much in terms of share buybacks last year because of the Commodity Chemical transaction. In order to maintain the tax efficiency of that transaction, it was best for us not to buy back stocks so we didn't. So our cash balance grew last year as we announced some acquisitions but didn't close them until this year, and we didn't have the opportunity to do share buybacks so our cash balance elevated.

We typically need about $500 million to run the company effectively, so if you look at the year-end balance we had $2 billion of excess cash. We also have a lot of debt capacity. We have somewhere between $1.5 billion to $2.5 billion of debt capacity as well, in addition to the excess cash.

So we have very strong balance sheet, very strong cash position in order to move forward. If you look at our -- we've been fairly consistent in our deployment of cash, when you look at it over time periods. We typically spend about 55% to grow businesses, 45% return to shareholders. So it's going to be a little bit different year-to-year, but the capital spending in coatings is fairly de minimis, it's a 2% to 3% of sales-type level for coatings industry and PPG included. And so, we were able to deploy some other cash for acquisitions. We've been a long-term dividend payer and share repurchase. I'll talk about the acquisitions obviously more lumpy, so they'll skew the cash use metrics from year-to-year, but that remains one of our key uses for cash if you look over the past, again, 15 or so years, we've done 50 acquisitions so we're very experienced in completing acquisitions. We've done these all around the world. We have, again, as I mentioned earlier, significant scale in each region in order for these businesses to be synergistic as we acquire them with our existing footprint.

If you look -- just another metric to look at is what percent of sales additions or acquisitions have been. So you could see this can be anywhere from 3% to 20% addition to sales depending on the size. We've put '13 in here to show what the acquisitions we have announced would be as an addition to 2013 sales.

Why we like to think about it is because coatings is so capital-light from a pure capital-spending perspective. We could spend another 2% or 3% of sales for bolt-ons, so we're spending 5% of sales for both organic CapEx as well as bolt ons, which that 5% of sales is still well below what most industries spend just on an organic basis.

Dividends have been a good story for PPG. We've paid uninterrupted dividends for 114 years. We've raised it the last 41 years, we announced a dividend increase in April. And you could see our share repurchase chart, again 2012, after the first quarter, we had to step out of the market so we were not able to complete share repurchases, but you could see in both '10 and '11 we did a significant amount of repurchases and -- roughly $2 billion worth.

And I think the -- one of the measures for us, both externally as well as computation-wise is return on capital. And you could see we've maintained a fairly high ROIC, this was despite all the acquisitions I mentioned, and I think it really is a testament to the success of the acquisitions to maintain a good ROIC as you're acquiring a variety of companies. Certainly in '08 and '09, when we were certainly impacted by the recession, but you would see our capital base was going up consistently and we still maintained a good ROIC, so again I think that's a true measure of how well you're performing over time.

So just to wrap up. Again, I think we've seen benefits both for shareholders, as well as ongoing PPG entity on that portfolio transformation. We've got other actions that we're executing on now, like the acquisition of AkzoNobel that we just closed. And I think the industry remains a very good industry and it's consolidating. We're leaders with a good financial performance. And I think if you look at our cash position and our debt capacity, that's in our minds a fairly significant earnings lever for the company on a go-forward basis.

So I'm going to take any questions you have.

Question-and-Answer Session

Unknown Analyst

So a couple of questions. You talked a lot about the ability -- your debt capacity that PPG has. So along those lines, could we -- talk to us about the recent announcement from Pittsburgh Corning and the bankruptcy settlement, and how PPG thinks about funding that, whether it's from cash or potentially with debt. And would you look to pre-fund the portions -- essentially fund it all at once? And then the second portion would be when you think about acquisition opportunities going forward, do you see room for more consolidation in the North American market? Or where would you view the sweetest spot for acquisitions, going forward, to be?

Vincent J. Morales

Sure. Okay. Just a baseload knowledge, we are a owner of a company that's in -- a partial owner of a company that's in bankruptcy called Pittsburgh Corning. Pittsburgh Corning has so much [indiscernible] liabilities. Lowe's -- they've again sued PPG as well, we agreed over 10 years ago, almost 12 years ago, to a trust resolution, they've been common in the space. We received last week initial confirmation from the bankruptcy judge of the trust. That confirmation process still has to go through an appeals process. And if it's successful, conclusion after the appeals process, without appeal, and then it would be final. And at that of the point, we would have to fund the trust. If there is an appeal process, then the appeal would be heard over some period of time. We don't dictate the schedule just like we haven't dictated in the last 12 years. Now the -- where the trust is structured, PPG has an obligation, again upon final confirmation, to fund the trust. The total funding over a extended period of time is $825 million. That, for us, now that our insurance company is separate from PPG, we've put in about $1.7 billion, $1.8 billion to the trust, but again that's separate from PPG. Our funding of the trust is front-loaded so we have a fairly large upfront payment of about $550 million pretax. And we would be able to tax effect that so after-tax it would be under $400 million. And then we have a stream of payments that you're alluding to of roughly $25 million a year for the next 10 years. They're not even but it's roughly $25 million, on average, a year. That can be pre-funded, should we chose to do so it could pre-funded at a 5.5% discount. If this -- to get to your question -- so that's the backdrop, sorry about it. But to get to your question, if this is confirmed, our initial payment would be based on our cash balance. We'd fund that with cash, it doesn't preclude us from taking out debt for other purposes, but we had enough debt -- cash capacity today to handle the funding, especially when you look at it on an after-tax basis. We haven't made a decision if again it's confirmed on the pre-funding over the next multiple number of years. Again certainly we've gotten questions about the arbitrage opportunities with today's interest rates, certainly it would be something we have to look at, but we hadn't made a decision on that. Again we're still waiting, there's a mandatory 90-day appeal period. So we'll see what comes out of it in the 90 days. But relative to M&A, I think your characterization is proper. We feel the M&A market today, our pipeline today is very good. And that really is a comment for every continent around the world. We've just done 3 deals in the U.S. in the last 100 days or so, so obviously the U.S. market, for us, has been okay. What I would tell you, we see the most activity is on the general industrial markets and the architectural markets, that's where there is the most targets, that's where there is the most bolt-on opportunities. But we just closed on a deal yesterday, a company called Deft, that was in aerospace. So again we would look at any coatings end-use market, but if you look today, versus a year ago, or even 15 months ago, I would tell you the seller expectations have moderated somewhat. And we think -- I think PPG prides itself on is our -- we're prudent in our expectations relative to acquisitions. We try not to reach for deals, I think we've been talking about doing deals now for 2 or 3 years, we haven't done many but the pricing hasn't been where we wanted it, but now we think that starting out, our -- the opportunity for those, with pricing coming down and seller expectations are moderating, is elevating. So I would say -- I would expect us to do more acquisitions on a go-forward basis regardless of the continent. And again, I think in the U.S., there's more industrial companies than most other opportunities. And when you get into Asia or Europe, it's a full spread of companies and opportunities. And a lot of these businesses, again just for everybody's knowledge, are privately owned businesses that, frankly, most people here have not heard of before, but the coatings market in these none -- outside the U.S. the coatings market is still fairly fragmented with generational [indiscernible] businesses.

Brian Maguire - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Other questions? Yes, sir?

Unknown Analyst

[indiscernible]

Vincent J. Morales

Yes. I think if you look at our history, again, I alluded to it earlier. The special purpose coatings businesses typically command a higher margin. And our -- we've said publicly our best margin businesses are aerospace and some other related businesses, and it's really because you're working either on high-technology like aerospace, or you're working on really cadence of their operation, and anything you could do to help them they're willing to pay for. So if you could help a body shop repair their car faster, if they can get 1 or 2 more cars a month through their body shop, it's very profitable for them. And if you could help them do that, if you could help a car company improve their yield and their paint line. The biggest, in automotive assembly plant, one of the biggest cost items operationally for them is the paint line. Anything you could do to help the application or reduce the application costs, they're willing to award you. So if you look -- we're market leaders in aerospace, auto OEM, auto refinish globally, most continents. And so that's the one structural thing I would point to, where we've been able to command our margins. Yes?

Unknown Analyst

[indiscernible]

Vincent J. Morales

Yes. If you look at our U.S. architectural business on, again, a combined basis, we have about 1,000 stores really in North America there's part of those that are in Canada. There'll be some contraction, we do have some redundant markets. So our first activity is to capture synergies through elimination of redundancy. And then after that, we would look to expand in a -- and again, on a measured manner. We have capability to grow at other parts of the world, so we're not limited to just growth in the U.S. So I would say we'll look at the market whether once we're done with some other redundancy elimination we'll look at that, we'll look at the growth in the U.S. market, like the growth anywhere else in their world, and we'll put our growth dollars where ever we see the best upside. The U.S. market, we expect to be in for, again, elongated recovery. So there maybe where we'll look to grow. We, unlike Sherwin, we have a bunch of different customer touch points, so we go through thousands of DIY shops, thousands of independent distributors, so it's not our only avenue to the customer, but if we see there's opportunity geographically to grow, then we'll certainly execute on those. And prior to 2006, we were growing our store count anywhere between 30 to 40 stores a year. But certainly with the contraction of the housing market, we stopped doing that. So yes, I'd say that's certainly, as you look forward, an opportunity for us to grow in a measured manner. I don't think we'll ever need the same footprint that some of our competitors have, because we have these other customer touch points. Yes, in the front?

Brian Maguire - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

If I look just at auto OEM, seems like the last couple of quarters you've been outperforming the market, your growth has been a little bit better, and it seems by definition you've been taking some share. And if you just talk about some of the top reasons for that, I mean, some things [indiscernible] modern technology, talk about maybe who you're exposed to, the particular OEMs that you're signed up with, and maybe some competitor issues. If you could however rank them or talk through what's been driving that and how sustainable you think it is?

Vincent J. Morales

Sure. Again, it's a market we've had -- it's probably been a market we have had the longest leadership position. We invented electric coat in the 1970s, that's really the standard that the industry uses now, we're still the leader in electrical coat. But there's been new technology developments as you alluded to, Brian, in the past couple years, the most important of which is what's called -- we call compact process, where we're reducing the amount of bake time it takes to basically dry paint in a car assembly plants. We've been successful at deploying that at our customer locations. Again, this goes to my comment earlier, this saves them a tremendous amount of energy, saves them a tremendous amount of capital as they deploy that new technology. But they're typically only doing that in new facilities, and if you're building a new facility, they could save millions of dollars by using this revised process in capital, and again an ongoing operating costs. And that's been a factor. We've also seen, up until this point -- we've seen -- we don't sell auto paint in Japan, it had been a market we have not been able to crack along with most other multinationals. So there has been a movement by the Japanese automakers to localize production, so moving production out of Japan to more to the U.S. and Europe. And we do have very nice shares with those Japanese producers outside of their home market, so that's been an impact. And specifically in Europe, we do have a good Russian-exposed business. And again, if you look at the Russian market, that's been recovering consistent with the U.S. market. It went down a lot more than the Western European market, but it's had a good recovery as well. I'd point to those as the technology of some general movement of production in some of the, I'll call them, emerging markets where we have good exposure, as the keys to outperformance.

Brian Maguire - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

I guess that's all we have time for.

Vincent J. Morales

Okay. Appreciate your time. Thank you, guys.

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