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Joy Global, Inc. (NYSE:JOY)

Morgan Stanley Industrials & Autos Conference Call

September 16, 2013 7:30 p.m. ET


Mike Sutherlin – President and CEO


Unidentified Analyst

Okay. So we're finishing up the day with President and CEO of Joy Global, Mike Sutherlin.

Before I hand it over to Mike, he's got a few opening remarks for you, just a quick reminder, 6:00 p.m. dinner and drinks just by the pool outside, so hope to see you all there. But I'll kick it off to Mike.

Mike Sutherlin

Great. Thank you. And thanks for the opportunity to be here and talk about Joy Global.

I just want to give a couple of overview comments, I think to set the context for the rest of the session. We certainly are in a period where the commodities are in supply surplus, and I've been at Joy now for over 10 years, and it's the first time that I've seen the industry in surplus capacity across a broad range of commodities, and that's fundamentally a different position than we've seen for the last decade.

We're working through those corrections. We've seen the U.S. market work through the correction, and the outlook for the U.S. market is improving with coal-fired generation up and stockpiles coming down, and they'll translate to production increases next year for U.S. customers. We're seeing corrections in China. The surplus of coal in the seaborne markets is impacting China, and they're going through the correction phase in that market.

Each of these correction phases gets closer to a point of stabilization and start of recovery. So, we see a lot of indicators in the market that suggest that the recovery will -- is around the corner for us. I mean, we see a restocking phase in China, in particular in the metals markets. We see very low inventory levels of iron ore. Net coal prices are coming up. Copper inventories are lower than the exchange inventories would indicate, and they're coming down and we're seeing the prices in copper begin to move up again as well.

So, there's a lot of positive factors in these markets, but we still are focused in our business on taking costs out, lowering our cost base, and preparing for a wide range of outcomes. We've delivered good performance as a business -- very efficient business, delivered good performance in the growth phase of the cycle. We're determined to continue delivering good performance through all phases of the cycle. And if we over-correct, we'll be -- we'll generate more leverage on the upside. So, we continue to focus on taking costs out, lowering our base cost. That'll serve us well in the meantime, but it will certainly give us more leverage to the upside.

So, I think with that overview, it gives you a pretty good context of how we look at our markets and how we're positioning our business.

Question-and-Answer Session

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, that was really helpful, Mike.

You know, maybe to start off by, this is clearly going to be probably -- maybe an unprecedented downturn in mining CapEx. And I mean, how has your planning process changed internally given that --?

Mike Sutherlin

Well, one of the differences we're seeing going back and done a lot of comparisons historically, one of the differences we've seen compared to the 2008-2009 for example, it was at that time there was a quick decline. We found the bottom very quickly and started to see order rate recovery, and a lot of that order rate recovery was driven by China that really became a significant importer of commodities across the board.

To date, we are in a downturn that started for us -- we saw the peak order rates in 2011, and2012 was a little bit of a lower year on bookings, further declines this year. And as we look forward, we expect the order rates to remain soft for a while. So, it's been a longer, steadier decline. We expected when we -- we think we're at a bottom condition, but we expect to bump along the bottom for a longer period of time obviously than we did in 2009, and we expect the recovery to be a slower, steadier recovery.

So, all this stuff is just stretching out in our view right now. We see a lot of the characteristics, you know, to be the same in terms of the increase in capacity and more efficient mines, closing the higher-cost mines, things like that are the same, but certainly the duration is different. And that's one of the reasons we're trying to lower our base cost, not just take cost out temporarily that gets added back with volume, but lowering our base cost.

Those cost reduction programs for us have been driven primarily around two areas -- one is -- one, Joy Global taking a surface and underground business and combining those, to take out duplicate costs and to find and streamline internal processes and streamline things like supply chain and distributional logistics, and that's having a significant impact on cost reduction, but those costs are out and will stay out. We're looking at taking some of our older legacy facilities offline, particularly those that are not in the locations where we see our markets moving in the future and will be out-of-pocket, if you will. So, those kind of cost efforts are really driven around taking costs out permanently and making this a more efficient business going forward.

And then a market that's closer to supply balance will see a more competitive environment and will see, you know, growth. Growth will be more challenging over the long term, and so we're trying to find out ways to continue to prove our efficiency in that kind of environment.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, got it. And I mean, just elaborating on the cost reduction discussion, so I think you guys had originally said $40 million of restructuring charges in 2013 and a similar level in 2014. I mean it sounds like you're really focused on this, and given what we've seen with order activity, could it come out that you end up spending, you know, much more than that in 2014.

Mike Sutherlin

I think we -- our guidance was $20 million to spend in 2013, that will take out $40 million of costs in 2014, another $25 million to spend in 2014 to take out an additional $40 million of costs.

The spending levels have been pretty much on target. Our second phase of that, the spend that we're spending this year is running a little bit behind schedule. Some of the facility closures that we're going through are taking a little bit longer to go through the planning and execution phase than we'd anticipated.

The savings or tracking right now. WWe fulfilled the savings expectation for the first phase. The second phase is actually running -- savings are running higher than we had originally planned. Some of the savings will spill over into 2014, but they're running ahead of what we planned. And we've, in the third quarter, we've teed up the next incremental savings, a smaller piece, but we've teed up the next increment of cost restructuring in the savings program.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, understood. And then when you guys say that you can achieve 34% decremental margins during the downturn, does that include those restructuring plans?

Mike Sutherlin

Those 34% decrementals are - come from excluding the restructuring costs, but including the restructuring savings.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, understood. And then maybe just one more question on restructuring and then we'll move to just the actual business trends. How do you think about headcount reduction versus furlough in your industry, because I know you have a pretty specialized base of workers and you need to think about an upturn at some point in the future?

Mike Sutherlin

Well, we've done some -- varied by locations, no across-the-board solution. Different locations and different countries require different solutions. We have been very protective in our cost-cutting of some of the core skills that we need going forward, particularly in engineering and field service personnel. So, there are highly skilled service technicians and engineers, we've done very little to touch those areas of our business. We've done most of the reduction in the traditional side of back-office functions where we feel we need to get more leverage and are doing that through the consolidation of our two businesses. We've taken a lot of costs out of manufacturing. The overhead cost out of manufacturing is coming as we close facilities and consolidate that manufacturing.

So, some of that has been furlough, some of that has been reduced workdays, but a lot of it has just been direct layoffs, and ultimately we've got our newest factory that is starting up in China. And we're looking for lowest-cost solutions across our, and China is one of those low-cost solutions we're looking to gravitate more volume into lower-cost solutions.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, that's helpful. Now moving on to a few questions on just mining CapEx. Our estimates tell us that we should probably see something like a low-double digit to mid-teens decline over the next several years year-on-year, but an interesting dynamic is equipment declines have been much, much higher than just the overall decline in mining CapEx. So I'm curious, you know, what's your perspective on that? Will we get to stability in equipment spend much earlier than we get to stability in just overall mining CapEx?

Mike Sutherlin

Well, I think we will. I mean -- excuse me. Some of the reductions we've seen in CapEx have impacted the equipment side more heavily, and I think that's largely due to the fact that a lot of the equipment reductions were coming out of brownfield projects, so they could move those projects either forward or put them on the sidelines quickly. We didn't have big, mega greenfield projects going through at that time, so the equipment we had, you know, it had the ability to be slowed down, delayed, deferred.

The other CapEx that our customers are spending are on the infrastructure projects, port expansions and things like that, that have longer cycles and they are heavily spent at the front end as they need to complete those projects. So, we have seen a greater-than-proportional reduction in equipment spend on CapEx, and we expect to see an earlier recovery on that.

We have -- we track the prospects that our customers are working on, and we put that on our prospect list of those projects that we expect to come to equipment selection in the next 12 months. And in that list, that list has ticked up more recently. So we're seeing some projects being taken off the list as those projects get re-evaluated, but we're seeing new projects coming on the list. And more recently we're seeing more projects coming on the list than have been taken off the list.

So, you know, I think we've seen the worst of the equipment CapEx reductions and I think that we'll slowly start to see improvement in equipment CapEx, even as the overall CapEx budgets for our customers come down.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, understood. And is that fairly normal? I mean is that -- has Joy observed that during the past downturns where the equipment spend is, you know, you see the much more pronounced downturn in the first, well say, two years of the mining downturn?

Mike Sutherlin

Well, you know, I think a lot of it depends on the amount of Greenfield projects they have underway, but certainly as they reduce production and they park trucks and they shut down shovels, and their propensity to spend on equipment CapEx gets diminished. They may continue a major mining expansion project at the same time because they're committed and they just have to follow that through the completion.

If we look at our 2009, we saw original equipment order rates drop by about 70%. We saw the after-market order rates drop by about 12%. We're sort of in that range with the original equipment already, so that's sort of -- and that's factored into our outlook.

The aftermarket is down more than what we saw in 2009 because of this rolling correction. The U.S. is basically corrected and starting to improve, but now China is starting into its correction phase, and so that's just dragging out the time duration of the correction phase in the aftermarket. We're seeing the aftermarket order rates down in the, you know, upper teen range, which is higher than we saw in 2009.

Unidentified Analyst


Mike Sutherlin

But we expect to see that start to improve. Once China gets through its correction, we expect to see overall improvement. Certainly, production volumes are starting to look better and we have a larger fleet of equipment. A lot of the equipment was delivered in 2011-2012, coming up to its first rebuild, major rebuild cycle. So we'll see some upside in the aftermarket as a result of that.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, understood. And I mean you've mentioned the OE order activity that you saw during 3Q, so down about 76%. I mean was that an anomaly? There's no way that can be the new run rate. And I mean what is -- I mean, do you have any perspective on what the new run rate could be?

Mike Sutherlin

When you look at our business, it's aftermarket. The base order rate, the normal routine stuff that comes through -- a lot of that is replacement equipment, some of that is expansion, but it's one machine at a time kind of expansion.

And then we look at projects. And the base business was lower in our third quarter than we expected because of the timing of some orders, and some of the things we are working on just didn't make it in the third quarter. Those are still viable projects. Our customers are still working on those projects, and we expect to see that catch up in the fourth quarter. And we also had a project that we're -- underground project that we are working on that didn't get all the paperwork done to get into third quarter. We expect that to roll into the fourth quarter.

So the fourth quarter visibility is, you know, for improved fourth quarter, it is really based upon things that are pretty close at hand. If we get to 2014, then the visibility timing becomes an issue. In a market where you have significant backlog, you can adjust for timing differences and get, you know, maintain revenue continuity.

Where you have less backlog, you're going to get more choppiness. And so we do -- we will have the lumpiness factor come into the projects. The lumpiness factor may say we may book a project one quarter and not book a project for the next quarter or two, then book two projects. That kind of timing uncertainty is going to be an impact on the business, which is going to, you know, make some industries a little nervous, but that is the characteristic of our business that over the long term has been more characteristic of our business than the bookings consistency we've seen in 2010, 2011 and 2012.

Unidentified Analyst

Right. It makes sense. I mean you guys said on the 3Q call that, you know, $4 billion plus of revenues probably just isn't going to happen in 2014 anymore. I mean, I'm not sure to what extent you're willing to comment on this, but I mean, how much lower can revenues be? Let's say, you know, frame it in a worst case scenario versus kind of a base case scenario for 2014.

Mike Sutherlin

You know, worst case is a bit dangerous, I can't do that. We look at the projects that we have, the difference-maker really is the correction time in the aftermarket. And again the U.S. aftermarket is starting to move positively right now, the last couple of quarters have seen sequential improvement. But China is going through the downside of its correction phase, and so that's having an impact on the order rates.

The other impact comes from the project bookings, and we have a situation right now where customers are working on projects. They definitely are looking at bringing on new low-cost minds. But getting the project budget is much, much more important than hitting the timeline. So, timing becomes a dispensable variable in these projects today for the first time in a long time. And so things can slip and slide quite a bit.

And we saw in the third quarter the impact of the aftermarket correction factor in China, and we saw, you know, the project slippage that is occurring today. We will continue to see that. As we look at 2014, I think we said that those kind of characteristics, absent some improving dynamic in the market, will make it very difficult for us to see a number above $4 billion. I'm not going to comment on what the downside is, but, you know, the street has developed a consensus number that we are not uncomfortable with.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay. Got it.

And then, you know, maybe just moving on to the aftermarket, I'll ask one more and then I'll open it up to the audience. I mean the declines that you've seen so far in aftermarket, what's pricing been like? And what's the likelihood that we're moving to an environment where pricing is down year on year on the aftermarket side of the business?

Mike Sutherlin

Yes, our pricing, I know there's been a disconnect between what we thought we said on our third quarter earnings call and what investors heard on that call. But our pricing is holding up really quite well in our aftermarket. The impact we have is a volume impact. Today we have about a third of our aftermarket comes off of lifecycle management contracts, long-term contracts that are contracted in. We have some loyalty in volume agreements for some customers that give them some discount breaks at certain volumes that create an incentive for them to stay on those contracts. And so we would put those together and that number will get up closer to 40% of our aftermarket revenues.

A big portion of the -- the other 60% is on transactions, and transactions are customers make decisions a transaction at a time, but a big portion of those go into markets like China and India that have a strong preference to deal with the OEM. So when you go through all of those -- and we, you know, absent the adjustment factor in China, we still are, you know, the OEM is still preference in China, their order rates are down as they correct their inventory levels they hold. But we're not seeing a, you know, that we're losing penetration of market share.

So if we put all those together, we really have a fairly significant portion of our aftermarket revenue stream that is, if you will, priced in, so to speak, and that means that the declines we're seeing are volume driven, they're volume-driven, not price driven.

We, you know, we are very disciplined about pricing. We know that the industry has a very steep elasticity curve, and we're just not prepared to go down that path. And we don't believe we need to. We believe we continue to demonstrate to our customers that we value -- I mean that we're bringing value to them in other ways, not just for price of the components but higher machine availability, improving -- working with them to improve productivity in some of their mines and things like that. So, you know, we don't see price in the aftermarket to be a major issue, certainly are not going to become price-competitive in the aftermarket.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, perfect. So why don't we open it up to anyone in the audience that has a question?

Shy people out here. Come on. One back there.

Unidentified Participant

I'm wondering if you might talk about two dynamics within the demand drivers. One of them is, as you look at the installed base which is significantly higher than it was during the last, you know, let's say, down cycle, before even China became a player, how important is that? It maybe is a positive to providing the notion that there is a certain level of aftermarket demand that actually can exist because the equipment in those early years is already aging, so therefore there is demand.

On the other hand, balancing that, it seems that this environment which many of the mining companies would rather see if they can afford or cannibalize some parts out there so that in a sense we really know that aftermarket revenues not only go down 10% let's say in the worst case scenario, it might go down 30%. So, two sides of the coin, but I was wondering if you might address that.

Mike Sutherlin

Yes, that's a good question. We, you know, aftermarket, we look at parts and we look at machine rebuilds as two key order rate streams that feed into our aftermarket. The -- we've seen a decline in parts demand as our customers buy fewer parts than they consume in their mining operations to reduce the amount of parts they're holding at mine site. Some of those are just reducing parts, some of that is mines that were closed and they redeployed parts and, you know, fewer mines operating means you need to have fewer warehouses with parts in them.

But we also saw, in the U.S., we saw the rebuild activity go to zero. So all the rebuilds were just deferred indefinitely. So in 2012 we had about 900 continuous miners running in the U.S. market, today we have 700 continuous miners.

In operating mode, those miners would need to get rebuilt about every two years. So there's a significant rebuild activity that in the U.S. market has gone to zero. We're starting to see rebuilds get rebooked, but very early stages and very low numbers. I think, you know, we expect to see a major part of the improvement in the U.S. aftermarket bookings to come as rebuilds begin to move back up to a more normalized level.

So if we look at that on a global basis, the larger fleet of installed equipment that we have, we delivered a lot of equipment in 2011-2012, and that equipment is still operating. Obviously the equipment they took out of the mines was the older equipment, so that equipment is coming up to its first rebuild cycle, both surface and underground.

So there is some significant upside potential in the aftermarket driven by the increased rebuild activity, just to get -- rebuild up to a normalized level in the U.S. market and to begin to capture the first rebuild cycle of some of the machines delivered in 2010, '11 and '12. But we're seeing that, on the presentation deck, we laid out the bookings profile per surface versus underground equipment. The bigger impact of the slowdown in coal production in the U.S. and the surplus coal that we have in the China market is impacting our underground business. And you can see that the underground business order rates in the aftermarket declined in our third quarter but actually held up pretty well in our surface business. So it I think is a pretty good indicator that, you know, of where the impact is coming from.

So, you know, those two factors, you know, completing the correction cycle and bringing rebuilds back into scope and begin to book rebuilds will make a major difference in the aftermarket, first in the U.S. and then in China. And that will have a major impact on our aftermarket bookings overall.

Unidentified Participant

Hey, Mike, over here.

Mike Sutherlin


Unidentified Participant

Sorry. I just want to clarify your comment about 2014 consensus being comfortable. Is that an EPS or revenue or both comment?

Mike Sutherlin

That was a revenue comment. We're talking about volumes. So, yes, revenue comments.

We, as we -- we look at the revenue side of that and we're pretty comfortable with that. As we look at the consensus on EPS, you know, we're not sure that we're using the same formulas, and again we -- one of the clarifications is that the restricting cost savings are in the decrementals that we are talking about, 34% decrementals include that.

And probably the other variable, maybe share repurchase, and we've set the share repurchase program to be executable with self-generated cash. And we set the timeline to be able to do that with a reasonable degree of certainty. And we would expect the share repurchase to be spread out over the next two, if not three years. And so I'm not sure that that there's not expectations of a more accelerated version of that, but that's not the -- what we're trying to implement.

Unidentified Participant

So, Mike -- actually right here, Mike.

Mike Sutherlin


Unidentified Participant

Right here.

So, Mike, what was, you know, actually my question was, what would it take to kind of really up the ante on share purchases, and would you need to see, you know, a more stable end-market or some sign of a bottom in mining, before we did that?

Mike Sutherlin

Yes. I mean we are -- there are two elements I think that come into play. One element is in the deployment of cash, and certainly share buybacks is top priority. We are seeing some potential opportunities around some bolt-on acquisitions, smaller bolt-on acquisitions, that we like to be able to take advantage of the right ones when they come along. So, you know, not using everything for share buybacks is probably a good thing.

We also generate more cash in the second half of the year than we do in the first half, and we like to send a signal to our shareholders that this is going to be a longer-term continual program that's going to benefit the share count. And so we look at that part of it as well.

In terms of, you know, doing things with our balance sheet to accelerate the share buyback, as much as we see some factors that are indicating that, you know, the early stages of what we think can be an improving trend, there still is enough uncertainty out there that we, you know, don't want to be too quick in looking at balance sheet options, and we don't think that in today's times of uncertainty is the right time to be adding debt to our balance sheet, so.

Unidentified Participant

The acquisitions, the bolt-ons, would they be within mining or would you look -- are you looking to --

Mike Sutherlin

No. We're strictly a mining equipment company. We're not going to be diversified industrial. We may broaden our exposure in the mining space, but we're not going to be, you know, we do one thing really well and we sell and support mining equipment. We're going to continue to do that because we do it well.

Unidentified Participant

Just was wondering on the aftermarket. You said 40% are lifecycle management. Are you seeing any pricing pressure there?

Mike Sutherlin

Well, we always have pricing pressure. There's always third-party competitors of, you know, people that might look like components, spare machines. We're not seeing pricing pressure today that's unusual or different than what we would see normally. So it's not like we're under an intense amount of pricing pressure in today's market. We're seeing volume impacts as customers reduce the inventories they hold at mine site.

In fact, you know, our inventories have stayed up a little bit higher than we planned. Part of that is to keep inventories available for our shorter-term replenishment. As our customers take their inventories down, they're going to need quick replenishment, and we don't want that to (inaudible) to go through a pirate competitor, if you will.

But pricing environment today is pretty typical of our business, it's not unusual. Certainly it's not a major factor for us.

Unidentified Participant

I guess just following on that, if you could talk a little bit more about just the competitive dynamics you're seeing across industry-wide given, you know, emerging competition from Chinese players in the market both on an OE side and then also just on higher parts side, are you seeing more competition than you had in the past?

And then just to follow on to that, on the aftermarket side, are you seeing any behavioral shifts from the consumers as they look to, you know, park more their fleet (inaudible) take more of the service in-house, anything of that sort?

Mike Sutherlin

Yes. On the industry in general, I think we have an industry that's highly-concentrated around a few equipment companies that, you know, larger equipment companies. And we all understand how steep the price elasticity curve is. And I think the industry has stayed very disciplined.

We're focused on bringing not lower prices to our customers but more value to our customers. How do we improve our value component for our customers? Other competitors are doing the same thing. So we're not seeing that, you know, trying to gain market share by lowering their price.

As we get to the other, you know, competitors, there's been very little out of China, to be honest with you. There's probably very little appetite to try Chinese parts. Still if it doesn't work, it's still downtime. And there's too much at stake, we deal with mission-critical equipment, there's too much at stake for that to be down. And so there's a certain risk factor in having equipment downtime that exceeds the normal levels. And that will reduce production in the mine which will increase unit costs. So, you know, that has not been a factor.

I forgot your third -- what was the third piece of that?

Unidentified Participant

The third part was just aftermarket, are you seeing shifts in behavior --

Mike Sutherlin

The customer behavior, yes.

Unidentified Participant


Mike Sutherlin

Yes. What we're seeing in the aftermarket is, you know, it's an interesting phenomenon, as our customers take costs out of their operations. We saw this in the oil and gas space where the oil companies in the '80s took a lot of costs out. And they took out a lot of their ability to engineer their own projects and then began to look at the suppliers to provide the engineering content for the projects.

So, yes, that developed into integrated supply capability with the major oil service suppliers. We're seeing the same thing in the mining space, as they take more and more costs out, we're seeing them look to the equipment suppliers to add more resources into those operations. We have projects today where we have a significant number of our engineering people that are officed with our customers, working on a project side by side.

So when a customer in the past would develop a spec and give us a spec to work to, now we're co-developing the spec with them. And that's -- it is a change but it's a change for the positive because it puts us in more of a partnership embedded relationship with our customers.

And so the tendency to shop around, you know, no one has time to do that anymore. Everybody is stretched to thin. The need to bring companies like Joy Global into, not just deliver equipment but to manage the project, you know, we're doing a lot of turnkey work but we design and build equipment, we install and commission it, and we'll take a lifecycle management contract for the first five or ten years. And that's becoming more common in the market. So we think that the market is moving in the direction that's beneficial to the larger suppliers with service and engineering capability to bring to the table.

Unidentified Analyst

Okay, great. So we're out of time. Day one is a wrap. Thanks so much, Mike.

Mike Sutherlin

Thank you.

Unidentified Analyst

Really great session.

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Source: Joy Global's CEO Present at the Morgan Stanley Industrials & Autos Conference (Transcript)

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