Timothy H. Powers - Chairman, Chief Executive officer, President, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Finance Committee
Megan C. Preneta - Corporate Secretary
David G. Nord - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President
Hubbell Inc. (HUB.B) 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders May 8, 2012 9:00 AM ET
Timothy H. Powers
Well, I think we're ready to begin this morning. Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Will the meeting please come to order? I want to welcome all of you to the 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders of Hubbell Incorporated, here at our corporate headquarters in Shelton, Connecticut. I am Timothy H. Powers, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hubbell, and I will be presiding over today's meeting.
At this time, I would like to introduce Dave Nord, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Megan Preneta, Corporate Secretary, who are joining me here at the head table. I would also like to introduce each of the nominees for director of the company, who are seated in the audience. And I would ask them to stand as I call their name.
We begin with Jack Ratcliffe, Lynn Good, Anthony Guzzi, Neal Keating, John Malloy, Andrew McNally IV, Carlos Rodriguez, John Russell, Richard Swift and Dan Van Riper. Also with us today is Kevin Hallinan, a partner of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP and Patricia Hoffman [ph], a representative from Broadridge Capital. Ms. Hoffman [ph] and Ms. Preneta will act as inspectors of the election for this meeting.
As in past years, I would let to express a warm welcome to the members of the Hubbell family, who are in attendance today. This year, we are fortunate to have on display 2 historic portraits that are on loan to us from the Hubbell family. The portrait on the left is that of Harvey Hubbell II, who founded the company back in 1888; and the portrait on the right is that of his wife, Louie E. Roche, who played a significant role in the early years of the company and even served as Chairman of the Board when her husband died. On behalf of the company, I would like to thank the Hubbell family for participating in this year's meeting and for continuing to keep the family connected to our great company.
Now, we will proceed with the formal portion of the year 2012 Annual Meeting of Shareholders. You should have a copy of the rules of conduct, which are printed on the reverse side of the agenda. These rules will govern the conduct of the meeting today. We welcome questions from our shareholders. However, all questions should be confined to the items on the agenda and raised as each item is presented. All other questions or comments should be held till after the vote tabulation period.
I have an affidavit of Broadridge showing that due notice of the meeting was given. A copy of that notice on the affidavit will be attached to the minutes of this meeting. All shareholders of record at the close of business on March 9, 2012, are entitled to vote at the Annual Meeting.
Our first order of business is to determine whether the shares represented at this meeting constitute a quorum for the purposes of transacting business. Megan, do you have a report?
Megan C. Preneta
Yes, Mr. Chairman. We are informed by Broadridge that proxies have been received from shareholders representing a total of 171,560,155 votes or 87.71% of the total votes eligible to be cast at this meeting.
Timothy H. Powers
Thank you. Since the majority of the shares entitled to vote at this meeting are present in person or by proxy, I hereby declare a quorum present. There are 2 proposals to be voted upon at this meeting. As described in the Notice of the Meeting and the Proxy Statement. The first proposal is the election of directors of the company to serve until the 2013 Annual Meeting and the election of their successors. Is there any discussion of this proposal?
The second proposal is the ratification of the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for the year 2012. Is there any discussion of this proposal?
Now, we will proceed to vote on these 2 proposals. Are there any shareholders, who wish to vote in person by ballot? If so, will you please raise your hand and the Secretary will provide you with a ballot. If you've already voted by proxy, you do not need to vote unless you wish to change your vote. Anyone need a ballot? Okay. I now declare the polls closed. While the vote is being tabulated by the Inspectors of Election, I would like to turn the meeting over to Dave Nord, who will use this opportunity to talk to the shareholders on several topics. Dave?
David G. Nord
Good morning. Thanks, Tim. Thank you, everybody. I just want to provide a couple of brief comments on the results of the company and the performance.
First and foremost, we just completed a very successful year in the history of the company. Our results across the board were very positive. Our sales, our profitability and our earnings per share all up double digits. And I think this is all attributable to the really hard work and dedication of the more than 13,000 employees that we have around the globe, all participating in unison to drive these results.
I've shown this chart before. It's one of my favorite charts showing the progression of our performance over the last 10 years. Something we're very proud of, more than doubling the size of the company, dramatically improving the profitability of the company. And you'll note that last year, at just over $2.9 billion, the highest level of sales in the history of the company.
A lot of that is being done through the consistency of our strategy. It's been consistent as long as I've been here, and since Tim has been leading the company. And it's really built around 4 key elements. One, is around our brands. We're a brand-oriented company. You saw, walking in, the various brands listed in the platform banners outside, more than 60 brands, well recognized in the industry, well valued and very important to us. We focused on continually operating the company in the most efficient and effective way possible.
We focused on our financial discipline, our conservative financial management, focused on cash flow generation and the ongoing payment of dividends. And then taking the other cash and reinvesting it in the business both in our people, in new product development to continue to grow the business, as well as in new companies. And we have added 4 new companies in the last 2 quarters.
We talked about the balance in our business and that was the theme of our annual report: balance, power and results. And while half of our business in the construction industry is at all-time lows and just about trough levels, we're fortunate that several other parts of our business are in growth mode. One is in the business serving the oil and gas industry, our harsh and hazardous business. And this is a picture of a solution center that we built in Houston that actually can show the products as they would be utilized on an offshore platform. A lot of customers, design engineers will go to visit that, and we've got great reviews from that.
The utility business continues to grow and be a very positive part of our business and a continued investment in improving and increasing the transmission capabilities in North America. And we expect that trend to continue. And then in the lighting industry, a really -- a revolution going on in the lighting industry with the introduction of solid state LED lighting changing the landscape of lighting, but also the focus on energy efficiency being a big part of the growth that we're seeing in the lighting industry.
All of that being done, whilst we're driving operational efficiency and while the lighting industry is in the revolution, the company is just continuing to evolve. It's continuing to evolve into a more coordinated organization where we're trying to make sure that we are getting the best advantage of our size and scale, while maintaining the independence of the brands and the businesses. And we're doing that through a model that we refer to as One Hub, where we have the businesses, our 3 platforms, coordinating our efforts and then the support functions around them, supporting those efforts.
I think the result of all of this is pretty clear, and this is my second favorite chart, which is the return to shareholders. And that's what this meeting is all about, the shareholders. And I think it's clear that our actions to date, our performance to date are continuing to deliver returns to shareholders that we're very proud of and have far exceeded those of the market in general. So we're very proud of what we've accomplished, and we're very optimistic about what the future holds for your company.
With that, turn it back to Tim.
Timothy H. Powers
Thanks, Dave. It appears that the inspectors have their initial report.
Megan C. Preneta
Mr. Chairman, the initial results of the voting are as follows with the final tabulation to be filed on a Form 8-K within 4 days of this meeting. First, each of the 11 board nominees have been duly elected to the board, having received over 93% of the votes cast. Second, the selection of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for 2012 has been ratified, having received over 99% of the votes cast.
Timothy H. Powers
Thank you, Megan. I now hereby adjourn the formal portion of the meeting and will proceed with the informal question-and-answer period. Do we have any questions? Yes, sir?
I have a question about the employment in the company and what's the trend across various lines. Are we hiring?
Timothy H. Powers
Sure. The question was, "what are the employment trend's within Hubbell, and are we hiring?" And the answer is, we are -- half of our business is growing, and that half is expanding and adding to employment. And the other half is about stable or flat, and that part is related to the construction industry in the residential part. But overall, Hubbell is adding both full-time employees and part-time employees here in the United States and in the rest of our operations. So I'd say generally, steadily, but slowly rising employment. Any other questions? If there are no further questions, I thank you for -- oh, excuse me, I'm sorry.
I'm reading this, so I get it correct. Okay. As I look around, I realized I am the matriarch. I am the one, who has the memory of my father, Harvey Hubbell III. And although, I never knew my grandfather, the founder of the company, I was very close to my grandmother, Louie Roche, whose portrait is over there. She told me many stories of my grandfather. His motto, mighty oaks from the little acorns grow, was used as a symbol of the acorn on the end of the B chain on the pull sockets. My father also had a motto, it pays to have good connections. I think if they could be here today and see how this mighty oak has grown with the many good connections and the nurturing given to it by the past and present management, that they would be very, very proud.
Timothy H. Powers
Well, thank you so much. The line, "it pays to have good connections," has been used by Hubbell almost continuously. And we have still used it on various campaigns up to now. So it's something, as you know, that goes right with our product, and it was a great line. So, thank you.
Are there any other comments or questions? If there are no further questions, I thank you, all, for attending today's meeting and invite you to a complementary brunch here in our cafe and to take a tour of the headquarters. Thank you for coming.