Tecumseh Products' CEO Discusses Q4 2013 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

| About: Tecumseh Products (TECU)
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Tecumseh Products Company (TECUA) Q4 2013 Results Earnings Conference Call March 5, 2013 11:00 AM ET


Christine Saurini - Director of Treasury

James J. Connor - President and Chief Executive Officer

Janice E. Stipp - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President



Good morning and welcome to Tecumseh Products Company’s 2013 Annual Results Conference Call. All participants will be in a listen-only mode until the question-and-answer portion of the call. This conference call is being recorded at the request of Tecumseh Products. If anyone has any objections, you may disconnect at this time.

I would now like to introduce Ms. Christine Saurini from Tecumseh Products Company. Ms. Saurini, you may proceed.

Christine Saurini

Thank you, Denise. Good morning and welcome to our call. I’m joined today by Jim Connor, our President and Chief Executive Officer; and Janice Stipp, our Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer.

We posted a presentation relating to the 2013 annual results shareholder update on our website and filed it as an Exhibit to a Form 8-K both posted yesterday, if you want to follow along. On page two of our presentation, you’ll find the agenda for today’s call.

Before we begin, if you turn to page three, I would like to remind you that during the course of this conference call, we may make projections and other forward-looking statements regarding, among other things, our estimates for 2014 financial results as well as our estimates, plans and assumptions regarding our future revenue growth, profitability, operating results, liquidity, operations and products, and while it goes without saying that we intend to provide reasonable projections, there are many factors that could cause actual results to differ from these projections.

Forward-looking statements can be identified by the use of terms such as estimate, expect, intend, believe, anticipate, should, may, could, will and other future tense and forward-looking terminology.

Again, these statements are predictions, not guarantees, that reflect the company’s current views as of the time of this call and that are subject to risks and uncertainties that may cause actual results to differ materially from our projections and other forward-looking statements.

By providing this information, we undertake no obligation to update or revise any projections or forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, new developments or otherwise. Given these risks and uncertainties, investors should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements as a prediction of actual results.

You should also review the cautionary statements and discussion of risk factors included in our press release yesterday, our presentation posted on our website yesterday, our Form 10-K for the quarter ended December, 31st, 2013 filed yesterday, as well as our other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission under the titles Risk Factors or Cautionary Statements related to forward-looking statements for additional discussion of risk factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from our current expectations and those discussions regarding risk factors, as well as the discussion of forward-looking statements in such sections are incorporated by reference in this call and are readily available on our website at www.tecumseh.com.

In addition, during our call today, we may discuss EBITDA and EBITDAR from continuing operations, which are not measures of performance calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP.

However, we believe that when taken together with the corresponding U.S. GAAP measure, they provide incremental insight into the underlying factors and trends affecting our performance. These measures should be viewed as supplemental data rather than as a substitute or an alternative to the comparable GAAP measures.

We have included the reconciliations from net income or loss to EBITDA and EBITDAR from continuing operations in our press release issued yesterday and on page 17, of this presentation, if you’re following on.

Again all this information is readily available and can be accessed on the Investor Relations’ page of our website at www.tecumseh.com.

With that said, please turn to page five, of the presentation. And I would now like to turn the call over to Jim Connor, Tecumseh's President and Chief Executive Officer.

James J. Connor

Thank you, Christine. We try to shorten up Christine’s role despite our council’s objections, but we got it a little bit shorter, so Christine that was speaking.

Thank you all, welcome to today's conference call. It’s indeed a pleasure to speak with all of you again about the end results for 2013. Let me just do a couple of things here first and that relates to some new people that joined our team in the last week or last 30 days really.

The most recent of which was a gentleman named Igor Popov as Chief Restructuring Officer. That announcement was made yesterday. Igor worked with us as consultant for several months. I’ve got to know Igor a little bit. We’ve traveled to most of the company sites together already.

I like Igor a lot. He has done a lot of good things, and lot of good thoughts and ideas. He's in the position of Chief Restructuring Officer reporting directly to the Board of Directors, really to Gary Cowger who was -- many if you know was the former Global Manufacturing -- Vice President of Global Manufacturing for General Motors.

So, we’ve got a lot of support there from the Board and with Igor’s knowledge and experience to help us look at the operations and get his insight as well as his vision for a business turnaround here at the company. So, I really welcome Igor. I think this is a really positive move and I couldn't be more pleased with support of the Board as well as with Igor.

Another gentleman Jerry Mosingo joined us as Executive Vice President of Operations and Quality. Jerry also has a strong operations background, comes to us from -- with a lot of experience here in the area.

Jerry joined us a couple of weeks ago and he is now offsite at one of our operations working with them to do some things. So that's also a welcome addition to our family. So welcome Jerry as well.

And lastly, although I’ve probably done this in the wrong order, is Harold Karp, who is on our Board of Directors. Harold came on-Board in January to fill Mr. Lebowski’s position. If you remember, Steve resigned in December of last year, December 31 of last year, so Harold joins us and I've got to know Harold little bit too and I’m also extremely happy with his decision to join our Board and move forward.

So, a really good team, really strong in operations now and really supportive of the management team, so this is all positive stuff and I welcome all their experience and help in the future as we move forward to turn this company around and make a profitable one to be going forward.

Turning to 2013 end results, we do have sales of $823 million after the excluding the effect of unfavorable change, a translation of $24 million. We pretty much had a flat with last year 2012, of 0.8% decrease overall. That does not include the effect of foreign currency, which is $31 million negative or decrease, so we show a decrease of sales of 3.6% on a year-over-year basis.

Gross profit margins improved 2% over 2012, a good thing; 9.5% in 2013 versus 7.6% in 2012. Cash and cash equivalents at the end of the year was $55 million, basically the same as we started the year at $55.3 million, so kind of flat on the cash front over the course of 2013.

2013 results of the gross profit level continue to improve in the right direction, compared to 2012 with the flat sales volume. We will go all this in more details during the course of our call and as we have cautioned many times before, challenging economic conditions, competitive landscape, ongoing regulatory activities, all that factors that Tecumseh is confronted with everyday which could adversely impact our future financial results.

Let's take a look a couple key initiatives now. If you take page six, this is a product roadmap we have seen and we’ve talked about a number of times before. It’s a key strength of our strategy going forward.

We remain steadfast in that mission to revitalize our product line, we have to improve our competitive position and rationalize our manufacturing capacity to make Tecumseh a stronger company for the future.

All of this will be encompassed with Igor’s attention now and will make an earnest effort to look at everything again and make sure we're on the right track or change that track or put together a strategy with Mr. Popov in the future.

We also continue to invest in R&D technology while balancing the ongoing efforts to contain our costs as appropriate throughout the world. In 2013, we saw increased momentum on our new AE2 and our TA compressor platforms into new remodel lines.

We gained some modest market share on the AE2, the mini compressor and we also achieved greater acceptance, especially in South America and the R&F market with TA mini compressor.

Also working on a TA commercial compressor as well, so that should help us out on the commercial market segment, we have yet to do that and that's on the drawing board.

We developed really [to sell] models the AE2 would replace our industry-standard AG models. We expect to stop manufacturing the old AE this year in 2014. As a reminder, both of these newer AE2s and TA models offer better performance to the customer and approve cost position for Tecumseh and from a manufacturing’s standpoint, easy manufacturing flexibility.

Also on this page is the AJ2 compressor. We are on track for our launch of that in late 2014, sales in 2015. Prototypes have been developed, it looks good. Again we’re on schedule and on track.

We heard lot more about that in every call in the future, that is the next [duplicating] compressor in the lineup to be completely overhauled in this sort of market. So, we’ll have the TA on the mini, we’ll have the AE2 on the Midi and the AJ2 is one notch up. We still have the multi-cylinder platform to go and we’ll be working on that into 2015.

Page seven you’ll see continue -- we continue to progress developing our condensing unit lineup. North America, we launched updates to three primary condensing unit lines in the first quarter. We made similar updates in other regions.

The new Celseon Low Profile Fractional Horsepower Units, you’ve heard me refer to this as the “Shorty” as we call it here. The redesigned Celseon Evaporative Condensate Units and upgraded Gen III Outdoor Units are now available.

The Low Profile Units are nearly a full inch shorter than standard units which allows OEM manufacturers to design increased cooled product space into their equipment. While the Evap Condensate and Gen III Units offer improved serviceability and field installations.

These are all products that we made changes to really as a direct result to what we view as the voice of the customer feedback. We go out and actively solicit our customers’ feedback and work that into our product lineup and all three of these changes are the result of that voice of customer feedback.

So, we think with that we’ve stuff in the market once, but it works well for us and we’re really encouraged about these three new kind of models for the condensing units in the future.

Following the successful launch of our new Celseon AJ Series Indoor Condensing Units in North America in our second quarter, we started seeing increased activity really to all of our new condensing unit models and many of our OE manufacturing accounts. This condensing unit strategy is a key part of our business goal strategy.

I’ll be honest with you. We anticipated selling more condensate units than we really did in 2013. We were not as successful as we’d hoped to be. Although, we have seen growth, we have seen increased market penetration on our condensing unit lineup. We wired more, we're going to get to need to work on that and continue to push that as a real focus for 2014.

The AJ Series specifically received good market acceptance in both the wholesale distributor and the OEM channels. Again, on the production efficiency side, these new units allow the company to reduce our model count and its important commercial refrigeration range by 26% and reduce our building materials by almost 90%, but still offering the same capacities and product coverage as our previous lineup.

It makes our whole product lineup much more flexible to manufacture, reduce our cost, and really poise us in the future to be much more flexible and receptive, customer demand and increased our delivery rates.

Another bright spot on condensing unit sales in 2013 was the South America. We doubled our condensing unit sales in that region over the past two years and we continue to see market share gains as a result of a greater focus on commercial refrigeration sector.

So, all good news on condensing units, honestly though not as good news as we had hoped for, but good, but not as good as we’d hoped for.

Turning to page eight, let's talk a little bit about green technology initiatives. For the past 12 to 18 months, we’ve experienced some steady interest from several OEM manufacturers for cold development of an R290 hydrocarbon refrigerant.

Several [bottle] cooler and supermarket applications are now in the queue for Tecumseh Products. In mid-2013, we announced our partnership with an OEM customer, Hussmann and their customer H-E-B Grocery, to open the first U.S.-based grocery store using eco-friendly R290 refrigerant U.S.-based grocery stores using eco-friendly R290 refrigerator in Austin, Texas. Self-contained refrigerated display cases are used throughout the store as a major change from store layouts where you had a compressor room with very large compressors running all the units out in front. They are now self-contained units, which really speaks well for our compressor line which is more can to the smaller units and individual units, each holding their own compressor.

The majority of display cases and walk-in coolers utilize Tecumseh condensing units, and over 40% of which are equipped with our new AE2 Series high efficiency compressor. Really good news, we certainly hope and are planning on some of this being a wave of the future in supermarkets going down the road.

Quick note on green technology products in Europe. We're starting to see increased OEM customer interest on replacement of AE2 compressors and condensing units used in the green refrigerant. These unit going into new commercial equipment with a manufacturing higher carbon-rated compressor in Europe for more than a decade, and this experience has just started to show us commercial refrigeration market comes to embrace that technology on a wider basis.

That green technology in Europe will really fall well into our new AJ2 line where the series of changes in F-gas or non-green alcohol F-gas refrigerant changes are being enforced throughout Europe. That's going to play very well in to our AJ2 strategy as we launch that into late this year and early part of 2015.

Another green technology that we're seeing very steady growth is solar powered applications. Our vast influx blend, we -- our vast influx brand, we're with a number of customers that develop unique solar applications for product vending, medical refrigerators and the like. Solar applications are relatively small portion of our current sale, but it's a segment that's growing and indeed a good niche market for us to participate in.

Flipping to page nine, as many of you know, we kicked off our 88th anniversary celebration at late January at the AHR Expo in New York City. The AHR Expo is our industry's largest U.S. trade show with more than 50,000 visitors annually. We displayed a number of our newest products, a lot of buzz around our booth, a lot of discussions about what we're showing as new technology, green refrigerants, and the AE2 compressor line up as well as several other items.

We're getting close together with our customers to celebrate that milestone. We're doing that around the world. We're planning appropriate celebrations in other regions as well. We'll be toasting our long history, sharing more about our future vision, and especially honoring some of our tremendous long-standing customer relationships. And we have many long-standing relationships that have been I'm very proud to be part of. We’re proud to celebrate and hike towards continuing our mission and build the company for the future.

Let's turn to page 10 now and take a look in-depth at 2013 annual sales by segment. For the year ended December 31, 2013, as I said, sales were $823 million, down $31 million or 3.6%. Negatively impact of $24 million of unfavorable changes in foreign currency made this kind of a flat year for us, a decrease of 0.8% as compared to 2012. This is driven primarily by net decreases in volume and mix partially offset by price increases, but I don't think that too much change, a little change in the markets.

Turn to page 11 now for a more detailed review of our three markets; commercial, air conditioning, and household refrigeration. Revenue in our largest market is the commercial market and that's where we'd like to focus. That's $487.7 million or 59% of proposed sales in 2013. That represents 22% decrease in revenue when compared to prior year.

After adjustment of currency, the sales decreased 2.7%. This decrease is primarily driven by lower net volumes and unfavorable mix of $60 million as there were some unfavorable changes in currency of $2.5 million, both of which were partially offset by some price increases we retained of $2.7 million.

We experienced some good regional demand in India and Brazil in 2013 with soft market conditions in North America and Europe, primarily in distribution more than offset this. So, good strong strength in India -- very good year in India for us, very good year in Brazil from the commercial side and -- but weaker -- really distribution markets in North America, little bit of OEM in North America as well as OEM on -- distribution on the European markets.

Next, let's take a look at air conditioning. Turn to page 12 please. This marked kind of 20% -- 22% of total sales in 2013 or $180.9 million. That increased 9.6% compared to 2012, while currency neutral sales increased 15.8% on the year-over-year basis.

As much that I could take credit for superior selling efforts there, most of that increase is really due to higher volumes and favorable mix caused in the marketplace. Primarily in Brazil, we saw volume increases associated with the non-recurrence in 2012 temporary shutdown of one of their major customers' facilities.

You will recall that in 2012, we had a shutdown period in -- I think it was late third, early fourth -- early third quarter, late second quarter where our air conditioning plants were shut down for period of time because of some tariff changes. Those got remedied and we've backed up the speed again. The increase in 2013 really reflects the difference between a full year’s production and sales in that marketplace versus their shutdown that happened in 2012.

Volume declines in North America even in the first half of 2013 were due to softer market conditions; and in trucking industry, we do make a unit for the trucking industry as well, heavy duty trucks.

Decline in India were primarily in the second half of 2013. That related to that warranty claim I talked about at the end of second quarter call that originated at that time and continued on, and unfortunately, that got to us in the second half of last year and will continue into the first quarter this year.

Finally, on page 13 let's review household refrigeration and freezer market or the R&F market. R&F market represented 19% of our total sales amounted to $5 million in 2013. Sales in this market were down 16.7% as compared to 2012.

However, after adjusted for currency, the sales decrease was 10%. The decrease is primarily due to lower net volumes and unfavorable mix of $20.4 million, as well as unfavorable changes in currency exchange rates of $11 million.

The volume decline is really the result of lower local demand for R&F refrigerators by consumers at our Brazilian location. I don't believe we lost any market share in Brazil. We're down slightly with a couple of our customers, but not much.

That kind of summarize where we're at in the marketplace, and some of the things we've done, as well as the new people on Board. So, let me let Janice take time now to comment further on 2013 results. So Janice?

Janice E. Stipp

Thank you, Jim. Good morning, everyone. During 2013 favorable commodity price and currency impacts led to improved margins over 2012 results. Although there is economic uncertainty, the focus on our core competencies and our cost conscious culture will continue as we move forward in delivering our goal of returning to company the profitability and enhancing shareholder value.

Since Jim has just reviewed our sales, let me share with you our financial results starting with page 15. Gross profit came in 2013 at $78.1 million, which represents an increase of 13.4 million over 2012. Gross profit margin also increased to 9.5% of net sales as compared to 7.6% in 2012.

The main factors contributing to the increased gross profit level in 2013 were $14.1 million favorable change in currency, $6.1 million favorable change in the cost of our commodities, $4.4 million of price increases and $1.7 million favorable manufacturing cost, direct labor and overhead.

These favorable impacts were partially offset by unfavorable changes in volume and sales mix of $5.1 million, as well as increased warranty expense of $8.1 million recorded primarily in India and Europe.

James J. Connor

Let me just take a second here. I'm going to interrupt Janice, and you'll find out more in script now, but that $8 million was really the result of that [cliff] including the process that we do with one motor into the air conditioning market. That was a rude awakening for us. It was significant for us. It was a way that we thought it was initially and unfortunately it really pointed out the fact that we still have a lot of work to do in process controls, approvals and changes in manufacturing process, which is what this was and is seems simple, but it wasn't vented properly, at least as thoroughly as it should have been. And it costs us. And that was -- it really points out the fact that we've got some work to do in process controls, even in quality and engineering centers and outdoor also. So that is to be recon with. It seems as a one-time item, but it certainly shows that we have some work to do -- continue to do in process controls. Sorry Janice.

Janice E. Stipp

No problem. Turning now to page 16, we saw decreased selling and administrative expenses of $2.8 million in 2013 as compared with 2012. The decrease is primarily a result of $2.2 million lower professional fees, $1.5 million lower depreciation and $1.2 million decrease related to our incentive compensation awards, which were partially offset by $1 million increase in bad debt expense due to a bankruptcy filing by one of our Brazilian customers and $1.6 million increased employee benefit expenses.

Other income was $21.4 million in 2013 compared with $22.3 million in 2012, or a decrease of $0.9 million. The major components of this decrease includes $4.2 million unfavourable change related to one-time items in 2012, which do not reoccur in 2013; and $1.8 million reduced income from Indian government incentive.

Partially offsetting these items were $1.4 million income related to securities which were sold in second quarter of 2013 and $2.8 million increase in net amortization of gains related to post retirement benefits curtailment.

Moving on to impairments, restructuring charges and other items; we recorded $13.6 million of expense in 2013, primarily related to headcount reductions, business process reengineering, as well as an environmental reserve.

The majority of the expense is associated with the reduction in forest of approximately 110 employees at our French location. As noted during our Q3 2013 shareholder call, we have already secured funding for the French social plan and anticipate less than one-year payback on this initiative.

Loss from continuing operations before taxes was $26.7 million in 2013 compared to income from continuing operations before taxes of $12.9 million in 2012, which includes $45 million of income related to post-retirement benefit curtailment gain.

Moving over to page 17, the company’s EBITDA from continued operations for 2013 was $14.5 million or 1.8% of net sales as compared to $56.3 million or 6.6% of net sales for the same period in 2012.

EBITDAR from continuing operations for 2013 was $28.1 million or 3.4% of net sales as compared to 2012 of $15.7 million or 1.8% of net sales. Through our use of the EBITDAR metric, we can see the positive trend in operating results before restructuring and similar charges.

Management believes EBITDA and EBITDAR to be relevant and useful information at it is a major commonly used, reported widely by analyst, investors and others to gauge financial performance. However, these financial measures should not be construed as better measurements than operating income or loss, operating cash flows net income or loss, or earnings per share as determined under U.S. GAAP. Other companies may calculate EBITDA or EBITDAR differently; therefore to complete EBITDA and EBITDAR may not be comparable to other companies.

Let’s take a look at our December 31, 2013 cash position on page 18. We ended the year with $55 million of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents. That compares to $55.3 million at December 31, 2012. In addition to the borrowing availability noted on the chart, the company has regional factor and capabilities which are not quantified in the figures shown.

The primary components of the $0.3 million decrease in cash and cash equivalents during 2013 are $11.6 million of cash provided by operating activities, $22 million use of cash in investing activities and $9.8 million of cash provided by financing activities. Let’s review each of these components in further detail.

Turning to page 19, as previously stated, cash provided by operation was $11.6 million as compared to $8.8 million in 2012. Significant elements driving the source of cash from operational activities for 2013 were; net loss of $37.5 million, adjustment for significant non-cash items are; depreciation and amortization of $33.5 million, a non-cash employee retirement benefits scheme of $11.6 million, deferred taxes of $6.3 million related to the curtailment of our postretirement benefit plan, and $1 million related to non-cash share-based compensation as well as a non-cash loss on asset disposal.

Now let’s turn to working capital. Inventory with the use of cash of $10.5 million due to higher inventory levels primarily related to anticipated higher sales in North America and Asia. Days on hands were 77 as compared to 71 at December 31, 2012. Payables and accrued expenses generated $22.8 million of cash, primarily due to higher accrued liabilities related to severance, business process engineering and product warranty claims. Days payable were 59 days as compared to 63 at December 31, 2012.

Decreased accounts receivable levels provided cash of $6.2 million, mainly due to higher level of collections in factory. Day sales outstanding were 52 as compared to 55 at December 31, 2012. Recoverable non-income taxes provide cash of $8.1 million. This is mainly result of $28.5 million in cash received at our Brazilian and Indian locations, which was partially offset by accruals of additional recoverable non-income taxes.

Cash used in investing activity was $22 million, primarily related to capital expenditures and $12.7 million of block funds related to our PNC term loan which is being partially offset by $2 million that became available during 2013 to fund our 401(k) contributions. Capital investments in 2013 were $11.8 million or 1.4% of sales. Lastly, cash provided by financing activity was $9.8 million, which is primarily related to our new term loan financing with PNC of $15 million.

In summary, we continue our ongoing focus on our operational lean manufacturing and quality initiatives as well as our product enhancements with a goal of achieving long-term growth and profitability.

While there’s still caution around our economic environment with improving margins, commodity prices, and focus on core competencies, we expect to navigate through the prolonged uncertainties that exist in the global economy.

We’ll also continue to invest in technology to innovate new products, enhanced design, and maintain product reliability. These actions are expected to position Tecumseh to capitalize on our future opportunities.

I’d like to turn the call back over to Jim. Jim?

James J. Connor

Thanks Janice. Just a couple of comments and then we’ll turn it over to anybody who has questions on the results.

On page 21, a couple of points, the French social plan, we talked about where that's in process and is an approved social plan now. We've gone through all union requirements and the vote and we're moving forward on it. We’ve gotten some of benefit of that last year, we’ll get more of it this year going forward and hopefully, it will be full into effect by the third quarter of this coming year.

The project decided recapitalization of the A and B shares and one class of stock is still on track. We filed a preliminary prospectus with the SEC several weeks ago. We’ve gotten comments back, we’re in -- eyeing prospectus for comments, we will be filing the final version, I don't know, in a couple weeks, I guess right Janice?

Janice E. Stipp

By the end of this week.

James J. Connor

Yeah, so that will be forthcoming and we’re hopeful that the shareholders will approve that recapitalization of moving the A and B shares into the one common stock -- one common class of stock.

We're going to continue to focus on lean, on quality. We got a really good Operations team now in place. It’s -- we’re going to continue the Tops Program, we’re going to continue lean efforts, changing that culture.

It’s now time to take those kinds of initiatives in that culture into further cost reductions and savings in the processes and maximize our cost structure in terms of increased profitability for the company, less of a loss, but increased profitability.

I’ve talked about the new team members and Harold on our Board, so I think we’re done with that.

And the final page then on the closing remarks, I would just say 2013 was certainly a challenging year for us. I’d mentioned and interrupted Janice on the $8 million warranty charge in the income statement. As I said; a rude awakening to the fact that we still have a lot of work to do in this company and lot more things to do.

I welcome Igor’s involvement and his support. I welcome the Board’s support on all that. We are truly a team working together to accomplish what we all think we can do here at Tecumseh and I look forward to a much better future.

We didn’t meet the targets internally that we had set of ourselves in 2013. We’ve set similar targets for 2014 and we’re going to work very hard to achieve those targets in 2014. And think with Igor’s help and Jerry’s help and Harold and rest of the Board, we can accomplish great things here.

So, with that I will turn it over to anybody who has some call, we seldom your questions. But anybody who has any questions, we’ll be happy to take right now. Operator?

Question-and-Answer Session


(Operator Instructions)

This will conclude the question

(Abrupt end)

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