The Estee Lauder Companies Inc Class A EL
Q4 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 08/12/2010

Operator: Good day, everyone, and welcome to the Est�e Lauder Companies’ Fiscal 2010 Yearend Conference Call. Today’s call is being recorded and webcast. For opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to the Vice President of Investor Relations, Mr. Dennis D'Andrea. Please go ahead, sir.

Dennis D'Andrea - VP, IR: Good morning, everyone. On today’s call are Fabrizio Freda, President and Chief Executive Officer; and Rick Kunes, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Also with us is Greg Polcer, Executive Vice President, Global Supply Chain. Aside from his responsibilities for the entire supply chain, Greg oversees our SMI program and Co-Chairs the project management team with Rick, which is responsible for our savings programs.

Since many of our remarks today contain forward-looking statements, let me refer you to our press release and our reports filed with the SEC, where you’ll find factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements. You can also find a reconsolidation between GAAP and non-GAAP results in our press release and in the Investors section of our website.

With that I’ll turn the call over to Fabrizio.

Fabrizio Freda - President and CEO: Good morning. Thank you for joining our fiscal 2010 yearend conference call. In my remarks this morning I will discuss the company achievements during the past year and how we intend to continue our momentum in fiscal 2011. In my first year as Chief Executive Officer, I am extremely gratified that our company performance was outstanding in so many respects. Last year we laid out our plans, and you will see that we have delivered and in most instances exceeded our goals.

Our first major accomplishment was successfully launching our four-year strategy, and we made excellent progress. We are confident our strategy is sound and sustainable. Our senior management team and the entire organization are aligned behind it, and our initial results show we are winning. In addition our performance was strong and many financial measurements hit all-time highs. This is even more extraordinary considering that our results were achieved during one of the most difficult economic times.

We also made great strides evolving our organization and strengthening our capabilities to build our brands, fully leverage our innovation, and improve profitability. It is important to note that even as the company reorganized and changed its processes, we held onto our core family values and historical trends. Creativity and entrepreneurial spirit are ingrained in our heritage and culture.

Now, let me highlight some specific financial results. These numbers are before charges for restructuring and the retirement of some debt. We announced this morning that full-year sales were $7.81 billion, up 7% from the year before. Earnings per share were the highest ever at $2.75, nearly double last year results. Many other financial metrics also set records, including net sales in global skin care, the Asia region, and our travel retail businesses, cost of sales at a low of 23.3%, operating margin increases of 420 basis points, net earnings of $552 million, cash flow from operation of $957 million, and inventory obsolescence improvement. The backbone of our strategy is to be more competitive and gain share by growing sales at least 1% ahead of global prestige beauty every year. By increasing our share in many of our largest countries and channels, including U.S. prestige department stores, travel retail, the U.K., China, it’s clear we’ve achieved that goal.

Read our Earnings Call Transcript disclaimer.
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