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Emerson Electric Co EMR
Q4 2011 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 11/01/2011

Operator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Thank you for standing by. Welcome to the Emerson's Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2011 Results Conference Call. During today's presentation, all parties will be in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation, the conference will be open for questions. This conference is being recorded today, Tuesday, November 1, 2011.

Emerson's commentary and responses to your questions may contain forward-looking statements, including the Company's outlook for the remainder of the year. Information on factors that could cause actual results to vary materially from those discussed today, is available at Emerson's most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K as filed with the SEC.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Lynne Maxeiner. Please go ahead madam.

Lynne Maxeiner - Director, Investor Relations: Thank you. I am joined today by David Farr, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Emerson; Frank Dellaquila, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Pat Fitzgerald, my replacement as Director of Investor Relations. I'm moving on to my next assignment as Vice President of Planning and Development for Emerson Network Power Systems. Pat has been with Emerson since 2002 and is coming to the IR role from Emerson's Process Management business segment.

I will turn over to Pat to review the fourth quarter results.

Patrick Fitzgerald - Assistant Treasurer and Director of IR: Today's call will summarize Emerson's fourth quarter 2011 results. A conference call slide presentation will accompany my comments and is available in the Investor Relations section of Emerson's corporate website at emerson.com. A replay of this conference call and slide presentation will be available on the website after the call for the next three months.

I will start with the highlights of the quarter as shown on Page 2 of the conference call slide presentation. Fourth quarter sales were up 12% to $6.5 billion, with double-digit increases in three segments. Underlying sales growth was 9%, led by strength in emerging markets. Operating profit margin expanded 170 basis points from the prior year quarter to 19.1%, which reflected record quarterly profitability. That earnings per share of $1.01 was also a record. Earnings per share from continuing operations of $0.98 increased 31% from the prior year quarter.

Operating cash flow of $1.255 billion was strong and free cash flow was just over $1 billion. Our free cash flow to net earnings conversion was 133%. The balance sheet remained strong as operating cash flow to total debt was 62%. The pace of share repurchase increased in Q4 to $444 million. Emerson's record profitability provides a strong foundation to continue investments in key growth markets and technologies.

Moving to Slide 3, the P&L. Again, sales increased 12% with underlying sales up 9%, currency added two points, and acquisitions added one point. Operating profit increased 23% to $1.251 billion or 19.1% of sales as cost reduction benefits and lower stock compensation expense were partially offset by material cost pressure and growth investments. Earnings from continuing operations increased 29% to $735 million, which included a $19 million impairment charge for the wind turbine pitch control systems business. We repurchased 9.4 million shares for $444 million in the quarter, which leads to EPS from continuing operations of $0.98. Net earnings per share of $1.01 includes a $21 million gain from the heating products business divestiture.

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