Donaldson Co Inc DCI
Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 11/21/2012

Operator: Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by and welcome to the Donaldson's First Quarter FY 2013 Conference Call. During today's presentation all participants will be in a listen-only mode. Following the presentation the conference will be opened for your questions. Today's conference is being recorded November 21, 2012.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Rich Sheffer. Please go ahead.

Richard Sheffer - IR: Thank you, Alisha, and welcome to Donaldson's fiscal 2013 first quarter earnings conference call and webcast. Following this brief introduction, Bill Cook, our Chairman, President and CEO; and Jim Shaw, our Vice President and CFO, will review our first quarter earnings and our updated outlook for fiscal '13.

Next, I need to review our Safe Harbor statement with you. Any statements in this call regarding our business that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements, and our future results could differ materially from the forward-looking statements made today. Our actual results may be affected by many important factors, including risks and uncertainties identified in our press release and in our SEC filings.

Now, I'd like to turn the call over to Bill Cook. Bill?

William M. Cook - Chairman, President and CEO: Thanks Rich, and good morning everyone. As you saw in our press release we issued earlier this morning, our first quarter sales and EPS were very consistent with the updated outlook we announced in October.

As we discussed last month and summarized again in our release today, we had started our new fiscal year in August with excellent operating momentum and a good open order backlog. However, we then began to see condition at many of our customers start to quickly decelerate in September and into October. Our sense is that what has caused this slowdown is a significant decline in business confidence, due to the ongoing high levels of global uncertainty.

The Wall Street Journal earlier this week summarized a probable causal factors of this uncertainty issue including the U.S. elections, the government transition in China, and the impending fiscal cliff issue in the U.S., the list goes on, but I think we all get the point there is a high level of uncertainty now negatively impacting business confidence and investment decisions generally. Consequently we've seen many of our Engine OEM, on-road and off-road equipment customers reduce their production schedules, to both deal with their declining end-market demand and their own now higher than desired inventory levels.

For example, according to ACT Research, North American Class 8 year-over-year truck build rates decreased 9% in August, 18% in September and we're down 19% in October and our OEM on-road sales declined 16% in locally currency during our first quarter. Based on ACT's latest forecast, North American heavy truck build rates are now expected to be down 15% year-over-year in total in our fiscal '13. Our OEM Off-Road sales were a better story, down less than 1% local currency. As a reminder, our Off-Road sales include construction, ag and mining equipment. Included in Caterpillar's earnings call last month, they are cutting production of both construction and mining equipment to production levels to below their end market demand to achieve their inventory reduction targets in their fourth quarter which ends in December.

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