Reynolds American Inc RAI
Q1 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 04/23/2013

Operator: Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Reynolds American First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session with instructions following at that time. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

Now I'll turn the conference over to your host, Morris Moore, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please begin.

Morris Moore - IR: Good morning, and thank you for joining our call. Today, we'll discuss Reynolds American's results for the first quarter of 2012, as well as our outlook for the rest of the year. As usual our discussion will focus on adjusted results as management believes this better reflects our underlying business performance. A reconciliation of reported to adjusted earnings is in our press release, which is available on our website at Joining me this morning are RAI's President and CEO, Daan Delen and Tom Adams, our CFO.

The information we're about to discuss includes forward-looking statements. When we talk about future results or events, a number of factors could generate results that are materially different from our projections today. These factors include, but are not limited to, items detailed in our press release and SEC filings. Except as provided by federal securities laws, we are not required to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.

Now I'll turn the call over to Daan.

Daniel M. Delen - President and CEO of Reynolds American Inc.; President of RAI Services Company: Good morning everyone. As our first quarter report shows today, the year is off to a strong start with RAI delivering substantially higher earnings and margins. All of our operating companies saw gains in first quarter operating income and margin, while continuing to improve their positioning of their key brands in the competitive marketplace.

Before I discuss performance in more detail, I'll touch on a major recent development. As you probably know, R.J. Reynolds and various other tobacco manufacturers reached a settlement with 20 jurisdictions, to resolve the master settlement agreement MPM disputes for 2003 through 2012. This agreement will provide a significant benefit to our largest operating R.J. Reynolds through lower MSA cost over the next four years. As you can see from our results today, the Company is already benefiting from the agreement.

Now I'll discuss performance in more depth. Industry cigarette volumes were soft for the quarter and that was driven by several factors. There is no doubt that ongoing economic weakness continues to present challenges. In addition to that, consumer disposable income suffered another hit with the expiration of the payroll tax holiday. This tax impact combined with higher energy prices and continued high unemployment (indiscernible) a negative impact on cigarette volumes.

In addition, this is a big factor, all of our reportable segment had two fewer shipping days in the first quarter as compared to the prior year. I would note that this will turn around as we move through the year with one additional shipping day in both the second and third quarters. So in total, there will no difference for the year.

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