Q4 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 04/24/2013

Operator: Good morning. My name is Kirk, and I will be your conference operator today. At this time, I’d like to welcome everyone to the Fourth Quarter and Full Year Earnings Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. Thank you.

CEO, John Gilbertson, you may begin your conference.

John S. Gilbertson - CEO and President: Thank you very much, Kirk. Good morning. I'd like to thank you for attending the AVX conference call regarding the results for our fourth quarter that ended in March. I am John Gilbertson, and with me today are Kurt Cummings, AVX’s Chief Financial Officer. And we hope that you’ve had a chance to review our earnings release that was issued this morning.

The March quarter sales of $360.5 million came in better than anticipated, partially as a result of a stronger demand from our manufacturing customers who are launching new products. We had about $8 million of additional Tantalum product sales manufactured by plants we purchased from Nichicon in early February 2013. We are optimistic on revenues as even the base business met our projection exclusive of the acquisition.

Our backlog rebounded late in the quarter as some movement was seen in the distribution market, but these orders were not for immediate delivery. Our 90-day backlog increased almost 2% when compared to the end of December. This is the most positive movement we’ve seen in some time. The gross book-to-net bill was 1.04 to 1. Today in April it's much stronger than that.

The real positive was the activity with several of our key distributors. As always, some distis moved before others, and we need another quarter to see if others will follow in restocking, which has reached a low level in the total industry inventory.

The order and sales activity during the March quarter were impacted by the Asian New Year holiday, as is typical, but it did not limit our activity as significantly as last year. Following the holidays, we continue to see selling price pressures in this uncertain environment. As we have mentioned previously, when orders moderate, there tends to be more spot pricing, yet in general, we were satisfied with our margin performance considering the overall sales level and mix of product.

The inventory situation, particularly in distribution channel, on an overall basis continues to decline during the March quarter, reflective of the caution in the marketplace. Our shipments to distribution channel decreased 1.5% from the December quarter. This is not unusual, as December quarter has much more consumer activity. At this time we would say we're still on a period of inventory moderation, but seeing some positive movement. This quarter the distribution channel represented 38% of our overall shipments.

We expect that the distribution channel will increase, but again, we feel comfortable with our position in this channel when inventory requirements improve. At this level of inventory even a modest improvement in end market demand could cause constraints on supply.

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