Q2 2014 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 02/04/2014

Net of all of these factors we now anticipate diluted earnings per share from continuing operations to be in the range of $4.40 to $4.55 for fiscal year '14. The $0.05 reduction versus our previous outlook reflects the company's new foreign currency exchange assumptions primarily for Argentina.

In closing I feel very good about our overall results for the first half of the fiscal year, particularly our ability to deliver 3% sales growth on a currency neutral basis. This on top of the comparison to strong sales growth in the year ago period.

Looking to the second half of the fiscal year foreign currency headwinds and sluggish category growth will continue to weigh on our results. We're responding with innovation and more aggressive trade spending as well as a continued focus on operational efficiencies.

With I'll turn it over to Don.

Donald R. Knauss - Chairman and CEO: Thank you Steve and hello everyone on the call. So as I reflect on the quarter. I do think we performed well growing volume and sales on top of a very high year ago base that both Steves referenced.

That year ago base of course, was a really driven by the launch of concentrated bleach and strong innovation pipeline and double-digit increase in charcoal volume that we had. Importantly I think it's good to note that we realized volume gains in six out of the nine U.S. business units, and for the total U.S. volume was up 1% on top of very strong results a year ago. So, I'm particularly pleased with this quarter's top line performance in International, which delivered 2% volume growth and 1% sales growth despite the material foreign currency headwinds we faced.

In fact, as Steve mentioned, on a currency neutral basis, International sales grew 9% in the quarter. Interestingly, the biggest driver of this was Latin America, which delivered 4% sales growth overall, but when you back out, it's 11% FX hit, LATAM for us delivered 15% sales growth on a currency neutral basis, very strong growth.

As mentioned, we have updated our outlook for foreign currency declines and sluggish category growth with sales now expected to grow about 1% to 2% for the year, or about 3% to 4% on a currency neutral basis.

So as discussed, commodity cost increases particularly in resin and increase manufacturing and logistics cost driven by inflation, primarily in international markets continue to put pressure on Q2 margins. Now, at the same time we continue to drive efficiencies across the Company and it really do remain on track to achieve our cost savings targets for the fiscal year.

We also had success in taking price in some international markets, and as Steve noted, have announced a price increase, so I'm glad that we really believe will help offset the rising resin cost.

Now, we remain highly focused on keeping our core healthy and we're committed to regaining market share. Now, I feel very good about our plans across our portfolio, including a strong innovation pipeline in this half of the fiscal year to really drive some share results in the second half of the year.

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