Greif, Inc. (NYSE:GEF) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Jan 15, 2015 • 10:00 am ET

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Greif, Inc. (NYSE:GEF) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
operator

Greetings and welcome to the Greif Incorporated Fourth Quarter 2014 Earnings call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. I would now like turn the conference over to Scott Griffin. Thank you. Please go ahead.

Executive
Scott Griffin

Thank you, Brenda. Good morning everyone and welcome. As a reminder, you may follow this presentation on the web at greif.com in the Investor Center under Conference Calls. On the call today in order of speaking are David Fischer, President and CEO, Peter Watson, COO and Larry Hilsheimer, Vice President and CFO. David Lloyd, Vice President and Corporate Financial Controller is also present.

We will issue our 2014 fourth quarter earnings release after market close yesterday and it's now posted on our website, greif.com. We have prepared slides to supplement our comments, which are posted in the Investors section of our website under Conference Calls.

We are now on Slide 2. (Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements) Unfortunately, due to time constraint there may be limited time for the question portion of today's call. (inaudible) to be responsive to all your questions and should you be unable to ask questions, please contact Bob Lentzat (614) 439-6006.

Executive
Scott Griffin

Before turning the call over to our CEO, let me first acknowledge our press release, which states that we'll be filing our Form 10-K late. Larry Hilsheimer, our CFO will be addressing this matter in his remarks. I will now turn the call over to David Fischer.

Executive
David Fischer

Thank you, Scott. Please turn to slide 3. We anticipate the overall global economy to continue to reflect a modest recovery in our fiscal 2015 year, with positive aspects of the improving economy in the United States being offset by the negative trends globally, particularly in Europe, Russia and Latin America. Our fourth quarter 2014 results included specific actions to accelerate our financial performance. These actions are expected to lead to improved financial performance over the next eight quarters.

However, more recently we have faced increased headwinds including negative currency translation, country specific currency devaluations, and initial effects from sharply lower oil prices affecting customer demand. The full impact of these factors has not yet been fully realized, and we are actively implementing countermeasures to offset these headwinds. Early in 2014, we initiated a comprehensive portfolio review representing an important step towards further refinement of our strategy. During the second half of fiscal 2014, we implemented several actions based on that review, which involved business divestments and further operational restructuring.

More recently in Q4, we launched a company-wide transformation initiative, which is being pursued by the top 60 leaders in the company. This initiative has generated both aggressive goals and enthusiasm to optimize our portfolio, improve our financial performance and reward shareholders. We plan to address details of this at our Investor Day next Wednesday. We will accelerate implementation of additional value creating opportunities throughout fiscal 2015, including a company-wide SG&A reduction, further portfolio