Compass Minerals International Inc. (NYSE:CMP) Q4 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 09, 2016 • 09:00 am ET

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Compass Minerals International Inc. (NYSE:CMP) Q4 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good day everyone and welcome to the Compass Minerals Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference Call. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Theresa Womble. Please go ahead.

Executive
Theresa Womble

Thank you, Dana; and good morning, everyone. Today, we have Fran Malecha, our CEO; and Matthew Foulston, our CFO to review our fourth quarter and full year results, as well as our outlook for 2016.

Before I turn the call over to them, let me remind you that today's discussions may contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are based on the company's expectations as of today's date, February 9th, 2016, and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially. These differences could be caused by a number of factors, including those identified in the Compass Minerals' most recent Form 10-K and 10-Q. The company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made today to reflect future events or developments.

You can find reconciliations of any non-GAAP financial information that we discuss today in our earnings release, which is available in the Investor Relations section of our website at compassminerals.com.

Now, I'd like to turn the call over to Fran.

Executive
Fran Malecha

Thank you, Theresa. Good morning and thank you for joining our call today. As many of you know by reading our press release or looking at our investor presentation for this quarter, Compass Minerals faced some challenges as we exited 2015. Clearly most of these challenges fall under the category of things we can't control; things like the weather, the global economies impact on commodity prices or the strength of the US dollar. What continues to make Compass Minerals a compelling investment though is the resilience we demonstrate through our earnings performance in the face of these headwinds.

I'd like to stress three key points that I hope you take away from this call today. First is our operational performance proved extremely important for us in order to offset weakness in our key markets despite lower sales in both businesses adjusted EBITDA margin increased for the quarter and the full year. We did this by executing on our margin maximization strategies and by working diligently to improve operating rates and efficiencies at our production facilities.

The second key point is that our investment plan is largely on track in terms of delivering on-time and on-budget projects. As you know, we are in the middle of a significant capital plan and we are well on our way to completing the key projects that we expect will drive profitable long-term growth.

In addition, this quarter we made an important plant nutrition investment by purchasing a 35% stake in Produquimica. This is a leading specialty plant nutrition company in Brazil with a strong history of growth. This company is a great strategic fit for us because of their strong presence in one of the world's most important agricultural markets where there