Compass Minerals International Inc. (NYSE:CMP) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

May 02, 2018 • 09:00 am ET

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Compass Minerals International Inc. (NYSE:CMP) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

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

Executive
Theresa L Womble

Thank you, Amy. Good morning to all on the call. Today our CEO, Fran Malecha and our CFO, Jamie Standen, will review our first quarter results and outlook for the remainder of the year.

Before I turn the call over to them, let me remind you that today's discussion may contain forward looking statements within the meaning of the Private securities litigation reform Act of 1995. Theses statements are based on our expectations as of today's date May 2, 2018, and involve risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially. The differences to be caused by a number of factors including those we identify and Compass Minerals most recent forms 10-K and 10-Q. The Company undertakes no obligation to update any forward looking statements made today to reflect future events or developments.

Last, our remarks also may contain non-GAAP financial disclosures, which we feel are important to provide a full understanding of our business and operating conditions, we provide reconciliations of these measures in our earnings release and in our earnings presentation both of which are average on Investor Relations section of our website at compassmineralsc.om.

Now I will turn the call over to Fran.

Executive
Fran Malecha

Thank you, Theresa. And good morning. Revenue growth across each of our business segments drove over 13% year over year increase in first quarter of 2018 consolidated revenue. Stronger sales in our salt business resulting from better winter weather activity in our de-iceing markets. Increased demand for special specialty nutrients in both Brazil and north America support sales growth in our plant nutrition business as well. However increased costs particularly in our salt segment and our plant nutrition North America segment producer operating margins and resulted in a 36% decline in operating earnings compared to prior-year results.

Despite the weakness in our operating and net earnings, we did generate strong growth in our cash flow from operations this quarter. As underlying fundamentals improve throughout our markets, we expect to be able to deliver more cash flow, given many of the strategic initiatives, we have undertaken. Looking specifically at our salt segment, we believe market fundamentals and highly de-iceing portion of the salt business are improving. After two mild winters, we are pleased to see a return to more typical winter in North America. Our sales in the first quarter also benefited from a strong contribution from the UK where demand was robust in the replenishment orders are expected to be strong throughout the summer for our customers.

While we don't typically discuss April snow activity, the snow events continue in the spring in many of our North American markets. In fact, our data indicate April winter events were more than four times the 10-year average in cities we track. Overall we been pleased with the increase in