Star Gas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:SGU) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Dec 06, 2018 • 11:00 am ET

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Star Gas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:SGU) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good day, and welcome to the Star Group Fiscal 2018 Fourth Quarter Results Conference Call and Webcast. All participants will be in listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions) Please note, today's event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Mr. Steven J. Goldman, CEO. Please go ahead, sir.

Executive
Steven Goldman

With me today is Star's CFO, Rich Ambury. After some brief remarks, Rich will review our fourth quarter financial results. We will then take your questions.

Before we begin, Chris Witty of our Investor Relations firm, Darrow Associates, will read the safe harbor statement. Please go ahead, Chris.

Executive
Chris Witty

(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)

I'd now like to turn the call back over to Steve Goldman. Steve?

Executive
Steven Goldman

Good morning everyone, and thanks for joining our year-end conference call. It's amazing how time has passed by and here we are back at the start of another winter season. During the fourth quarter, our bottom line performance was negatively impacted by lower volumes of home heating oil and propane by acquisitions completed after the heating season and investment in our service initiatives and certain one-time expenses such as severance, as Rich will review in a moment.

While we took some strategic actions to better position the company for future growth during this time, most notably, we sold our small security business for net proceed of $7 million. We came to the conclusion that this was not a prudent area for us to be concentrating our efforts on overall spending capital, and thus made the decision to sell this operation.

At the same time, we eliminated 18 smaller brand names of the company to improve overall marketing efficiency. We believe taking such steps leaves us more focused, streamlined as an enterprise dedicated to our core heating, cooling and other HVAC related markets.

As always, we continue to look at transactions that can strengthen or grow our customer base. For fiscal 2018 as a whole, we completed six acquisitions that brought in an aggregate approximately 17,000 new accounts to Star across several product categories and we're actively looking at additional opportunities as we speak. It's exciting to watch the expansion of our geographic footprint as well as the increasing array of products and services, we are now able to provide our customers.

For the year, our net attrition was 3.2%, well up from last year attrition for the prior five years average around 2.5%. We believe this past year, largely reflected customers' frustration with the extreme weather conditions, we suffered in early January. Although we dedicated to reducing net attrition -- reducing net attrition in the quarter.

As we start the winter season, I'd like to again thank our employees for their tremendous effort this past fiscal year. We faced numerous challenges related to extreme weather and we believe we are better prepared today of similar conditions were to arise. Even though we're a very large enterprise, we need to remain nimble and very customer service oriented, I believe the measures undertaken this fiscal year will