Compass Minerals International Inc. (NYSE:CMP) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Feb 12, 2019 • 10:00 am ET
Good day, everyone and welcome to today's Compass Minerals Fourth Quarter Earnings Conference. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time for opening remarks, I'd like to turn things over to Theresa Womble. Please go ahead, ma'am.
Thank you and good morning. Today, our Interim CEO Dick Grant; and our CFO, Jamie Standen will review Compass Minerals Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2018 Results. We will also be discussing our outlook for 2019. 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. These statements are based on the company's expectations as of today's date, February 12, 2019 and they involve risks and uncertainties that could cause the company's actual results to differ materially. Please refer to the company's most recent Form 10-K and 10-Q for full disclosure of these risks. The company undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements made today to reflect future events or developments. Our remarks also include non-GAAP financial disclosures, which we feel are important to provide a full understanding of our businesses and operating conditions. You can find reconciliations of any of these measures in our earnings release or in our earnings presentation, both of which are available at the Investor Relations section of our website at compassminerals.com.
Now I'll turn the call over to Dick.
Good morning. I'm very pleased to have my first opportunity since becoming Interim CEO to share with you the progress I believe we are making in improving the performance of Compass Minerals. My comments today will focus more on our full year results and our strategic development. Beginning on Slide 3 of our earnings presentation, while Jamie will provide greater detail on our quarterly results and the various inputs throughout 2019 financial outlook.
As you've seen in our earnings release, we reported healthy full-year revenue growth of 9% as a result of increased sales in each of our businesses compared to 2017. While consolidated earnings did decline from 2017 levels, largely due to salt production cost increases, and currency translation. There are many areas of improvement that I would like to highlight today. Additionally, even with the challenges we faced in 2018, we delivered almost $191 million in cash flow from operations, which was a 30% increase from 2017. First, our Plant Nutrition business performed well in 2018. In North America, our SOP business ended the year very strongly, as our customers began building their inventories for the spring planting season. In total, the segment delivered full-year revenue growth of 11% and EBITDA growth of 14%. This performance was underpinned by better operating outcomes at our Ogden, Utah facility where we had a record year for our low-cost fund based SOP production. The investments we've made over the last few years in enhancing our plants and upgrading our processes are now starting to deliver the outcomes we planned. We also achieved near maximum production at our Canadian