Cushman & Wakefield plc (NYSE:CWK) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 27, 2019 • 05:00 pm ET


Cushman & Wakefield plc (NYSE:CWK) Q4 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Welcome to Cushman & Wakefield's Fourth Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call. All lines have been placed on mute to prevent any background noise. After the speakers' remarks, there will be a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions)

It is now my pleasure to introduce Bill Knightly, EVP of Investor Relations and Treasurer for Cushman & Wakefield. Mr. Knightly, you may begin your conference.

Bill Knightly

Thank you, and welcome again to Cushman & Wakefield's fourth quarter 2018 earnings conference call. Earlier today, we issued a press release announcing our financial results. This release can be found on our Investor Relations website along with today's presentation pages that you can use to follow along. Materials can be found at

Please turn to the page labeled forward-looking statements. Today's presentation contains forward-looking statements based on our current forecasts and estimates of future events. These statements should be considered estimates only and actual results may differ materially. During today's call, we may refer to non-GAAP financial measures, as outlined by SEC guidelines. Reconciliations of GAAP to non-GAAP are found within the financial tables of our earnings release and appendix of today's presentation.

I would like to remind you that the Company uses Fee revenue, Adjusted EBITDA, adjusted earnings per share and local currency to improve comparability of current results and to assist our investors in analyzing the underlying performance of our business. You will find definitions of these non-GAAP financial measures and other more detailed financial information in the tables of today's earnings release and the Form 10-K.

For those of you following along with our presentation, we will begin on Page 5 and with that, I'd like to turn the call over to Executive Chairman and CEO, Brett White.

Brett White

Thank you, Bill, and thank you all for joining us today. I'd like to begin this call by reminding everyone of our growth priorities and areas of focus, as we continue to build one of the leading global commercial real estate services company. These include, our focus on revenue and share growth through the delivery of differentiated and best-in-class service to our clients; strategic recruiting and infill M&A to continue to expand our strong global platform; continuing to leverage our strength in our large and growing recurring revenue businesses and continuing to grow margin through operational discipline. When we review our performance against these measures, 2018 was an outstanding year.

For the full year 2018, we saw strong growth at the top and bottom line, growing fee revenue by 12% and adjusted EBITDA by 26%, setting all time highs in both. These results were led by notable performance in our Capital markets and Leasing service lines. Adjusted EBITDA at $659 million was above the high end of our guidance range. In the fourth quarter, we grew fee revenue by 10% over a very strong 2017 fourth quarter. Duncan will speak to the result in the fourth quarter in more detail later.

We also made significant progress on our stated goal to expand margin. Our full-year adjusted EBITDA