Vector Group Ltd. (NYSE:VGR) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 28, 2020 • 09:00 am ET

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Vector Group Ltd. (NYSE:VGR) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Welcome to Vector Group Limited Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019 Earnings Conference Call. During this call, the terms adjusted operating income, adjusted net income, adjusted EBITDA and tobacco adjusted operating income will be used. These terms are non-GAAP financial measures and should be considered in addition to but not as a substitute for other measures of financial performance prepared in accordance with GAAP.

Reconciliations to adjusted operating income, adjusted net income, adjusted EBITDA and tobacco adjusted operating income are contained in the Company's earnings release, which can be -- which has been posted to the Investor Relations section of the Company's website located at www.vectorgroupltd.com.

Before the call begins, I would like to read the Safe Harbor statement. The statements made during the conference call that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in or implied by forward-looking statements. These risks are described in more detail in the Company's Securities and Exchange Commission filings.

I would now like to turn the call over to President and Chief Executive Officer of Vector Group, Howard Lorber.

Executive
Howard M. Lorber

Thank you. Good morning, and thank you for joining us on Vector Group's fourth quarter and full year 2019 earnings conference call. With me today are Ron Bernstein, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Liggett Vector Brands; Nick Anson, who will succeed Ron at Liggett Vector Brands on April 1, 2020; and Bryant Kirkland, Vector Group's Chief Financial Officer.

Before reviewing our quarter and full-year results, I want to take a moment to acknowledge Ron's upcoming retirement and thank him for his contributions to Vector and Liggett of a nearly 30 years of service. Ron joined Liggett in 1991. As Chief Financial Officer, he was instrumental in guiding the Company through a challenging industry environment in the early '90s. In 1995, Ron was asked to takeover Vector's Russian subsidiary Liggett-Ducat, while there he turned around a money-losing operation and build it into the largest cigarette manufacturer in Russia. Subsequently, he coordinated $400 million sale of the business.

Upon returning to the U.S. in 2000, Ron was named President and CEO of Liggett. Under his leadership, Liggett has been extraordinarily successful. Liggett's EBITDA has grown from $77 million in 2000 to more than $270 million in 2019. It's market share has increased from 1.5% to over 4% during the same period, and its volume today is higher than it was when he became Liggett's CEO.

I'm very pleased that, even in retirement, Ron will remain on the Board of Vector Group, will serve as non-Executive Chairman of Liggett and will serve as a Senior Advisor to both companies. On behalf of the Vector Group Board and the entire Company, we all thank Ron for his -- what he has done over the years to make our Company a success.

I am also pleased to introduce Nick Anson as the incoming President and Chief Operating Officer of Liggett