Original Source: FD (FAIR DISCLOSURE) WIRE
. Bob Lyons, GATX Corporation, VP IR . Ronald Zech, GATX Corporation, Chairman and CEO . Brian Kenney, GATX Corporation, SVP and CFO
GATX announces 4Q03 EPS diluted = $0.55, exceeding analyst expectations, on $27.6m net income. Full year net income = $76.9m and EPS diluted = $1.56. Cash flow = $400m. Q&A focus: Pricing; dividend; renewal rates.
A. Key Data From Call 1. 4Q03 EPS diluted = $0.55 2. 4Q03 net incomes = $27.6m. 3. Full year EPS diluted = $1.56. 4. Full year net income = $76.9m. 5. Cash flow = $400m.
S1. 1Q03 and 2003 Review (R.L.) 1. 1Q03 and Full Year 2003 Overview:
1. Net income = $27.6m, $0.55 EPS diluted 4Q03. 1. Vs. net loss $29.4m, $0.61 4Q02. 2. Full Year net income = $76.9m, $1.56 EPS diluted. 1. Vs. $300,000 2002. 2. Trends in 2003: 1. Rail: 1. Utilization currently 93%. 2. Rate pressure continues.
3. Pursuing new investment opportunities in rail. 1. Closed on 1200 car fleet acquisition in December. 4. New car market active. 1. 2003 investment = $250m.; double 2002 level. 2. Air:
1. Completed 41 transactions or placements. 2. Future order book light. 3. Broad recovery not yet at hand. 3. Technology:
1. New marketing programs and alliances. 2. Stronger IT spending in 2004.
S2. Balance Sheet & Cash Flow (R.L.) 1. Overview 1. Recourse leverage = 4.4 to 1. 2. Cash flow strong. 3. Operating cash flow = $400m. 4. Portfolio proceeds = $700m. 5. Use to strengthen balance sheet and invest. 6. Invested $875m 2003; down from 2002.
7. Rail investment largest. 8. Compression in credit spread.
9. Credit quality stronger than recent years. 10. Net chargeoffs and impairments = $67m, 0.9% total assets. 1. Vs. $94m, 1.3% total assets 2002. 11. Maintain reserve in excess of 6% reservable assets. 12. Non-performing loans down.
S3. Outlook (R.Z.) 1. Outlook: 1. All three businesses experiencing improving market conditions. 2. Equipment excesses working through system. 3. Recovery will continue to be gradual. 2. Portfolio dynamics: 1. Assets on term leases: 1. Only a percentage up for lease each year. 2. Some will still be renewed at lower rates. 2. New investment opportunities: 1. Increasing.
2. Operating leases not incremental book income initial years.
3. Anticipate improvement over time. 4. Earnings recovery improvement over time. 3. Reduced dividend: 1. Policy analyzed for past year. 2. Best long-term interest of company. 3. Past few years. 1. Period since September 11 has been difficult.
2. Difficult capital market, economic softness, supply and demand imbalance. 3. Remained extremely conservative. 4. Discretionary investment. 5. Liquidity management. 6. Aggressive cost reduction. 7. Issues mostly behind. 4. Focus Now: 1. Strengthen balance sheet to reduce cost of capital. 2. Were previously paying dividends in excess of operating earnings. 3. Wanted to make decision in more stable environment. 4. Old dividend level not appropriate. 5. Want to relate dividend to nearer-term earnings. 6. Will increase in future when justified. 5. Paid dividends since 1919. 6. Look forward to capitalizing on market.
7. Look forward to pursuing attractive investment opportunities.
QUESTION AND ANSWER SUMMARY
Q1. (Bob Napoli, Piper Jaffray) Since the end of last year, because the balance sheet has declined, your leverage has declined at a pretty healthy level and it's pretty low, I think, by historical standards for you. With cutting the dividend and with a reduction in the leverage ratio, that would give you a fair amount of dry powder, especially with your credit spread acting as well as they have. So my question to you is what are your growth plans and what kind of level of growth would you expect to get on and in this kind of an improving environment? Can you target generally some goals for balance sheet growth as opposed to the continued decline in the balance sheet and the earnings power that that suggests?
A. (Brian Kennedy) I think we have to take that by business. Obviously especially veteran technology have run off to some extent. They are entering 2004 with about $450m less in assets than they did in 2003. You are right, that has been reflected in lower leverage. We haven't essentially re-invested that capital. In 2004, especially with the economy picking up, with our spreads coming in dramatically we are really looking at trying to grow the rail and air business. That's actually evidenced by one of our recent acquisitions we announced, the Equistar for instance. We are going to look to aggressively grow rail and air, especially the rail portfolio. That is the focus going forward, it's more on the growth side. We will do that in terms of new car additions, with the committed purchase program at rail which has been very successful thus far. We are going to try and do it through fleet acquisitions, like the Equistar deal. We are going to try and do it through portfolio acquisitions across our businesses. Yes, it's a real focus. In terms of specific goals, that is hard to do because the veteran specialty portfolio will continue to run off. Technology - volume is picking up. It picked up in 3Q and 4Q last year and it's starting off well this year, but it's hard to tell right now what their volume will be. We think it will be much higher. Overall, the balance sheet, it's hard to tell how much that will grow in 2004. On a segment basis, we would say we want to aggressively grow rail and hopefully we can find some air investments that make sense as well.
A. (Ronald Zech) I might add that for the first time in 2004, the bonus plans for every employee in the company will have a significant component, focused on growth as opposed to a number of the other variables that are also important, but that is going to be a focus throughout the company.
Q2. (Bob Napoli, Piper Jaffray) Can you talk a little bit just about pricing and I know that the comparisons have been getting better in the rail sector on a quarter-over-quarter basis. Can you talk about the pricing? Are the new prices now equal with the prices of the leases that are running off? When do you expect to see pricing improvement in there? If you could also talk about pricing in air?
A. (Brian Kennedy) The pricing in rail has gotten better throughout 2003, but still on average in 2003, the renewal rates on our rail cars were less …