Accretive Health Earnings Call INSIGHTS: Netherlands Margins, Albert Heijn Performance

On Thursday, Accretive Health Inc (NYSE:AH) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Netherlands Margins

Fabienne Caron – Kepler Equity: I have got a question regarding where do you believe your margin will land for the Netherland and the U.S. because at the time of Q1 I think, Jeff, you were saying that U.S. should be around 4% and the Netherland around 6%. I was wondering regarding what happened in Holland if you have changed your view on the margin for this year?

Jeff Carr – CFO: Clearly, it was weaker than expected quarter in the Netherlands, but for the U.S. side, I continue to say we expect margins to be around 4% and for the Netherlands we anticipate including bol margins to be close to 6% for the full year. That’s both for the full year.

Fabienne Caron – Kepler Equity: Can I just come back (on that you said) bol to be loss making for the remaining quarters or is it only for this quarter?

Jeff Carr – CFO: Sorry, could you just repeat that?

Fabienne Caron – Kepler Equity: Bol was loss making in term of EBIT in Q2, I am just wondering we should expect continued loss in Q3 and Q4 for…?

Jeff Carr – CFO: Bol has started with strong sales. We’ve been investing in new categories, as Dick mentioned, and we’ll have more categories which we’ll be launch in the third and fourth – in third quarter. I’d expect bol will be slightly dilutive for the balance of the year, but the margin forecast that I gave you for the two main businesses will include bol.

Albert Heijn Performance

Patrick Roquas – Rabobank: I got three questions centering around performance of Albert Heijn. Firstly, I think the drivers behind your margin decline are clear though it was rumored in the Dutch press that Albert Heijn has indicated that the performance in the second half again and must be better, so therefore should regard Q2 as an incidence or could you think this will be repeated in the second half? Then the second question is on Jumbo, Jumbo (indiscernible) C1000 stores as of the second half. I think on several occasions you’ve indicated that you have hardly seen any impact from Super Boost stores that were converted. Rest who are competing more head-on with C1000s locally, will these C1000 stores conversion will be different for you this time? Then the third question is on customer loyalty, could you update us on the timing and the initiatives regarding customer loyalty?

Dick Boer – CEO: Patrick, thank you very much and I’ll take the questions from your side on the Albert Heijn first. Rumors in the press yet, I leave that to the press, but I think it’s clear that we weren’t that happy with the second quarter, so (indiscernible) and his team are certainly working in what I would tell more or less a recovery of some of the elements we have seen declined in the second quarter and margin is certainly one of them. I wouldn’t only say margin, I think in general what we wanted to do is, we of course to get the Albert Heijn performance on the level we would like to see and mentioned also by Jeff, total Netherlands including bol, it should come closer to 6%. We also know that for fourth quarter of Albert Heijn is always a strong quarter with some upside so we believe this second quarter is certainly will not be immediately seen back to levels close to the 6 as Jeff mentioned, but we are close to the 6 is for all of the Netherlands including bol, but I think we’ll see a gradual improvement in the coming quarters already. On the conversion of Jumbo’s C1000, we (indiscernible) C1000 to Jumbo, I don’t know at this moment, let me be honest we’ll see the first of conversions coming up in the coming weeks, we will see also the first conversion close to our stores on the other hand we all know that C1000 already had a very higher sales per square meter while Jumbo when we did the conversion from Super Boost that wasn’t the case. So, we expect that the – in terms of sales growth of the converted Jumbo stores C1000 stores will be limited and so in a way limited in effect to us. The third question was about customer loyalty. There’s a lot of work done, I would say, you have to look at from two sides, first of all, we are working closely with (indiscernible) as well here in the Netherlands versus the U.S., versus a service provider that’s using our data, which we have from our loyalty programs to see better our current promotions, our work in the stores even our assortment and that’s giving us great insights, with also great focus from our organization to even be more focused on to do the right things with the promotions, because that’s also one of the things you can learn out of that. Second part is more going to what we call my bonus in the Netherlands or tailored promotions in the U.S. We are – we delayed that program in the Netherlands, because we wanted to clarify better the way, of course we’re going to use data and make sure that customers agree that we’re going to use their data and that’s more tending to the end of the year of 2013 to get out with more personalized bonus buys in, let’s say, a very big way. So we’re testing a lot at this moment.