Allison Transmission Holdings Earnings Call Nuggets: Recovery Outlook and Top Line Forecast

Allison Transmission Holdings Inc (NYSE:ALSN) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Recovery Outlook

Ross Gilardi – Bank of America Merrill Lynch: Could you just talk a little bit more about what you’re seeing with your order book for North American On-Highway and kind of based on what you’re seeing right now. How do you think this recovery is really shaping up compared to prior recoveries?

David S. Graziosi – EVP, CFO and Treasurer: Well, in terms of the prior recoveries, obviously, it’s been a lot slower coming, but our numbers between the sources that we use, we use ACT, FTR, we talked to end-users, we talked to the OEMs, if you were looking at published data we’re very, very close in fact, we’re within I think a 1,000 units on the end markets that we serve of ACT’s numbers. So, we’re basically laid right over the top them after checking all those sources. So that shows the second half recovery, particularly in the medium duty, fairly significant double-digits.

Ross Gilardi – Bank of America Merrill Lynch: Can you comment at all about the order activity?

Lawrence E. Dewey – Chairman, President and CEO: Certainly, the order activity, we have a step up. July is tracking to the numbers that we have in the forecast. We’re watching – we’ve seen some nice progression on the inventories, particularly in medium duty and the Class 8, and again you have to remember, we’re not in the line-haul, so the tractor market can sometimes distort that, but on the straight truck side, we’re watching that closely. While that’s improved a little bit, they’ve been heavy for gosh, a couple of years here, and so we’re watching that order stream fairly closely, but certainly on the medium duty, we’re getting clear signs of recovery and we’re watching the Class 8 straight truck pretty close.

Top Line Forecast

Timothy Thein – Citi: Yeah, Dave, maybe you could just go through relative to the initial guidance you laid out coming into the year to where we are now in terms of the total top line forecast. Can you kind of update us in terms of where, to the extent there have been small changes, but I’m just curious as you go through some of your key end markets, maybe whether those numbers have been then tweaked down? Just so, we can kind of think about how that looks as we progress into the back half of the year?

David S. Graziosi – EVP, CFO and Treasurer: Sure, obviously as we laid out the year, I think the biggest change, when you overlay the guidance versus the original, probably the most significant change is to the naphtha on highway market. Frankly, as Larry just went through in terms of the expectations on the recovery and the timing and the breadth of that, I think it’s safe to say certainly first quarter played out more or less as expected. Second quarter was in the range but frankly a little bit softer as we look at the second half. Everything that we are seeing in terms of OEM input, external forecast et cetera, as Larry went through line-up with exactly where our numbers are. So, I think, overall, it is safe to say certainly not as strong as anybody would have liked, but I think it’s still very healthy second half recovery as we see it playing out at this stage. Now, the balance of the book really was very close if you look at our defense almost on top of what we had talked about. Outside North America, overall, I would say is a little bit softer in terms of the first half. I think some of that is as we have seen some of the regional issues play out have had an impact on production scheduling that we mentioned in the press release and our prepared remarks. Beyond that, Off-Highway as you know majority of our volume in North America is tied to the fracking business and that as we said has really reached from a sequential standpoint, basically flat and you are seeing the changes from year-over-year basis very much at this point uneventful frankly. So, if you look at mining that certainly is soft and I think that we’ve assumed nothing extraordinary there frankly for the second half of the year as I think the global numbers that have come out even through earnings season over the last couple of weeks have pointed to a pretty soft patch there. So, I think, that’s more or less as we see it playing out. Transit Bus will be the final one and I think again that movement of orders around the year, but I think overall it is pretty consistent with our expectations as we came into the year and again some of that has the tendency to move around depending on properties, scheduled deliveries from the various OEMs that we work with.

Lawrence E. Dewey – Chairman, President and CEO: This is Larry. Just as a little bit of insight there. If you look at – and Dave talked about some of the dynamics there in the Off-Highway, particularly mining and energy, and as we’ve indicated North America Energy certainly not a great story with everything that’s going on. We have work to increase the non-NAFTA energy business and that’s playing out nicely, particularly in China and places around the world Eastern Europe and starting to see even some activity in Latin America. If you take a look at our Off-Highway mining sales year-to-date, on the mining side, it’s less than 2%, and on the energy side around 5%. So, when you start looking at the movement of some of those numbers to the downside, there is not a lot of impact, obviously, we look to the upside, particularly in the energy market, mining is probably a little further out…

Timothy Thein – Citi: Larry, on the energy piece outside North America. Is that, I guess, two part; one, I am guessing if you went back two years ago and kind of took a picture where you thought the energy business would be or three years ago, I’m guessing that you wouldn’t have had it laid out in terms of where we are North America versus non. But does that to the extent, you have seen that growth outside North America, does that require much of an investment in your – in the distribution channel to support that? Then secondly is, I mean, presumably a lot of the same customers you are selling to, but is that, that same kind of profit dynamic or does it look similar on the 9000 series transmission outside North America or is it a lower horsepower that you are selling?

Lawrence E. Dewey – Chairman, President and CEO: That’s the market positioning we’ve been able to achieve in the energy sector, where those margins are essentially comparable around the world, different models have different margins, but within a given model, we’re pretty consistent globally on that, because as you correctly point out, there’s a lot of people who operate in several different places, so we’ve got a pretty level playing field there. Then relative to the need to invest in distribution, actually we have done some of that groundwork going back a couple of years, particularly in China, a little bit in India, but mostly in China. India’s a little more mining work that we had done. Probably the area where we’re spending a little bit more time currently is in Latin America. We’ve got – established a distribution network there, and they’re clearly bringing them up to speed on some of the Off-Highway activity and products. It’s been a focus for say the last year or so, but we’re in China, working with the folks there probably two, three plus years ago.

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