Automatic Data Processing Earnings Call INSIGHTS: Air France Turnaround Plan, Cost Inflation

On Friday, Automatic Data Processing (NASDAQ:ADP) reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Air France Turnaround Plan

Josep Pujal – Kepler: Second question was, on one of the last slides that you showed, you explained the new organization at CDG between the Air France hub and the East and West part, it’s a major bet, obviously, the half of Air France. I mean (indiscernible) in the kind of flexibility you have there with that plan, if Air France’s business plan is not doing that well, do you have another alternative? Can you downsize, offer more general space to other companies? Do you have a contract with Air France covering a number of years? My third questions is about the Medina and Abu Dhabi contract that have been awarded to TAV, $1.5 billion and $3 billion, if my memory serves me well. What’s the nature of the contract? Is that a public/private partnership, PPP? What construction company contributes to the funding? Or is it a contract where the construction company gets installments from the owner to carry on the work? So does it have an importance on the debt of TAV?

A Closer Look: Automatic Data Processing Earnings Cheat Sheet>>

Unidentified Company Speaker: Thank you very much for those questions. Indeed there is a link between the GDP and our activity. I did not speak about 2013 a bit soon. Obviously, the French President says that it will be too soon to speak about 2013. I heard him yesterday saying that the French Government will give an estimate of the GDP 2013 when the budget 2013 will be approved by the Assembly. So we have to do our homework. They do and we have to too. So if we want to make good on the guidance, yes, we need the expected traffic increase. I can’t play faster than a music and I have no idea what will happen in 2013, what will be the GDP, but there will be a link. But compared to other airports, we are still a very attractive airport and we still have a few more ideas for retail and real estate in our business model or in our business plan. We were very cautious in terms of traffic growth and of course we’re planning on 3.3% increase over five years, but our business plan – goals for curve that going up to a higher increases, there may be gap in 2013 compared to expectations is not sure, but we have some reserves there, but obviously there is a link. If there is a real economic slowdown, we won’t be the only ones to be impacted. Now on CDG, you’re asking the right question. We don’t have any contract with Air France on the allocation of such or such terminal. The allocation of the terminal is up to Paris airport, but we have bylaws that have been approved by the Board and in those bylaws, we try to satisfy the airlines but we don’t have to meet all their request and would never sign a contract. So second comment we are not at all considering the option where Air France wouldn’t be able to follow suit. We trust that the Air France turnaround plan will succeed and we know that we’ll use those new facilities up to their potential. So you are speaking about the worst case scenario, if Air France cannot fill the facilities and as we don’t have any contractual commitment, so we can select other companies with a higher growth rate. We have to select them to make sure that there is no open conflict with Air France. In terms of construction work and technical changes, we don’t have much to do. We can move the partitions, change the access and it’s just basically a change in the layout. Yes, we have some flexibility there. Now I’m going to give the floor to Laurent for Madeleine, Medina and Abu Dhabi. Abu Dhabi, it’s a great contract. That’s a bid that was won by tough contraction. Medina, it’s an operating – an airport operation contract. Nothing really to add to what you just said. As long as it’s construction contracted, it’s not a PPP. We have to have a number of guarantees, but it’s not a concession that requires funding, just a construction contract. But for Medina, there is concession definitely. TAV’s share is 33% and right now we are going to consolidate that proportionally. Our TAV is going to consolidate that proportionally and two years from now based on the IFRS standard changes. It’s a great airport. We were competing against TAV to get the Medina PPP. TAV won that bid, but indirectly we are still on that deal. It’s a great project, but it’s going to require some money.

Gregoire Thibault – Natixis: Gregoire Thibault from Natixis. I have got three questions. The first one, if you go back to what Mr. Pujal said, if you have a worst case scenario with Air France, you could allocate the slots to other airlines. Just to make it clear, it’s your own decision or you have to get an agreement from the regulation authority? Second question, we understand that the free cash flow is going to increase significantly starting in 2013, how will that translate into the dividend policy? Third question, Mr. Graff, your mandate is going to expire next fall. What’s happening in terms of succession plan or when we will get information on that?

Unidentified Company Speaker: First question. Let’s not mix everything. We are not allocating the slots.

Gregoire Thibault – Natixis: What’s a slot?

Unidentified Company Speaker: It’s a time, about 10 minutes used by a plane to land or takeoff. This slot allocation is not an issue for airports which have an excess capacity. If you want to go to Shawbury, if an airplane wants to land in Shawbury he is not asking for a slot. There is one plane landing every day. At Heathrow, Frankfurt, Paris, Los Angeles it is not the same. We have 400 airlines. There is a plane landing or taking off every 30 seconds. Of course, all those airlines competing with each other want to takeoff at the same time and land at the same time because they are peak times and they are peak times for commercial reasons. So someone has to regulate all this, otherwise it’s chaos. So these are regulated airports. There is Community Regulation that explains what is there you have to have. In independent authority, which is not the airport or the airlines, that delivers the permits to land or takeoff and delivers those permits to each airline. That independent authority in France is called (CO-OR) Coordination Committee. That independent authority has to comply with some very specific rules that are part of EU regulations and those (indiscernible) crews gave an advantage to newcomers, because there is the current use of the airport and the term capacity of the airport. So the available slots is split 50-50 between newcomers and legacy operators. As legacy operators have their slot, they keep their slot. So those slots are not allocated by the government at Paris airport to anyone. It’s allocated by this independent committee which is an association and that awards the slots according to very specific regulations. There is no deal that can be made because they are all watching each other and if they see that one company gets the better deal than other, it will be a real problem. So once an airline has been awarded a slot, they keep them as long as they can. It’s very important, it’s very a valuable asset and Air France should be in really, really bad shape to give up its slots and I’ve been in that business for a few years. I’ve never seen any airline giving up its slots or they can trade them, but they don’t give them up. So I think we are really in the worst case scenario terminal illness. So (technical difficult) location for the terminals, let’s say Air France changes the site of its plane has to expand its Schengen area and it’s up to us to do that with them. That’s part of our duties and the airlines may obtain new slots and then ask us to work with us. They’ll need more room, office space, boarding lounges, boarding gates, luggage sorting machines, it’s our job to do that, and what I’m saying is that the Eastern part of CDG is dedicated to Air France, KLM and their partner companies. The alliance, free cash flow, I said that, yes, the free cash flow, if everything goes well – that should increase next year, a bit too soon to say how we’re going to use it. What I’m saying and we said that before. If we increase a dividend, it’s an option and that may make sense, since we took over. We invested in the Turkish Company. So that makes sense if we can increase our stake there. But before we do that, we have to think about it. Right now, we are paying out 50%, that pretty standard among the largest companies in France, and we’re pretty well in line with other companies and I want to add that we always complied with that commitment, 50% payout even at the heart of the crisis in 2009 and that’s what I can say on that. Now my mandate have no specific information on who my successor would be. If I had some information, it wouldn’t be up to me to release that information, but it would be up to the controlling shareholder.

Stanislas Coquebert-De-Neuville – BNP Paribas: Stanislas Coquebert-De-Neuville, BNP Paribas. I have three questions. The first one is about the cost increase. Going back to the Slide 17, where you make a list of those costs and the increase of 7% of the airline cost. What kind of cost increase should we see during the second half of the year and in 2013 can you give us an idea what kind of cost increase are to be expected in H – second half? Second question on retail, obviously, the sales duty-free sales were double-digit growth and that’s comparable to what we have seen during Q1 despite the opening of A/C link? What’s going to be the impact of that junction on duty free sales on second half? Now, for real estate can you give us an idea of the impact of the opening or the delivery of the new projects during the next few years on the EBITDA what kind of lease income do you expect for the next two years? Thank you.

Pierre Graff – Chairman & CEO: I’m going to give the floor – so these are financial questions, I’m going to give the floor to Laurent. First, I’d like to say that Laurent Galzy told us that during the first half (technical different) expenses and the opening of S4. Those expenses are part of our system, but we had to make those expenses. We needed to make that to increase our quality of service. For instance, winter operations, we had to make that investments because the media, the politicians (told) us that the airport should be whatever happens. Of course we can do that, but you need much more equipment. So we had to make that expense on those investments and this is why you have those expenses now. So when we move up one notch, I think we’ve made, we’ve gone over all these hurdles. Now this is part of our operating structure and they are going to live their life. There might be more of those expenses in the future, but that’s not something we do all the time now (technical difficulty) to lawmakers there is a lots of finance there. Now for the first question, to give an example about what Pierre Graff just said. We are going to have the same phenomenon during the second half as we had for the first half. For (pretty well) everything except the nonrecurring items, we are in a situation, where the factors I mentioned led to increase the expenses. This will happen during the second half also, but that will be done for the future, and then we’ll a regular growth of the expenses. Now going back to the main examples, security costs, what happened during second half – first half, we’ll have it in second half increase in cleaning and transportation costs for the S4 operating cost, would that be then in second half, operating cost for winter operation, it’s seasonal but part of the winter impacts the end of the year and part of it impacts the beginning of the following one. So there will be there as well. The breakdown in the gas generator, no, we won’t have that. But the rest, yes, we’ll have that during the second half. There is the answer to your second question on one of slides. I believe that we have €5 million of contribution to the A/C link to the revenue during the first half, €5 million. So, great performance of that addition or opening of that link. If we want to go to more details, it’s a bit more complex about the A/C junction, but the performance of that new facility has to be viewed because there some companies have been impacted by the refocusing of Air France in terminal 2F and 2E, so some airlines have moved from 2C to another place, and some airlines are moving also their operations in different places. So the performance we’ll have for the whole fiscal year 2012 will take into consideration the impact of that new infrastructure and the results of the move of different companies, but what’s important is to look at the overall performance, and I think that now we are well equipped for all the international areas of CDG. 2C, 2E, 2F will move to Schengen and S3 and S4 now. So the risks linked to the reallocation of that space to the companies, the risks are under control. Now, about the rents, the rent income. We are not going to release any guidance on the outlook for real estate there are some plateau impact linked to the current environment and some projects might be started are not and I can’t really give you any guidance on the rental income in the future. There is someone want to speak in the back.

Cost Inflation

Unidentified Analyst – Raymond James: (Indiscernible), Raymond James. I have two questions. First, on the cost — and inflation, cost inflation did that lead you to launch a number of costs saving programs or project? Second question on the international development, we see what kind of criteria you use when you’ll make some international investments. I’d like to know if you had some financial constraints that may limit your international expansion. So how is that going to impact your development to be more specific in the same year, can you invest in TAV on airport in Brazil, because you showed some interest in airport in real?

Unidentified Company Speaker: Thanks for your question, because when I made my presentation I should have been more specific of course. So I’m starting with the second question. I mentioned investment criteria for international opportunities and then we look at each case. We want to have a return on investments that would be substantial, let’s say, two digit return on investment, depending on the target that’s been selected and we pay lot of attention to our bottom line and we want to keep a sound balance sheet and retain our rating. So all this is taken into consideration before we start moving onto something that seems to be interesting and matches our selection criteria. Then it depends on the magnitude of the deal. We won’t invest into TAVs in the same way – TAV in the same year. TAV and plus Brazil might be an option as long as the Brazilian opportunity remains modest, right now it is modest. We have not had access to the specifications of the Brazilian government to privatize Rio Airport, if they do it, right now no decision has been made. As far as we are concerned, it’s something that’s within range, and comparable with TAV, it’s a small deal and we’re asked the question, are you interested in Portugal. Everything is for sale in Portugal. No, we are not interested, because that’s too big for us. We just made the TAV deal and I’m not speaking about the Portugal as an opportunity. We have to digest TAV first. For the first question, costs. So cost-cutting plan, when you remove – well, expenses have increased by €50 million, when you removed the nonrecurring item, you remove €25 million. Real organic growth, in fact and we increased our standards. So they increased it 3.1%, the real expense increase. It’s not that bad. It is not as high as the revenue growth. So we don’t have to panic and start drastic cost-cutting plan as we did in 2009. The Financial Director, yes, you seem there, and he is obsessed with cost-cutting. Any cost saving we can do, we will do. We have a cost-cutting plan called (Perform-2015), that’s still on. We are working on cost-cutting together with our Schiphol colleagues. So all those plans are being deployed. There are some cost-cutting plans that were organized, that have not been deployed yet because we have other issues to handle, but I want to insist upon the fact that there is no emergency. The situation is pretty good and we have a sound balance sheet and there is no emergency plan to cut cost at the airport. We have hardly any advertising and communication expenses. We could do it, but we don’t want to spend too much money on that because right now we’re in a period based on uncertainly your life you want to add something.