Navistar International Earnings Call Nuggets: Contribution Margin and Market Share

Navistar International Corp (NYSE:NAV) recently reported its third quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

Contribution Margin

David Leiker – Robert W. Baird & Co: I want to start with a question, Troy as you added with the cost actions both the structural and the variable cost going into ’14; if you get the market share recovery and the revenue from that. This is a different business model than what we’ve seen in the past with rising revenues, what do you think your contribution margin’s going to be on that revenue as you see that ramp up?

Troy Clarke – President and CEO: That’s exactly kind of how we look at it. We’re trying to establish a very positive trend rate with regards to contribution margin and then it kind of becomes a pretty straight forward just to make sure that all of our costs package underneath of that, so we’re not giving any guidance on this, but obviously a substantial improvement in our contribution margin in the range over 30%, but we’re not going to give you some specific guidance on that right yet, and we’re trending that way very quickly.

David Leiker – Robert W. Baird & Co: Then Walter, just one question for you. As you mentioned – focused on the balance sheet and with your background, I think you bring a definite perspective on the balance sheet side. Any thoughts you can share as it relates to a handful of things you got to convert that comes through next year about the pension liabilities and the healthcare liabilities? What your timing is going to be that you will be in a position to able to talk about those in more detail?

Walter G. Borst – EVP and CFO: We have obviously taken a look at those and (once things up) and focusing on inside, start here with the team. We are just completing our operating plan for next year. So as part of that we will take a look at the convert and what if any portion of that and when we might refinance that. We are obviously happy with our cash position exiting the quarter. So we are starting from a position of strength here, so that’s good. On the pension side I would continue to expect us to make minimum contributions but not more for the foreseeable future until we get a better line of sight on the health of our capital structure. But we are – we have started looking at it, and we will continue to look at it. We will address the capital and capital structure due course as our operating plans for next year when that’s completed.

David Leiker – Robert W. Baird & Co: What about the healthcare liabilities, what was that?

Walter G. Borst – EVP and CFO: We will continue to do what we have been doing there as well. We meet our obligations.

Market Share

Stephen Volkmann – Jefferies & Company: My question is on market share, maybe two parts, medium and heavy. On the heavy side I was encouraged there. I guess I am curious whether you think this can continue into the fourth quarter? Specifically, I’m wondering, are we doing anything like filling some dealer inventories or something like that or are these really more customer orders? What’s the pricing like on those orders as well? I will follow up on medium.

Jack Allen – President of North America Trucks & Parts: This is Jack. Our market share goals are to get us back to our historical levels on Class 8 in the 20% range. Clearly, what’s happened in the third quarter for us is encouraging. The orders are a blend of fewer orders and customer orders, most of them are for very near term fulfillment of those orders, very little dealer stock on the Class 8 side. It’s sold order driven. So, we’re encouraged by that, certainly not declaring victory in any front, but we’re encouraged by the quality of the new products. We’re encouraged by the repeat business. We now have a full product line out there that’s been a big plus for us and then we’re also encouraged by the MaxxForce 13 and what the customers are seeing on the SCR side of that, although it’s quite early. So, all indicators are continuing to be positive for us on that front.

Stephen Volkmann – Jefferies & Company: Any commentary on pricing in those orders?

Jack Allen – President of North America Trucks & Parts: I would just say pricing is competitive. I don’t view any craziness going out there on the pricing side from us or any of our competitors, but it’s a tough market right now.

Stephen Volkmann – Jefferies & Company: Then on the medium-duty side, do you have any indication from your customers that they’re ready to sort of step up as you open this order book for the new engine now and I guess, what I’m trying to figure out is, is this kind of the low point of the medium-duty? Should we expect the market share to be better in the fourth quarter?

Jack Allen – President of North America Trucks & Parts: Well, as Troy indicated, any time you’re going through a transition here, you have a number of customers that are kind of on the sidelines. So, they’re seeing, which way we’re going and they probably want to fully understand it when we make decisions and that’s really what we’ve experienced here in the last – over the last number of months or quarters. So, we are very encouraged by the reception we received last night from the announcement on the ISB from dealers and from our customers, and also, a number of significant customers who have approached us over the last number of months and quarters, really asking us to seriously consider doing this as part of our turnaround strategy. So, we’re not ready to talk about orders or name names, but we think that the impact here, maybe contrary to Class 8 where, the Class 8 market is very fragmented. There’s a lot of customers. In medium-duty, there’s a number of very large customers that move market share very quickly and we’re very encouraged by the reception from them. We think the impact of the ISB will be firm or medium. On the market share side though, I don’t think our retail market share – we’re not planning an improvement in our retail market share in the fourth quarter. We’re going to start deliveries of ISB build products in December, so that’s in our first quarter of 2014.

Troy Clarke – President and CEO: This is Troy. Just a couple of comments if I could, maybe just add some color on that. As Jack indicated, we’re not kind of counting on any major market share benefit from this in the fourth quarter at this point in time, but certainly we’re going to work hard and try to make that happen. I think we’ve allowed ourselves that opportunity and much different, I mean, I was around here obviously when we announced that we were going to do SCR and even the Cummins ISX into the ProStar, about a year ago, maybe actually earlier than a year ago, and at that point in time, anecdotally the response we got, that’s nice, we’ll wait and see, because obviously the challenge that we were taking on was a pretty stiff one. I think we have developed some credibility and in fact the customer response has been much different this time. It’s great. Glad you’re doing that. As Jack indicated, we have hoping for that to come along. So, just anecdotally the customer response seems warmer and I think part of that is the credibility that we may have developed with regards to managing this type of program on the ISX and the 13-liter SCR. And then last but not least I think we have a great – we have got a great chassis and a great truck and a great distribution system that I think this engine will really play to our strengths and additional product offering.

Jack Allen – President of North America Trucks & Parts: Maybe just one last point here, Steve. We won’t wait until our next quarterly call to give the market an update on how reception has been for the ISB engine.