Parker Hannifin Earnings Call Insights: Recession Outlook, North American Orders

On Friday, Parker Hannifin Corporation (NYSE:PH) reported its first quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call. Take a look.

Recession Outlook

Joel Tiss – BMO Capital Markets: Just two quick questions, one is a clarification I guess. Can you be more specific on the accretion or dilution from the sale of the CIC business the auto part?

Pamela J. Huggins – VP and Treasurer: Yes, I can. It’s about $0.04.

Joel Tiss – BMO Capital Markets: Then I just wanted to ask Don, I mean he is probably the guy with the most experience on the call unless Alex Blanton is on. I just wondered you’ve been through three or four recessions or whatever, and you’ve seen how they developed and all that. I just wondered like what do you see for the next year. What are your customers saying? Are we going into another recession or we’re just slowing down or correcting inventories or can you just take your whatever years of wisdom and help us out a little bit?

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Donald E. Washkewicz – Chairman, CEO and President: Basically, if you think back to the end of last fiscal and when we started talking about this fiscal, which takes us half way into 2013. What we are hearing on the street at the time and from our customers and all that, keep in mind that for instance Latin America was pretty flat and had been flat for quite some time. We started hearing well. We’re going to start seeing a little bit of a pickup there, because we’ve been down on a month-to-month, quarter-to-quarter basis we’re going to start seeing some pickup. We didn’t see any of that. Next thing we heard was that Europe is in the tank and which we knew last year they were of course the whole Greece thing just continues on, I don’t know if it will be resolved, but it was all that malaise about what’s happening in Europe and how are they going to get their financial things in order, and we heard that there was probably going to be some improvement there, we haven’t seen any improvement. Actually we’ve seen, actually it’s gone up as a direction. Then lastly, as you recall we talked about Asia, and we said the stimulus is coming in China, the rail project is going back on, construction is going to probably pick-up a little bit, and in fact if you look at our China activity it really hasn’t materialized in a matter of fact the GDP over there is more or like in the low 7s now as opposed to what they were looking at before, so as I look forward do I see a cliff coming? I don’t see a cliff, it just seems like just like a flat lining if you will waiting for something that happened, it’s not like what happened a couple of years back in ’09 when we had the housing crisis and all the sub-prime crisis and so forth going on, I don’t see that happening, but I just don’t see any more right now as we were hoping to see some positive movement in any of these markets overseas and that’s any of these regions around the world. So, what we decided to do here is just say hey, let’s not assume anything at this point, let’s just assume this current situation continues as it is. We don’t’ see anything where it’s going to – like be a cliff going forward, but at least for the rest of our fiscal year, I haven’t heard anything that would change my opinion that we’re going to change the current picture all that dramatically. Something might happen after elections, who knows, it’s anyone’s guess, as to what might happen after November, but we’re just assuming that it’s kind of flat line from here to rest of way out and that’s kind of the way we’re playing it here. We’ve taken a number of actions internally to adjust to that reality and we’re doing all the prudent things that we’ve done in the past with respect to our workforce adjustments and CapEx rebalancing and things like that and we’ll continue to look at that. So, we’ll get another look at the end of the calendar year, probably have a better vision of the third quarter and fourth quarter than in — I would say, based on what we’re seeing right now, at this point I don’t think there will be much change unless something dramatically happens in one of these regions.

North American Orders

Stephen Volkmann – Jefferies: I was wondering if you could just give us a little more color I guess on the North American orders that was the one that was kind of surprising for me and Don you sometimes have your sort of (3/12, 12/12) commentary that you do by end market. I am wondering if maybe that might help us understand that?

Donald E. Washkewicz – Chairman, CEO and President: Let’s talk a little bit first about just a couple other indicators, one thing, when you look and I like to look at the PMI indices because that’s kind of telling as to what’s happened there. First of all, all of the PMI’s pretty much globally have been going up interesting enough. In spite of what we’ve been just talking about here, but only North America is greater than 50%. So that’s kind of telling us, everything seems to be moving a little bit in the right direction, but nothing other than North America is really in a positive territory with respect to the PMI. When we look at the specific market segments and what’s happening there as far as order trends, which ones are doing better and not as good. Pretty much all of the aerospace markets both military OEM and aftermarket segments are all looking good on a quarter-to-quarter comparison, that’s what I am going to kind of give you here is the kind of the overall trend. Some of the other ones that are looking good power gen process markets, farm and ag has been positive and I think that will continue, oil and gas has been positive and commercial refrigeration those would be if we look at our trends. Those would be the positive ones, the ones that are kind of flattening out for the most part, but not necessarily terrible, but it’s just that they are not growing at the same rate they had been in the past would be cars and light trucks distribution, semiconductor, life science and heavy-duty truck. I mean this is not to say those are doing real bad, it’s just that the trends are actually flattening out on those. Then regionally if we look at the regions as well as far as the trends both the (312) cyclical and the (1212) cyclicals, right now North America the 312 is a little bit below 100% which would mean that the North American markets are coming in for a soft landing, kind of flattening out which we kind of have been seeing here. So the 1212 still north of 100, but heading toward 100% on a year-to-year basis. Europe is running around mid-90s on a 312 which is basically pulling the 1212 down into the mid-90s so that would be the worst region for us, worldwide that’s real weak. Asia, we have basically a 312 and 1212, that’s just slightly 100%, so pretty flat. Asia pretty flat at this level, this is flat to slightly negative. Latin America the 1212 is running just under 100% so again it’s still weakest. Well, so really with the exception of North America, the rest of these regions are weak, Europe being the weakest for us. I could go on the specific end market, but I just wanted to give you that basic color there. One other thing that just to give you maybe another bit of information, our backlog – this would be our total backlog for the Company. In the first quarter decreased 2.5% year-on-year and that’s for the total Company that includes aerospace. If you look just at the industrial part of the business, the backlog decreased by 8%, so that will kind of give an indication. Again that activity or those numbers Pam already covered as to where that was coming from. So, hopefully that helps you a little bit.

Stephen Volkmann – Jefferies: Maybe just quickly, just your thoughts on share repurchase given the liquidity you have on the balance sheet and the cash flow that you seem to be doing this year.

Donald E. Washkewicz – Chairman, CEO and President: Well, share buyback, currently just to remind everybody. We increased our 10b about a year ago, 10b5-1 from about $50 million a year to $200 million, so we’re on a $200 million a year, about $50 million a quarter pace right now, so that will continue. We bought in the first quarter I believe somewhere around 57 million shares back in the first quarter. That would give you about 107 million in the first quarter total for the Company. Look, what I have been doing – not just I, but what we have been doing is really focusing primarily right now, trying to keep enough dry powder to go after some of these acquisitions that are in the pipeline, and you can see that we picked up five. We’ve got a couple of more coming through in this quarter. So, we’ve been just kind of paying a close attention as to – are these going to make it at the finish line or not, if they are we’d like to maintain — have some capacity to do some of these acquisitions, not all of them we realized are going to make it to the finish line. Then after that if in fact they don’t we’ll buyback more shares, but I don’t want to predict at this point just what we’re going to do, I’d say the preference right now because we’ve been working on some of these acquisitions is to try to get some of these closed in the balance of this fiscal year. The other thing that we’re going to do, of course we’re going to continue to do would be the dividend payout, we want to continue that, we have an increased record that goes from 56 years now and we’re pretty happy about the yield where it’s at, we’re approximately at the median of our peer group around 2% yield. We might need to tweak that a little bit, of course if the stock drops further, we don’t have to worry it’ll be higher than 2% yield, but we hope that doesn’t happen. In other growth areas like supporting capital expenditures we’re still looking at around 2.5%, I think Pam mentioned 2.5% and we’re still looking at that as far as capital allocation, so hopefully that answers that I can’t give you a hard number of share repurchase of course. We’ll look at share repurchase in light of the acquisitions that we’re looking at and if we have capacity there and the shares are suppressed, we’ll definitely do more share repurchase.

Stephen Volkmann – Jefferies: That’s great. I don’t want to put words in your mouth, but it sounds like what you’re saying is the acquisition pipeline is fuller than it’s been for a while is that accurate or it might mean too much.

Jon P. Marten – EVP, Finance & Administration and CFO: I think that’s very accurate, it seems like it took a longer time to fill it this time around because we’ve been talking about it for a long time that we’re looking at a lot of things, it seems like the pipes moving a little – the fluid is moving a little slower through the pipe, but they’re starting to coming out the other end, so that’s good and it’s encouraging because we’ve picked up some very nice acquisitions off late.

A Closer Look: Parker Hannifin Earnings Cheat Sheet>>