Snap-on Earnings Call Insights: C&I Business and Third Quarter Outlook

Snap-on, Inc. (NYSE:SNA) recently reported its second quarter earnings and discussed the following topics in its earnings conference call.

C&I Business

David Leiker – Robert W. Baird: Couple of things here. As we look at C&I business can you give us any color on the sequential performance (indiscernible) year-over-year, but are you seeing things stabilize when you look at it relative to Q1 or are we still declining?

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: No. I think you are looking at similar – I think we would characterize it as not congruent, but similar to Q1. I think I said in Q1 that military is still down big time, but it is operating on a somewhat lower base and that’s the primary difference between 6%. I think it was down 6.3% year-over-year in the first quarter, it is down about 5.4% in this quarter. That’s the major player. You got some that goes ins and goes outs in terms of okay, from critical industries, one critical industry is up in the first quarter and the stars are maybe mining in the second quarter and things like that, you got those things up and down. Then in Asia Pacific, in our emerging markets you got, including Eastern Europe you got some ups and downs in markets, but pretty much the same stuff. We are seeing another constant though a positive constant is that the effects of Snap-on value creation I think are working pretty well, and I think sequentially the sales aren’t much different, but the profitability is higher. So, that’s looking pretty good, well as we look at it sequentially or year-over-year, you can see the effects of Snap-on value creation working through and you can see it actually very dramatically in Europe where the sales are down again high single-digits and the profits are up. So sort of a similar quarter for us.

David Leiker – Robert W. Baird: So, is that all true for the European Tool business as well if that is stabilizing here sequentially?

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: I’d say it’s not decelerating downwards like it had been for a while, sort of stabilizing. We’re not seeing worsening, but I think that’s a fair statement, yes…

David Leiker – Robert W. Baird: Then as we look at the Tool business and you had some great initiatives over the last several years that drive productivity and sell more products to the van channel, sounds like you’re starting to take into your international market. Can you talk where you are in the timeline of that and weather we could see a similar response in those international markets that we’ve seen in the U.S. markets in recent years.

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: It’s very early days in that regard. So, because the international markets are — the vans are even though we kind of say the vans — we talk about them as vans, the vans in England are slightly different than the vans in Australia, that are slightly different than the vans in U.S. So, we’re very early days in that. So, I think you just got to stay tuned in that regard. Our van business – we’re still building the marketing efforts. You can see written on the face of the Tools Group financials we’re still spending more on our marketing, for example I think we’ve got, what is it 42 Rock ‘n Roll vans now and that’s up and we’re going through like 51 by the end of the third quarter and we’ve got a new van called the Techno vans. This is – you remember that Rock ‘n Roll Cab Express was focused on tool storage compared to eight selling and tool storage where we have these new vans, four of them on the road now, which talk about diagnostics, particularly the big ticket diagnostic. You get on this thing it got flat screens all over the place, it allows the customer to kind of shop owner or the technician to work the thing on a big 16 by 9 screen, so it’s dramatic for them. It shows them all the features of the diagnostic, so it’s working pretty well for us. We have four of them, now we are going to I think 10 by the end of the third quarter.

Third Quarter Outlook

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: Great quarter Nick.

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: I think this is a – the OI margin was a high watermark. The EPS was a high watermark, but you’re kind of – when you’re moving upwards, you expect to have a high watermark every year.

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: Few questions, before I ask my questions, I guess the first one is just what’s (indiscernible) 15% was kind of the target margin, and I’m just wondering if it’s comfortable sort of (indiscernible) of your growth…

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: I know, but before I get overheated about the 15%, remember that I kind of said mid-teens, but for like a year. So I kind of think it’s more or less a year, and I’ll point to everybody like I do every second quarter call that our third quarter have some seasonal issues – no, I don’t want to say issues but seasonal headwinds in terms of the vacations in European and the van drivers got to take vacation sometime, and they usually do it in the third quarter. So, our third quarter is usually – I am not forecasting bad news, I am just saying it is more emphasize and more capricious than other quarters. And I think if you look over history, it is usually our weaker quarter. So, you kind of got to look at it is over full year basis.

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: First question just on the tools business, you talked about the strength in big ticket. That 7% organic growth is there some way we could sort of bifurcate that between ticket and transaction. What was the growth from the average ticket?

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: I don’t really want to get into it on that granularity. I will just tell you that big ticket was substantially – bigger than the 7%. It was quite strong. I don’t want to tie myself to that wheel of explaining that big ticket and small ticket every quarter because there is a lot of variation. But I will tell you that, and the reason why, I don’t know if you recall this but the reason why we focus on big ticket is we learn that it is a indicator of weakness of the economics in the marketplace because during the recession we saw some really weak numbers on big ticket. People demurred or decided not to purchase. In fact they were seeing this makes us feel pretty good about the marketplace.

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: Can you say what big ticket represents as a percentage of the segment?

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: I don’t know if I have that number actually. But I think you could say like between tool storage and big ticket diagnostics my ballpark sausage math would say like a quarter something like that. (Indiscernible) detail, but I’d say around that number.

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: Last quarter you talked about sort of the three month pattern within the quarter, I wondered if I could get you to just address that again this quarter, how the three month pattern played out? Did you see strength at the end of the quarter that is always due…?

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: We always see a little bit of strength at the end of the quarter. I don’t know — I’ve been in business, I don’t know decades and I see this everywhere and you always see that kind of thing at the end of the quarter. But I’d tell you, I wouldn’t say it didn’t happen like the first quarter, remember what I said in the first quarter I think that, I said the first quarter was dominated by the idea that things were very weak in the first couple of weeks of 2013, I think it had to do with uncertainty around sequestration and what will be the social security tax increase and the changes in the tax rates. And I think we found that our customers were afflicted by the bad – bad news for breakfast that we’re seeing every morning and then we saw a build through the quarter. I’m not sure people thought kind of believe me, but I think this played out in the second quarter. Our Tools Group growth was at 3.5% or so on or 3 and change in the first quarter, but we said it was stronger at the end, and that growth move –carried on into the second quarter. But I wouldn’t say in the second quarter it was to the same incentives as the first quarter. we didn’t have some terrible time and then move on towards the end of the quarter.

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: Sounds like it was more linear. I want…

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: I’ll remind you that despite the fact we got 7%, we always say that we’ve grown like 4% to 6% organically in the Tools Group as sort of the bottom of that…

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: Then, on the RCI achievements, can you just talk about how much RCI contributed to the quarter?

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: I can talk about it in terms of – a let me not talk about in terms of OI or something like that. But let’s say if you look at our margin improvement 120 basis points, right? You could say 110 of that is restructuring sure, but it was the stock plan that cost you 50 basis points, 60 basis points, Challenger is the weaker profitability than average it’s a 10 and 40 from – so you put those negatives together it’s about 100, between volume and RCI you got another 110 positive, so I think RCI is 80 basis points, 90 basis points of positiveness.

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: Is it fair to say most of that was in Europe?

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: A lot of it was in Europe, but I would say that we had good progress in a lot of different places. Our RS&I, which is only 25% Europe had good RCI and Tools Group made some RCI contributions too. If you peel their results you’ll find it. So, I think we saw it everywhere, but more in Europe into a varying degree there.

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: But just if you take the industrials business out of C&I and isolate that, so excluding Europe and excluding Asia and just talking about your critical industries, you obviously had negative comp – big negative comp in the military business, it sounds like mining was good. If you view those as a portfolio of businesses it sounds like they were up year-over-year, can you talk to the extent which they were up year-over-year and to the extent which they were…

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: I would just say they were up single digits year-over-year if you take out the U.S. military. We got good news in mining, the international business. We’re finding, we’re reaching out – the cool thing about that is we’re now seeming to be able to project ourselves better in that business even to the international businesses. So we felt okay about that. I just want to clarify one think, I’m sitting here and thinking your question about big ticket, where you asking the total corporation at Tools Group.

David MacGregor – Longbow Research: I was thinking about the Tools Group, but…

Nicholas T. Pinchuk – Chairman and CEO: Sorry, I gave you the total corporation, Tools Group is somewhere like 35% to 40%, something like that.

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