JS Notes: PPG, BLK, UNH, AXP

posted in: Notes | 0

We’re excited to announce that Jeremy S., an investment analyst here in Southern California, has started to contribute to Avondale’s company notes database. Below are quotes from some of the calls that Jeremy has read this week.

PPG CEO Chuck Bunch believes the European region’s economic numbers have bottomed due to monetary policy and increased consumer confidence 

“I would say that remember we should still see earnings growth improvement in Europe primarily related to our industrial coating segment. So we have not yet seen strong improvement on the construction side of or the performance coating side of the business. But we think there will be some modest growth there and we’re obviously working on these restructuring actions that should help us late in the year.” ($PPG)

PPG CEO Chuck Bunch said the company took advantage of low rates in Europe to issue bonds at attractive rates

“this quarter, we issued about $1.3 billion in long-term euro-denominated debt at an average interest rate of 1.1%.” ($PPG)

While the company experienced strong auto paint coatings demand for automobiles in China

“I think our strongest of markets in China were automotive OEM which is a domestic market in China, those sales have continued to grow slightly above the what their overall GDP growth has been stated as so high single digits for automotive growth. ” ($PPG)

 

 

Blackrock CEO Larry Fink on the increasing role big data is going to play in investing over the coming years

“I do believe you are going to see shifts … towards smart beta factor-based investing. And I am not suggesting fundamental is going away, it’s not.  I believe we are positioned at BlackRock to benefit from that re-looking at the scientific or model-based equity. We intend to be announcing some very substantial hires in this area. I talked about data management. We believe other sources of information like big data is going to be an important component to how one looks at investing and so we are investing in these areas.” ($BLK)

 

UnitedHealthcare CFO Dan Schumacher says the medical insurance business is going through a transition from medical care providers being reimbursed based on quantity of patients treated to results oriented & outcome based payments

“I think we’ve done well as an organization through our focused medical cost management initiatives and also I think we’re seeing benefits from greater consumer responsibility as well as, as we continue to drive greater concentrations as Dave mentioned in value based reimbursements.” ($UNH)

 

American Express CFO Jeff Campbell said the company saw significantly slower consumer spending during the quarter

“Our U.S. consumer and small segment growth also decelerated slightly to 7% in Q1. This performance was impacted by the more than 30% decline in gas prices year-over-year as well as slower retail sales growth, consistent with industry wide trends in the U.S.” ($AXP)

While Campbell added the company is seeing significant growth in Asia 

“We saw improved growth in the JAPA region which was again the fastest growing region in the quarter, up 16% on an FX adjusted basis. This solid performance continued to be powered by strong growth in China and Japan.” ($AXP)

In order to stay competitive with rival firms offerings, American Express costs are rising at a faster clip than their revenue

“Cost of card member services increased significantly year-over-year by 18%.  For the remainder of 2015, given the Q1 of last year also included elevated costs in cost of card member services, we would expect to see an even higher level of growth for this line item.” ($AXP)

American Express expects a weaker Q1 GDP number than most economists after analyzing their customers spending 

“When we look at our own experience and some of the external data around retail sales and we look at what’s happening to gas prices, when we look at some of the immediately somewhat anecdotal stories we hear in our corporate card business, it suggests to us that it was certainly not the most robust of quarters for economic growth.” ($AXP)