Saltzberg Miscellaneous Notes 3.31.2016

Source: United Technologies 2015 Annual Report

United Technologies (UTX) CEO Greg Hayes said the company benefits from the global trend of urbanization towards the cities

“We are well-positioned to benefit from three megatrends that are shaping the world— urbanization, an expanding middle class and extraordinary growth in commercial aviation. Every day 180,000 people move to urban areas. By 2050 cities will be home to 2.5 billion more people than today, generating a need for more apartment buildings, airports and mass-transit systems —all of which will be equipped with elevators and escalators, climate systems, and fire and security systems.”

Source: Aflac 2015 Annual Report

Aflac (AFL) CEO Dan Amos explains the power of the company’s brand

“Maintaining our powerful and respected brand is essential because it represents who we are – the spirit of our people in Japan and the United States who represent the face of our products and who build trust with businesses, policyholders, consumers, our field force and brokers. We’re pleased that the Aflac brand is also both well known and well respected. Having a trusted and compassionate brand has opened many doors for Aflac. Our brand represents who we are as a company and reflects how our constituents see us, so we’re very protective of maintaining our reputation.”

Source: ABB 2015 Annual Report

Swedish Industrical congolmerate ABB CEO Ulrich Speishoffer highlighted several trends in renewable energy affecting his industry

“There is a shift towards renewables, which is accelerating despite the low oil price – 2015 was a strong year for investment in renewables, with 121 gigawatts of capacity added. This results in unprecedented demands to manage the complexity of the “digital grid” of the future. In power generation, renewables are transforming the energy mix, putting pressure on traditional producers to rethink their business models while lessening environmental impact and dramatically increasing grid complexity. The future grid will be far more complex with multiple feed-in points from traditional power plants to large-scale renewables on the supply side, and a coexistence of traditional demand patterns and microgrids and nanogrids on the demand side. Managing this complexity will require intelligently automated, digital power grids that can anticipate demand and supply patterns, while routing and transporting power to the ever-increasing number of consumption points of electricity.”

Geographically, he expects India to be a driver of growth

“Our markets remain challenging, with slower growth in China and steady conditions in Europe and the United States. We expect India to invest in power infrastructure and industrial development, but see continuing weakness in other emerging markets.”

Source: Markel 2015 Annual Report

Markel (MKL) Co-CEO Tom Gaynor explains the company’s flexible culture and ability to adapt to the operating environment

“We are encouraged to look for a better way to do things…to challenge management. We have the ability to make decisions or alter a course quickly. The Markel approach is one of spontaneity and flexibility. This requires a respect for authority but a disdain of bureaucracy.”

Big data and analytics continue to be an area of increased emphasis to drive improved decision making in their insurance operations

“The tools and techniques of big data continue to increase in affordability and utility. Simply put, information is king. Every transaction and data point continues to become more robust and informative about what the ultimate risk and outcome will be. Technology and digitization change the tools used in the task, not the task itself.”

Source: Accenture 2015 Annual Report

Accenture (ACN) CEO Pierre Nanterme said they have long term relationships with their top clients so they focus on making the business relationship mutually beneficial

“We serve more than 80 percent of the Fortune Global 500 and 94 of the top 100. We also continue to build strong and enduring client relationships. All of our top 100 clients have been clients for at least five years, and 97 have been clients for at least 10 years. Quite simply, our client relationships are second to none, and our continued success underscores our ability to address our clients’ most complex and strategic issues.”

Source: Suncor 2015 Annual Report

Suncor (SU) CEO Steve Williams said 2915 will be the year that energy companies focused on reducing their costs in order to be able to survive the downturn in the oil sector

“Without question, 2015 was one of the most dramatic years in recent memory. It was a year of managing challenges and capturing opportunities. We were well positioned to take immediate action as oil prices fell to their lowest levels in over a decade. We responded swiftly to reduce capital and operating costs. We looked for efficiencies in every corner of our organization.”

Suncor (SU) CEO Steve Williams said the best companies are often strengthened through downturns in the industry

“The market downturn may continue to present opportunities – ones that we’re able to take advantage of because of the strong foundation we’ve built in recent years. Seeking these types of opportunities are strategic and another way we’re building shareholder value for the long term. In fact, I believe that strong companies are often built during downturns and our approach is to view this difficult period as an opportunity and a challenge.”

Source: Campbell 2015 Annual Report

Campbell (CPB) CEO Denise Morrison wants consumers to know exactly what goes into all of their products

“Our purpose has created the conditions for Campbell to become increasingly open about our food with the goal of setting the standard for transparency in the food industry. In fiscal 2015, we initiated an important project to increase consumer trust by providing greater access to information about our products, especially in our core U.S. soups, sauces and beverages.”

Intend to grow their online presence meaningfully

“Over the past several years, we have built stronger digital, social and mobile capabilities and have steadily increased our digital budget. In fiscal 2016, we plan to spend nearly 40 percent of our overall media budget on digital media. We also remain focused on growing our e-commerce capabilities, as this is becoming increasingly important to our consumers and our customers.”

Source: Torchmark 2015 Annual Report

Torchmark (TMK) CEO Gary Coleman said they have been repurchasing their own shares for nearly 30 consecutive years now

“We have been conducting our share repurchase program for thirty years now. During that time, the only year we didn’t repurchase stock was in 1995 due to the acquisition of American Income. Since 1986 we have spent $6.5 billion to repurchase 78% of the outstanding shares of the Company.”

Torchmark (TMK) CEO Gary Coleman said that as a result of “industry experts,” they expect oil to rebound to $45 per barrel

“Based on a consensus of industry expert views, we believe oil is more likely to increase to over $45 a barrel during the next 12 to 24 months than remain at the $30 a barrel level we saw in 2015. We believe the companies in our portfolio can continue to operate for a very long time with oil prices at $45 to $50 a barrel. However, even if oil was around $30 a barrel for the next 12 to 24 months, we wouldn’t expect to have significant defaults during that period.”

Source: ICICI Bank Annual Report

ICICI Bank(IBN) CEO Chanda Kochhar reiterated India’s strong demographics and strengthening growth trajectory

“As I had mentioned last year, the decisive mandate in the general elections was a very positive development for the economy. The immediate impact was felt in the form of a strong improvement in sentiment. India’s inherent strengths are well-known – the demographic dividend and the vast potential for investment. It is these strengths that propelled us on a high growth path for several years.”

The Indian government is fostering a more pro-investment environment

“Over the last year, the Government has taken a number of important steps. There has been a focus on improving governance; enhancing the ease of doing business; creating a conducive environment for investment by both international and domestic participants; and adopting a stable and prudent fiscal policy. At the same time, the Government has sought to bring about the engagement of more and more people in the economic mainstream. While the impact of these measures will be seen over the medium term, the steps taken are clearly in the right direction.”

ICICI Bank(IBN) CEO Chanda Kochhar said effectively utilizing technology allows them to reduce their cost of serving customers

“ICICI Bank has been at the forefront in leveraging technology including the current and emerging transformational trends of mobility, digitisation and rapid growth of social media, to bring value to our customers. We have leveraged our technology capabilities to facilitate faster and convenient processes, create best-in-class technology platforms and reduce transaction costs. Over 50% of all banking transactions are now done over mobile phone or on the internet.”

ABB 3Q13 Earnings Call Notes

This post is part of a series of posts called “Company Notes.” These posts contain quotes and exhibits from earnings calls, conference presentations, analyst days and SEC filings. The quotes are generally pieces of information that I find interesting or helpful to understanding the company, industry or economy and are not meant to provide summaries of the full content of the call. Other posts in this series can be found by clicking here. Full transcripts can be found at Seeking Alpha.

“It’s a pleasure for me to present the results for the first time as ABB’s CEO. It’s an exciting time to take on this challenge, and I’m looking forward to talking to all of you in the coming months and quarters about how we see the business developing, as well as hearing your views on the company.”=

“We are really encouraged to see orders up strongly in some key markets, for example, in China and in Germany, both at double digits, and steady order intake at high levels in the U.S.”

“Europe looks like it has reached the bottom, but a meaningful upturn is not yet reasonable at this point. Southern Europe is still weak despite a relatively easier comparison this last year. Asia looks more positive, led by China, but India will probably remain challenged until the next year’s election that are coming.”

“it’s a pretty broad pickup and we have to stick with that. We see some hesitancy in some of the process industries, doing more than the typical replacement in maintenance fees, which is not surprising given the large order and the overall demand on there”

“if you look longer term ahead, the subsea area is really an area where you have an opportunity or high opportunity to technologically differentiate yourself from others. To really come out with unique solutions, that technology really matters. There’s a big difference. So I believe putting money into this kind of market makes a lot of sense for us”

ABB 2Q13 Earnings Call Notes

This post is part of a series of posts called “Company Notes.” These posts contain quotes and exhibits from earnings calls, conference presentations, analyst days and SEC filings. The quotes are generally pieces of information that I find interesting or helpful to understanding the company, industry or economy and are not meant to provide summaries of the full content of the call. Other posts in this series can be found by clicking here. Full transcripts can be found at Seeking Alpha.

“We grew orders in a number of key sectors and geographies, including China. And we saw an encouraging trend with sequential order growth in almost all of our product businesses compared to the first quarter of the year.”

” each one of these regions is, you all know on the phone, has its own dynamics from an economic standpoint right now”

“when you look at our short cycle, the shorter cycle businesses we have, you’re really seeing some positive trends here over the last quarter that we haven’t seen in the last few. On the other hand, uncertainty around the timing of large orders is likely to persist as we saw here in the second quarter. We see that there are some large projects in the United States that are now likely to be pushed out to next year. Brazil has been weaker than expected, and that shouldn’t be a surprise given the economic difficulties that, that country has been seeing right now.”

” in Asia, we see positive signs out of China, while India remains a challenge. So in aggregate, I’d say things are moving sideways. But I wouldn’t expect demand to go down from here.”

“From a mining standpoint, it shouldn’t be — to me, it shouldn’t be a mystery that we see some pressure from mining. But mainly, we talk about if it’s really the excavation side of mining and we might call greenfield or bigger expansions in mining. When you look at order processing and things that have to do with productivity or just the efficiency that you want to drive in ore body inside of a mine, we still feel pretty good about our tender backlog in that area, things like drills, mill drives and mine hoist and those kind of things that appeal to that part of the mining industry. So again, the mining is down. But again, we see it and we, I think, understand it. ”

“What we see is the oil and gas that we expressed through marine, we haven’t seen as many offshore ships actually being contracted this year than we did last year. So that’s the change there. I don’t think that means that the CapEx is going down. You just move your CapEx into different areas because that’s the way the shipbuilding piece goes”

“Some of the upside we’ve seen has been in transportation, things like transformers that are used on electric trains. Medium voltage switchgear that’s used on the stationary part of electric trains was positive. If you go back then maybe 1.5 years ago, we’re talking about how those orders dried up because of the uncertainty around the transportation secretary, the leadership that was going on in China, whatever. We see that gradually improving. We also had some nuclear orders that are moving through also, from a power standpoint, that was a positive — from a year-to-year standpoint also on the power piece. So we think that China will continue to be in a growth phase for us. We’re not predicting double digits here in any short period of time, but this is relatively robust in the sense of the breadth of what we’re seeing in China right now for the first half from a growth standpoint. On the automation side, if you drill in low voltage, low voltage is up pretty well within China, too. Some of that has to do with the construction market in China particularly as we — as it moves west. And some of it has to do with the industrial side.”

“if you see a big increase in low-voltage drives and low voltage products in those areas, they tend to be our most sensitive short cycle businesses, that is a positive mix indicator”

“we’re not predicting any dire economic changes out there. We see orders, we see customers wanting to move at times. It’s just slower than what we’d like to see at this point. But overall, when you look at internally some of the leading indicators that we look at, as Eric mentioned, our short cycle index that we use as a key indicator here actually turned up this quarter for the first time in several quarters. And that’s a good sign for us.”

“But there’s bad signs out there also, in the sense of some CapEx spends and utility delays and those kind of things. So probably, we just see different signals and we’re cautious but there’s nothing in us that says that were we’re really pessimistic about the future or repeating something that we saw in the first quarter or the second quarter of ’09.”

“I think it’s kind of obvious right now that the mining companies, given the changes of the CEOs that are going on out there and then the real strong focus on productivity, that they’re looking to optimize the assets that they have rather than the expenses and that’s obviously feeding through into the kinds of CapEx that they’re following through within and that’s how we’re pursuing these pieces.”

“But there have been some segments in the marketplace such as coal mining and things where you would sell significant number of industrial motors that have been hit because of that industry being down, we are very much aware of that. But we see other areas like gas and different areas where it’s actually picked up.”

ABB 1Q13 Earnings Call Notes

This post is part of a series of posts called “Company Notes.” These posts contain quotes and exhibits from earnings calls, conference presentations, analyst days and SEC filings. The quotes are generally pieces of information that I find interesting or helpful to understanding the company, industry or economy and are not meant to provide summaries of the full content of the call. Other posts in this series can be found by clicking here. Full transcripts can be found at Seeking Alpha.

“I think all the mess in the United States, on the sequester and everything else, it just creates a level of anxiety and concern there, but I think it helps to mute a construction cycle that started to gain some momentum in the second half of last year that we were hoping for.”

“Let me start mark, on the mining side, just to stay there. I don’t claim to say that I can see the future in this sense, but we’ve been pleased with the level of CapEx that we’ve seen in these kinds of things like mine hoist and gearless mill drives. And remember, they’re around ore bodies. So you see them around — you’ll see it specifically around copper, around nickel, things that really — that have been precious, and even though the costs or the prices come down from a commodity standpoint, there still is historical reasonable highs from a return standpoint. So what the mining companies tell us that the ore bodies are not as rich in specific minerals. It’s what they’ve in the past, so they have to pound them harder to get them out, and that’s what a gearless mill drive does, just take a bunch of rocks and crack them up and take it down to the ore body and then you just drill it. Mine hoist just means you’re going lower or you’re bending your mine. So it just says that they’re working the mines harder. And I think we’ve seen the whole issue with the write-offs of what went on in the mining industry last year, the changing of a lot of the CEOs and leadership there, and I think the leadership teams that are put in place around the mine companies today. And I’m not talking, Mark, at all about coal. Okay, coal has its own set of cycle. I’m talking about ore, okay? I think that leadership that’s in place is really dedicated in to sweating assets more, not dong greenfield, being more responsible from an operational standpoint and so am I optimistic we can keep this going? I’m not telling you I am or not. I’m just reporting on our performance so far and the reason for it and some of the underlying drivers for it, and we’ve certainly hoped that it does.”

“Remember, these dollar-to-yen ratios are not historically. I mean, it’s — obviously, the yen has been much higher in that sense, but we, from an overall historical standpoint, we see kind of yen levels before, so I think it’s just taking some of the pressure of the Japanese exports, but I don’t think it’s a phase change at all.”