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Edited Transcript of BEEF3.SA earnings conference call or presentation 13-Nov-19 3:00pm GMT

Q3 2019 Minerva SA Earnings Call

BARRETOS SAO PAULO Dec 5, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of Minerva SA earnings conference call or presentation Wednesday, November 13, 2019 at 3:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Edison Ticle de Andrade Melo e Souza Filho

Minerva S.A. - CFO

* Fernando Galletti de Queiroz

Minerva S.A. - CEO

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and thank you for waiting. At this time, we would like to welcome everybody to Minerva's Third Quarter of 2019 Results Conference Call. Today, with us, we have Fernando Queiroz, Chief Executive Officer; and Edison Ticle, CFO and Investor Relations Officer.

We wish to inform you that this event is being recorded. (Operator Instructions) The audio and the slide show of this presentation are available through the live webcast at www.minervafoods.com/ir and in the MVIQ platform. The slide show can also be downloaded from the webcast platform in the Investor Relations section on this website.

Before proceeding, we wish to mention that forward-looking statements may be made during this conference -- this presentation relating to Minerva's business prospects, operating and financial estimates and goals. They are based on the beliefs and assumptions of the company management and on information currently available. They involve risks, uncertainties and assumptions because they relate to the future events and, therefore, depend on circumstances that may or may not occur in the future. Investors should understand that general economic conditions, industry conditions and other operating factors could also affect the future results of Minerva and could cause results to differ materially from those expressed in such forward-looking statements.

I will now turn the conference call over to Mr. Fernando Queiroz, CEO, who will begin the presentation. Mr. Queiroz, you may proceed with your presentation.

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Fernando Galletti de Queiroz, Minerva S.A. - CEO [2]

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Good morning, everyone, and thank you for participating in Minerva's conference call on the results for the third quarter of 2019. Let's begin the presentation with the main results highlights.

Let's have a look first on Slide 2. First, we'd like to highlight operating cash flow, which reached BRL 955.2 million in the third Q of '19 and BRL 1.9 billion in the last 12 months. Other cash indicator. Free cash flow was positive for the seventh consecutive quarter, totaling BRL 510 million in the third Q '19 and BRL 1.1 billion in the last 12 months, a new record for Minerva, thanks to our operational, commercial and financial excellence.

Consolidated gross revenues totaled BRL 4.8 billion in the third Q '19 and an all-time high of BRL 18.0 billion in the last 12 months. Our revenue breakdown shows that 49% of the gross revenue equivalent to BRL 2.3 billion came from the Brazilian division; Athena Foods, which comprises our operations outside Brazil, accounted for 39% or BRL 1.9 billion of consolidated revenues; while the Trading Division was responsible for remaining 12%, with approximately BRL 576 million.

In the third Q of '19, exports once again stood out, accounting for 68% of gross revenues, 16% higher than third Q of '18. Consolidated net revenues reached BRL 4.5 billion in third Q '19, 4% more than in third Q '18 and approximately BRL 17 billion in the last 12 months ended September.

EBITDA reached BRL 455 million in third Q '19, a strong increase of 25% comparing to the previous quarter. And the EBITDA margin stood at 10.1%, 100 bps more than in the previous quarter. EBITDA came to BRL 1.6 billion in the last 12 months, with an EBITDA margin of 9.5%. The net result adjusted for noncash effect and before taxes totaled approximately BRL 93 million at the end of the quarter. Reinforcing our commitment to pursuing a more efficient capital structure, Minerva third quarter leverage measured by the net debt/LTM EBITDA ratio ended at 3.8x, in line with second Q '19 despite of almost a 10% increase in the dollar compared to the previous quarter.

Finally, it's important to mention, once again, the opportunity the African swine fever has created for South American exporters in recent months. Just a quick update. According to the FAO, this ASF outbreak has reached over 580 regions, most of which in China and neighboring countries such as Vietnam, Laos, Indonesia, Cambodia, with new cases also being reported in South Korea and including Eastern Europe in the last few months.

Containing the outbreak represents an enormous sanitary challenge since the disease is spread easily, is highly lethal to the herds and does not have control mechanisms, such as preventive vaccines. As a result, some experts believe that the China pig herd will shrink by 50%, a decrease around 25 million tons on pork meat, only considering China figures, which will have a major impact on the global animal protein chain. It's worth noting that China has approximately 50% of the global pig herd.

The effect of the consumption has become increasingly evident with record import volumes of animal protein in China, especially beef. In the first 9 months 2019, China imported 1.1 million tons of beef, 53% more than in the first 9 months of 2018. It's worth noting that the performance of Argentina and Brazil, the 2 main exporters of beef to China in 2019, with a combined market share of almost 50%. But this impact is also be noticeable in other countries due to the huge demand coming from the Chinese market.

As a result of strong demand, in early September, 2 Minerva slaughter plants were authorized to export to China, increasing the Brazilian Industry Division's exposure to China by more than 5x, totaling 4,300 heads per day, which should have a positive impact on our operation in the fourth Q of '19. Considering the Brazilian Industry Division and Athena Foods, our current exposure to the Chinese market compromise (sic) [comprise] 7 plants and almost 10,000 heads per day, around 45% of our total operating capacity.

Third Q '19 brought more good news to the Brazilian Industry Division. The country was authorized to export beef to Indonesia, the world's main consumer markets for halal cuts. 10 Brazilian plants were authorized for this market, 5 of which belongs to Minerva, with a total capacity of 6,400 heads per day. In order to further benefit from a strong demand for beef in the Chinese market, on October 1, we are announcing an MOU -- for a creation of a JV with a local partner to develop new business opportunity in China.

Let's move to the next slide, where we will discuss the strategic partnership in more details. The partnership with the Chinese player will enable Minerva and Athena Foods to strengthen their presence in China and in Asia, expanding our distribution capillarity and contributing to new business opportunities through customized products with higher value added.

Currently, a larger share of Minerva and Athena's exports to the Chinese market refers to the B2B operation, which means that we will work with distributors who are responsible for accessing the final customer. The partnership is designed to allow us to directly access final customers and thus, make progress in the beef value chain. Direct access to the final consumer will allow us to better understand the Chinese market, expanding the business opportunities and strengthening our presence in the region.

Finally, I would like to highlight that Minerva holds control of the partnership, with a 51% interest. And this venture does not require meaningful investments, apart from a limited amount of working capital.

Let's now have a look on Slide 4, where we'll take a brief about Minerva's operational performance, beginning with our exports. In the third Q of '19, Minerva continue to be one of the main exporters in the country which we operate. In Paraguay, we accounted for 43% of beef exports, consolidating our position as the country's main exporter. In Uruguay, we had a 22% market share of beef exports. In Argentina, our market share reached 16%. It's important to point out that we maintain our position as the leading South America beef exporter, with 21% market share.

On the right-hand side of the slide, we have a breakdown of exports by region. In the Brazilian Industry Division, the 2 main destinations were Asia and Middle East, which together accounted for almost half of the division exports. In Athena Foods' exports, Asia was once again the main destination, accounting for 44% of exports, 11 percentage points more than in the same period last year, mainly impacted by strong demand from China. If we consider currency spreads on the fourth Q of '19, the Brazilian operation has been recording almost 200 bps increase on its margins as an effect of major prices and exposure through Southeast Asia.

These results reflect a strong demand from Asia and the positive export momentum mentioned at the beginning of the presentation, which would continue in the coming quarters. Bear in mind that we received the approval for additional 2 plants in Brazil only late in September, so the results contemplated only the last 2 weeks of the quarter, which means that we will notice effective impact on results in the coming quarter.

I will now give the floor to Edison, who will discuss Minerva operating and financial highlights.

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Edison Ticle de Andrade Melo e Souza Filho, Minerva S.A. - CFO [3]

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Thank you, Fernando. We will now present Minerva's financial operating highlights. Let's move to Slide 5.

Talking about our performance. On the upper left corner, we have a breakdown of the company's gross revenue by division. The Brazilian division accounted for 49%; while Athena Foods contributed with 39%; and finally, the Trading Division generated 12% of the revenue in the third quarter. Brazilian division capacity utilization rate reached almost 80%, more than 3 percentage points higher than the previous quarter. Athena Foods, the capacity utilization stood at 77.7% in the quarter, more than 2 points higher than in the second quarter. Overall, the company's consolidated capacity utilization rate reached 78% in the quarter, within the 75% to 80% range that we consider to be optimal.

Finally, on the right side, we once again emphasize the great exposure of Minerva's exports to regions with strong growth of demand, such as Asia that accounted for 39% of total exports in the quarter, which means a clear effect of the growth of demand coming from China. As Fernando just mentioned, China currently accounts for a large share of exports in the region, with the highest demand potential in the short and medium term. Indonesia is also a big opportunity that also Fernando has just mentioned.

Asia, as a country -- as a continent, accounted for 39% of total exports, and around 30% went only to China versus 23% in the third quarter of '18, which means an increase of 7 percentage points, a scenario that we believe should be intensified in the coming quarters, especially because of the new approved plant from Brazil to China. In the last 12 months, China accounted for 27% of consolidated exports.

It's important to remember that, as also Fernando just mentioned, the 2 plants that were approved in September, they haven't contributed to the results of the third quarter yet. They're going to start contributing in the fourth quarter and coming quarters.

On Slide 3 -- on Slide 6, we can see the third quarter net revenues that reached BRL 4.5 billion, up 4% over third quarter '18. In the last 12 months ended September, net revenue came to around BRL 17 billion, up 8% year-on-year. Also regarding our top line, exports accounted for 66% of gross revenues in the Brazil Industry Division and 79% of gross revenue in Athena Foods division. This also reflects the strong demand for China, which indicates that Athena Foods is served by our plant in Argentina and another 3 plants in Uruguay.

EBITDA reached BRL 455 million in the quarter, jumping 25% year-over-year, with an EBITDA margin of 10.1%. In the last 12 months, EBITDA reached more than BRL 1.6 billion. Finally, the net debt-to-EBITDA ratio stood at 3.8x, flat when compared to the second quarter of '19. Although gross debt has a significant impact coming from the FX variation that depreciated 9% in the period or more than BRL 0.35, the strong cash generation reported by Minerva in the quarter allowed us to offset the impact and contributed to keep leverage stable in the quarter.

Let's move now to Slide 7 to discuss net results and cash flow. Considering the net result before income and taxes and also excluding noncash effects coming from FX variation and monetary correction, the company would have had a net income before taxes of approximately BRL 93 million. We had a negative impact on the FX side that came from the FX variation, which is noncash, and also a positive impact coming in the FX hedging policy that impacted in BRL 165 million positive in the quarter.

Moving to the cash generation. Operating cash flow reached an almost BRL 1 billion in the quarter. The main highlight was the working capital variation that was positive by BRL 415 million in the quarter and was supported by, firstly, the other payables line, which includes the advance from clients that generated around BRL 225 million in the quarter. This is explained by the higher advanced payments required for some clients for some sales made during the quarter.

And also, we had a very positive impact for almost half of the BRL 415 million coming from the supplier line -- suppliers' line, where we were able to increase our days of payment during the quarter. We expect those improvements to continue happening in the fourth quarter and the coming quarters. So we expect working capital to continue generating positive cash flow in the coming quarters.

In the third Q '19, free cash flow reached 400 -- BRL 510 million. Talking about the buildup, we begin with EBITDA of BRL 455 million; total CapEx of the quarter, BRL 62 million; cash basis financial results, negative BRL 298 million; and also the working capital, positive variation of BRL 415 million. So again, free cash flow was positive in the quarter by around BRL 510 million, which implied a free cash flow in the last 12 months of more than BRL 1 billion in the 12 months ended in the third quarter.

It's worth noting that this is the seventh consecutive quarter of positive free cash flow. So this shows the commitment that we have on pursuing a more efficient operational management, and also our commitment to use the cash flow generated by operations to deleverage further the balance sheet of the company.

Let's move now to Slide 9 to discuss -- to Slide 8 to discuss Minerva's capital structure. As we have already mentioned, the leverage -- the net leverage ratio remained flat at 3.8x at the end of September, in spite of the great impact that came from the FX depreciation in the quarter. The cash position at the end of the quarter was BRL 3.6 billion, very comfortable and enough to pay all the amortizations until 2026. 79% of our debt was exposed to the dollar variation. And it's worth reminding that, currently, more than 50% of our long-term exposure is hedged.

Finally, the debt duration stayed also in a comfortable profile, reaching almost 5 years.

This concludes our presentation. We are now open for the Q&A section.

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Operator [4]

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(Operator Instructions) This concludes the question-and-answer section. At this time, we would like to turn the floor over to Mr. Fernando Queiroz for any closing remarks.

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Fernando Galletti de Queiroz, Minerva S.A. - CEO [5]

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I would like to close this conference call by once again thanking Minerva's entire team for their efforts and dedication, leading to a healthy performance in the third quarter of 2019.

I also like to reiterate our invitation to our Minerva Day 2019, which will be held in New York at Nasdaq MarketSite, Times Square on November 18 at 1 p.m. I also thank you for your interest in the company, and we remain at your disposal for any questions and clarifications. Thank you very much.

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Operator [6]

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Thank you. This concludes today's presentation. You may disconnect your lines now. Have a nice day.