Walgreen’s (WAG) CEO Greg Wasson discusses Q4 2014 results on a conference call held on September 30, 2014…
Walgreen Co. (NYSE:WAG)
Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call
September 30, 2014 8:30 am ET
Rick Hans – DVP, IR, Finance
Greg Wasson – President, CEO
Tim McLevish – CFO, EVP
Alex Gourlay – President, Customer Experience & Daily Living
Jeff Berkowitz – Co-President, Walgreens Boots Alliance Development GmbH
Robert Jones – Goldman Sachs
Mark Miller – William Blair
Ricky Goldwasser – Morgan Stanley
Eric Percher – Barclays Capital
George Hill – Deutsche Bank
Scott Mushkin – Wolfe Research
Lisa Gill – JPMorgan
Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the Walgreen Co., Fourth Quarter 2014 Earnings Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this call is being recorded.
I’d now like to introduce your host for today’s conference Mr. Rick Hans. Sir, you may begin.
Rick Hans – DVP, IR, Finance
Thank you, Amanda, and good morning, everyone. Welcome to our fourth quarter conference call. Today, Greg Wasson, our President and CEO; and Tim McLevish, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer will discuss the quarter and the fiscal year. Also joining us on the call, and available for questions are Alec Gourlay, President of Customer Experience and Daily Living; and Jeff Berkowitz, Co-President of Walgreen Boots Alliance Development.
As a reminder, today’s presentation includes certain non-GAAP financial measures, and I would direct you to our Web site at investor.walgreens.com for reconciliations to the most directly comparable GAAP measures and related information. You find a link to our webcast on our Investor Relations Web site. After the call, this presentation will be archived on our Web site for 12 months.
Certain statements and projections of future results made in this presentation constitute forward-looking statements that are based on current market, competitive and regulatory expectations that involve risk and uncertainty. Except to the extent required by law, we undertake no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement after this presentation, whether as a result of new information, future events, changes in assumptions or otherwise. Please see our latest Form 10-K filing and subsequent Exchange Act filings for a discussion of risk factors as they relate to forward-looking statements.
Now, I’ll turn the call over to Greg.
Greg Wasson – President, CEO
Thank you, Rick. Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us on our call. Today I will begin with a review of the highlights of the quarter and the fiscal year. Next, I will provide an update on our progress toward the launch of Walgreens Boost Alliance Inc. And finally, I will look ahead to fiscal 2015. And then I will turn the call over to Tim McLevish for a more detailed financial review.
In the quarter, we continue to see improvements in our top line with growth in our Daily Living business and prescription volume that resulted in our largest quarterly and fiscal year sales increases in three years. In addition, we continued to see margin improvement across the front end of our business.
As we move into fiscal 2015, we are very focused on our performance. We put into place a strong blended management team for the future of Walgreen Boots Alliance organization, which is bringing greater focus and clarity to the critical work at hand.
For the quarter, net sales were $19.1 billion up 6.2% from $17.9 billion in the fourth quarter last year. GAAP operating income for the quarter was $969 million down 5.8% from $1 billion last year. Adjusted operating income for the quarter was $1.14 billion up 3.5% from $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter 2013.
The GAAP loss per share in the fourth quarter equaled $0.25 compared to earnings per share of $0.69 last year. Fourth quarter adjusted earnings per diluted share were $0.74 up 1.4% from $0.73 in the same quarter last year. This quarter’s GAAP results were negatively impacted by $866 million or $0.90 per diluted share non-cash loss related to the amendment and exercise during the quarter of the company’s Alliance Boots call option.
I will turn into our fiscal year performance, sales were $76.4 billion compared to $72.2 billion last year up 5.8%. GAAP operating income was $4.2 billion up 6.4% from $3.9 billion in fiscal 2013. Adjusted operating income for the year was $4.9 billion compared to $4.7 billion in 2013 up 4.6%.
Our full year GAAP earnings per diluted share were $2 down 21.9% from $2.56 last year and on an adjusted basis, earnings per diluted share were $3.28 up 5.1% compared to $3.12 last year.
We closed fiscal 2014 entering the next important phase in our strategic partnership with Alliance Boots amending an exercise and the option to complete the second step. Through the transaction, the new Walgreens Boots Alliance will have unmatched global reach strength and leadership and a broad mix of retail health, well-being and beauty businesses and an international pharmacy wholesale network all dedicated to ensuring people across the world lead healthier and happier lives.
This fiscal year, we also completed the transition of our drug distribution into AmerisourceBergen. Their company now supplies virtually all of our brand and generic medications; the strategic relationship together with Alliance Boots is establishing the leading global pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution network.
Importantly, we achieved $491 million in synergies through our WBAD joint venture. Our retail pharmacy market share grew 30 basis points to 19% in fiscal 2014 and we filled a record 856 million prescriptions.
In our Daily Living business, it was a big year for beauty. We launched boots number 7 products in our Phoenix and New York markets and our flagship locations to a very positive customer reaction and improved performance. And finally, we increased our dividend for the 39th consecutive year.