A message from Bruce Hoechner, CEO, Rogers Corporation:

Read the corporate financials news release: Rogers Corporation Reports Strong Earnings and All-time Record Quarterly Sales for the First Quarter of 2015.

In Q1 2015, Rogers Corp. achieved substantial growth in earnings, delivering $0.94 per diluted share, excluding discrete acquisition-related impacts and charges up 19% versus Q1 2014 on net sales of $165.1M, an increase of 12.6% over Q1 2014.

Screen shot 2013-11-01 at 10.53.55 AMBolstered by the added revenue from Arlon, Rogers achieved another quarter of record net sales.

We attribute this success to our continued focus on the vital elements of our growth strategy: Market-Driven, Technology Innovation, Synergistic M&A, and Operational Excellence. We believe this approach, along with the positive outlook in a number of our megatrend markets, will help us continue to drive robust revenue and profit performance into the future.

Roadmap for Consistent, Profitable Growth 

We take a market-driven approach across the company, where the term “outside-in” has become part of our daily lexicon. For example, we continually evaluate attractive growth opportunities in the market. As we stated in our Q4-2014 earnings call, we are directing increased attention to Safety and Protection as a key megatrend focus for Rogers, due to the growth we have experienced in worldwide demand for innovative solutions for consumer safety and protection. We will continue to focus on the Internet Connectivity and Clean Energy megatrends, as well. Mass transit remains strategically important and will be realigned primarily within our Clean Energy and Safety and Protection megatrend categories. I will discuss more about these changes later.

Since 2012, we have increased our investment in technology innovation. We introduced six new products in 2014 and the teams at the Rogers Innovation Center and divisional R&D are continuing to build a strong pipeline of opportunities in line with our expectations. We are very pleased with the progress to date and we are now moving ahead on plans to expand the Innovation Center model into our Asia Region.

We are very encouraged with our progress in synergistic M&A and the Arlon acquisition. Three months into the integration, it’s clear that Arlon is an excellent fit with our PCM and HPF business segments, and we are very enthusiastic about the talent and passion our new colleagues bring to Rogers. We are also getting positive feedback from customers, several of whom have expressed interest in our ability to develop new materials as a result of the acquisition. We have finalized and implemented the new organizational structure and the combined business teams are now focusing on driving top-line growth. We remain on target to our goal of completing the integration by the end of 2015.

We are also excited about our progress within the final element of our strategy – operational excellence. Over the past two years, we have deepened our focus on our processes and systems to increase efficiency while reducing costs. Shortly, I will speak more about yield improvements, throughput increases and investments in new technology that are helping us avoid costs and improve on-time delivery. As I travel to our global locations in the U.S., Asia and Europe, I meet with employees across all three business segments who are highly engaged in driving process and system improvements, and striving for operational excellence.

We are a growth company and we have strong confidence in our three-year goal of 15% combined organic and acquired growth. Some years, this will be driven primarily from organic growth and other years will come through acquisitions.


Q1 Operating Highlights

As previously mentioned, we achieved net sales of $165.1M, an increase of 12.6%, and delivered strong earnings with non-GAAP EPS of $.94 per diluted share, which is a 19% increase over last year. On a currency-adjusted basis, we delivered organic sales growth of 3.2% over Q1 2014, with Arlon contributing $20.2M of net sales and earnings of $0.17 per diluted shares in the quarter. Fluctuations in foreign currency exchange rates since the first quarter of 2014 unfavorably impacted sales of legacy Rogers businesses by $6.5M, or 4.3%. David will review both of these items in greater detail later in the call.

Our operational focus contributed to solid margin improvement, with non-GAAP gross margin of 38.8%, which is an increase of 200 basis points over Q1 2014, and non-GAAP operating margin of 15.8%, up 120 basis points over Q1 2014. We expect to see continued margin strength from our ongoing commitment to process and system improvements.

PCM overview

Printed Circuit Materials (or PCM) achieved net sales of $71.3M, including $10.5M from Arlon, which is an increase of 21.8% over Q1 2014. We continue to see substantial demand for high frequency circuit materials for wireless infrastructure (up 25%), automotive safety radar applications for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (up 43%), and aerospace and defense applications (up 47%). This strong growth offset lower demand in mobile internet device wireless antenna applications (down 62%) due to higher than expected inventory levels in the supply chain. We are expecting this market to rebound in the second half of 2015.

While keeping pace with unprecedented demand, the PCM teams are also helping drive operational improvements to enhance profitability. In order to increase capacity and meet market demand, PCM has delivered significant yield and productivity improvements across our three global manufacturing facilities. In addition, we have installed a new treater and a new lamination press in China.

Looking ahead in PCM, we believe we will see continued strong demand for wireless infrastructure applications to support the 4G/LTE build-out in China, where all three telecom operators plan to build a combined 800,000 mobile broadband base stations in 2015. We are also starting to see 4G/LTE demand growing in markets beyond China, such as India, Japan, and Europe. In addition, strong consumer demand is helping to drive growth in automotive Advance Driver Assistance Systems as mid-range cars adopt features that were previously only available in luxury cars.

HPF Overview

In Q1, our High Performance Foams (or HPF) segment achieved net sales of $44.6M, including $5.2M from Arlon, which is an increase of 8.1% over Q1 2014. Weaker demand in portable electronics was primarily due to a slowdown in the China OEM smartphone market, where Chinese vendors experienced a 30% drop in demand for the period. This partially offset higher demand in general industrial and consumer applications.

HPF has implemented a number of process improvements to reduce cost and improve output. For example, the teams designed, fabricated, and installed new process system enhancements to minimize scrap and increase throughput with meaningful cost savings. Another effort involved working closely with a supplier to upgrade raw material quality, which led to improved yields.

From a market standpoint, we believe that smartphone rollouts in the second half of 2015 will rebound for portable electronic applications. HPF has intensified its focus on General Industrial applications, which now represent roughly 30% of HPF sales. In addition, we have expanded our efforts in the higher-growth Consumer Comfort and Impact Protection segment to accelerate our market penetration. We see opportunities for sales and profitability growth at HPF through geographic expansion of both consumer and General Industrial offerings.

PES Overview

Power Electronics Solutions (PES) net sales were $38.5M, a decrease of 5.6% compared to Q1 2014. PES sales grew 6.9% on a currency-adjusted basis from the prior year, indicating solid volume growth. Our results reflect strong demand in EV/HEV applications (up 66%) and mass transit (up 5%). This performance was offset in part by weaker demand in variable frequency drives (down 14%) and certain renewable energy applications (down 20%).

PES made key investments in 2014 to drive manufacturing process improvements. Automating processes in our PES manufacturing operations helped to reduce operational cycle time and improve productivity, enabling greater speed to market and driving yield improvements.

Looking ahead in PES, we see continued growth in the EV/HEV markets due to worldwide demand for better fuel efficiency.

Megatrends and Markets

As mentioned previously, we are introducing Safety and Protection as our new megatrend category in order to align with the growth we have experienced in worldwide demand for our consumer safety and protection solutions.

Key applications in Safety and Protection include automotive safety radar, consumer impact and protection, and materials used in food safety, industrial, and mass transit applications.

In Q1 2015, Safety and Protection applications grew at 18% over Q1 2014 (Rogers only), and represented 10% of Rogers overall sales. We see opportunities in the category of automotive radar systems where industry experts predict a Compound Annual Growth Rate of more than 30% through 2020, and growth from less than 20 million units in 2014 to nearly 96 million units in 2020.

Together, all three megatrend categories accounted for 68% of total sales in Q1 (including Arlon).

In Q1, weakness in demand for portable electronic devices resulted in slightly lower revenue in Internet Connectivity applications. As mentioned earlier, we expect this to rebound in the second half of 2015. In addition, we believe strong demand will continue for applications found in wireless communications base stations and antenna systems.

In the Clean Energy category, our volumes were up slightly, however, currency headwinds resulted in lower year-over-year comparisons. We see continued opportunities for Rogers’ unique solutions in energy efficient motor drives, which comprise approximately 35% of PES sales. In addition, the vehicle electrification market is expected to have a Compound Annual Growth Rate of roughly 15% through 2019.

View the accompanying presentation here.


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