A Conversation with Peter Wallace
Q. What has driven Robbins & Myers’ success?
We began our transformation with a few simple themes - reduce complexity, manage those things that are under our control, and create an environment where people are rewarded for their passion and ability to continuously improve the business.
Now, a few years later, we have surpassed just about everyone’s expectations - and we still have a lot happening that will drive further improvements.
Q. Where can the business go from here?
We firmly believe that our achievements to-date are Just the Beginning, the theme we are using throughout our company. Given the success we have had, some of you may be wondering what I could possibly mean by this. After all, we have had great performance and it is difficult to keep improving the business.
While I agree that higher sales levels, higher operating profit margins, and improved cash flow will make a quantum leap more difficult; it is also clear that we have numerous activities underway that will improve our results. We have a lot of positive momentum that will continue to drive higher sales volume and produce improved operating margins.
Q. How have shareholders responded to Robbins & Myers transformation?
We continue to meet or exceed the guidance provided to the investment community and our performance has attracted a wider following. This additional interest has increased the daily volume of trading activity which, in turn, helps attract others to the stock. Our trading volume and share price have steadily increased over the last few years. Investors reward companies that consistently deliver the numbers and have plans in place to improve future performance. Our results have justified higher trading multiples due to the fact we now have a reputation for producing results – doing what we said we would do.
We have several positives currently in our favor. All our platform businesses are profitable and have shown steady improvement during the last two years. End-markets are healthy and with approximately 80% of our sales into the energy, chemical, and pharmaceutical sector, we believe that we are in the right place at the right time. Another item of great importance is that we have moved from a high debt position of a few years ago, to our current status of having more cash than debt. This net cash position will be valuable as we continue to move forward with the growth phase of our transformation, as we fund internal growth plans as well as acquisitions.