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centex _Transcript_09/22/08


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centex _Transcript_09/22/08

  1. 1. FINAL TRANSCRIPT CTX - Centex Corporation at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 2008 Homebuilding Symposium Event Date/Time: Sep. 22. 2008 / 2:00PM ET Contact Us © 2008 Thomson Financial. Republished with permission. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial.
  2. 2. FINAL TRANSCRIPT Sep. 22. 2008 / 2:00PM, CTX - Centex Corporation at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 2008 Homebuilding Symposium CORPORATE PARTICIPANTS Tim Eller Centex Corporation - Chairman & CEO Cathy Smith Centex Corporation - CFO CONFERENCE CALL PARTICIPANTS Nishu Sood Deutsche Bank - Analyst PRESENTATION Nishu Sood - Deutsche Bank - Analyst All right. We'll get started with the next presentation. The next Company to be presenting will be Centex. And we have Tim Eller, who is the Chairman and the CEO, and Cathy Smith, who is the CFO. And in the audience we also have Matt Moyer, who many of you will be familiar with. With that, I will turn it over. Tim Eller - Centex Corporation - Chairman & CEO Thanks, we appreciate it. Appreciate being here. Welcome, everybody, and thanks. We are your after lunch entertainment and here we go. Let me just start by telling you that Cathy and I will probably be making some forward-looking statements this afternoon. Those forward-looking statements are going to contain risks and uncertainties and I would like to refer you to our most recently filed 10-Q and 10-K for a list and description of those risks and uncertainties. Today we'll be talking about -- I'll have some comments on the current state of the industry and you just saw at lunch a lot of detail around that. Some things that make us very excited in terms of the future. We are recognizing there's still probably more down side risk to the industry than upside, at least for the very short term. Cathy is going to talk about some actions that we're taking at Centex to not only react to the correction in the housing industry, but also to take advantage of it coming out of the recovery. And I'll talk a little bit about how we're building a better Centex and how that's sustainable and we believe will yield higher margins, more predictable and higher returns in the future. So let me just say that the elements in my view of a bottom are largely in place. This is my sixth cycle. I've been through a few of these. But if I just take a look at the things that characterize the bottom, a number of those things are already in place. I am by no means predicting a recovery. Again, I think we probably have some more down side, some more difficult times ahead, especially with the loss of down payment assistance as a financing vehicle. But we also see signs that, I'll take you through a few of them, that indicate that we may bounce along the bottom for a bit. Foreclosures are at unprecedented levels and rising. So this is, as you know, the headlines, it used to be the headlines, there's other headlines now, but they were certainly the headlines for the industry. There has never been a cycle until you go back to the great depression where we've seen this level of foreclosures. These will continue, we think, through 2009. There's another round of ARM resets, option A and Alt-A loans that will be reset. Were originally scheduled to be reset in 2010, we think will be accelerated into 2009 for some technical and [retenical] reasons associated with those loans. So we don't see this turning and we see it continuing at high levels for a while. Consumer confidence is beginning to reflect the softening economy. It's at the level that it was at the trough of the last cycle in the early '90s. Now, again, then it bounced along the bottom for a while so we believe that will continue for as long as the economy continues to be soft. But interesting to note that there's another measure of consumer confidence which is called home buyers sentiment, that's the red line on this graph. And in previous cycles and you'll notice that home buyer sentiment generally is counter cyclical. That is, Contact Us 1 © 2008 Thomson Financial. Republished with permission. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial.
  3. 3. FINAL TRANSCRIPT Sep. 22. 2008 / 2:00PM, CTX - Centex Corporation at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 2008 Homebuilding Symposium it rises with the economy softens and consumer confidence softens. Our consumers are pretty savvy, they understand when it's a good time to buy a home and when prices are going to be at their most attractive. You can see now that home buyer sentiment is starting to try to break out on the positive side. So that's, again, typical for the bottom of a cycle. Housing starts have essentially reached the trough level of the last cycle as well. So these are single family, new single family housing starts and they're just above 600,000 right now, which was the level they achieved in 1991. Now, we think, again, they will bounce along at that level for a little while. In 1991 there was a fairly quick recovery in housing starts. We don't see that necessarily happening this time. But interesting, there is a lot of, as you might imagine, distress in the industry right now and what we're seeing happening is a lot of the private builders that were the majority of the business in this industry for forever are just simply shuttering their doors. They're shuttering neighborhoods, so one weekend sales offices may be open, the next weekend they aren't open. So the process of the banks beginning to take back the land and the houses on some of these private builders is just beginning to start, but what we're seeing is that the supply and capacity is being taken out of the system very quickly now. Inventories remain high, particularly so for existing homes, again, fueled by foreclosures and as foreclosures continue to increase and escalate or remain high for a while, existing home inventories will remain high. But the blue line in this graph is new home inventories. As you can see, home builders are beginning to adjust very quickly. Part of it is the reason I just mentioned. Simply, some of them are going out of business, they're not building any more. Most of the builders that are left are building to order. That is, they presell a home first before they build, so we're not adding speculative inventory to a market that's already over inventory. But, if this trend continues in new home inventories, then by early or mid-2009, calendar 2009, we should see new home inventories back to their historic level. So again, elements of a bottom. We see them in place. And again, not predicting a recovery, but I think we'll bounce along the bottom for a little while but there's some things, some aspects that we're pretty excited about in terms of the future for Centex coming out of this recovery or even before it is coming out of this recovery. I'll let Cathy talk about a few of those and then I'll come back up. Cathy Smith - Centex Corporation - CFO Thank you, Tim. We're doing much inside of Centex today to position us to win as we come through this cycle. Going to be probably three competitive advantages as we move through. Those that have cash and liquidity or access to cash and liquidity, I kind of put them into two buckets, there's the haves and the have nots. The have nots are going to be a little bit more strategically constrained and will have less ability to reinvest for the future. The second one being those that are lighter on land, so that they have the ability to take advantage of the lower economics in the land that we'll see for a while. And the third one being those with operational efficiencies, because that will be the sustainable housing margin advantages as we continue to move through. I'm going to show you, I think, in the next several charts that Centex is well-positioned in all three of those respects. This first chart shows you our land positions and you can see from the peak we're down 73% or we're, at this last quarter, down to 81,000 owned and controlled lots. That's -- we're kind of on the lower end versus all of our peers if you laid that out against our peers. With regard to selling homes, you can see that we continue to experience a decline in volumes and in can rates, that is what chart shows you, that the volumes have continued to come down as well as the can rates. As Tim said -- cancellation rates. As Tim said, we don't expect that to improve in the very near future. We expect to continue to find pressure on volumes, especially with EPA going away and with the credit world continuing to be a bit of a mess and tightening. And then the cancellation rates, again, will continue to be at elevated levels. So we're not anticipating this is going to get substantially better, at least in the foreseeable couple of months or quarters. Then on minimizing inventory, you can see that we continue to bring our inventory down and it will stay now at these lower levels because we've moved solidly from having inventory or standing inventory in spec units to a to be built or a building to our sold backlog model. So we are now selling to a backlog so that we can build to a cadence. That's the way we'll get our production efficiencies that Tim's going to talk to you about in a moment that will give us a sustainable advantages in our operating margins. So you would expect our inventory levels to stay low. We ended our last quarter at 2.5 spec units per neighborhood on average and we peaked at the top of the cycle or the peak of the inventory at 7.7, I think, spec homes per Contact Us 2 © 2008 Thomson Financial. Republished with permission. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial.
  4. 4. FINAL TRANSCRIPT Sep. 22. 2008 / 2:00PM, CTX - Centex Corporation at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 2008 Homebuilding Symposium neighborhood. Until we see some stability in the environment and some predictability and improving environment, we feel it's absolutely prudent to sit on our cash and that is what we're doing right now. Our strategy is to accumulate, to preserve and accumulate our cash. At the end of our last quarter you can see we ended the quarter with $1.24 billion of cash on the balance sheet and we intend to end our fiscal year in March with even more cash on the balance sheet. We continue to reduce our debt levels and we did pay another maturity of senior notes that matured this last August. We paid that off as well. We don't foresee needing any access to our revolver, except of for letters of credit. And those will continue to do the (inaudible) as well. We have dramatically reduced our land spend, that would be land acquisition and land development, as the volumes have continued to come down. So two quarters ago we would have given you guidance that we were going to spend about $800 million this year in land spend, total land spend. At the end of this last quarter we brought that down to $400 million for the remainder of the year and we'll continue to evaluate and moderate that -- it was kind of interesting, the gentleman at Metro Studies talked about how even after we saw the peak we saw some of the land continue to come in, both in finished lots and available, not finished lots, raw lots and it's because people had to continue to work through that. So we continue to work our land spend to moderate towards the volumes but it does lag and that's the reduction you're seeing now. And then lastly, we talked about the cash conservation. It's prudent until we see stability and predictability and an improving environment just to sit on our cash and we do expect to be capital self-sufficient for as far as we can look in our projections. We're very, very focused on restoring profitability. We know that's a key as we continue to move through this. And we've done a number of things. I told you we moved to, solidly to a sell to a backlog and build to a cadence model. That way we get production efficiencies in the homes and we know that to be built homes have superior economics versus spec homes. To the tune of this last quarter, 410 basis points in gross margins in a to be built or a home that we sold first and then built it versus a home that we built and then sold. We're seeing -- continuing to see brick and mortar or direct construction cost reductions even with commodity price increases and that's because of all of the work we've been doing in Centex to work on our production efficiencies and again Tim's going to talk to you a little bit more about that in a minute. We're continuing to lower our interest expense. I talked about our debt repayment and our overhead is a continuous focus of ours. We're now at our lowest headcount level in the Company, I think, since for the last seven years or so. Lastly, and then Tim will talk to you about some of the things we're doing to build a better Centex, this is one of the things we're doing to build a better Centex and that is we announced recently our Centex Energy Advantage program. This is an energy, a set of energy standards that will be available or will be included on all of our homes built after January 2009, will have all of our homes started with that by January 2009 and you can see substantial savings in energy efficiency. They are up to 22% more efficient than a comparable home built today. It is one way to directly help our home buyers with affordability, because remember that buyers buy on what payment they can afford and that goes into their total household cost, so things like energy are very important. By us addressing their energy footprint with our homes we'll help them be able to address that affordability better. For every 10,000 homes we build under this new set of standards, we'll have 17,800 or 18,000 fewer metric tons of carbon each year. So this is good for our customers, our shareholders and for our environment. With that I'm going to turn this back over to Tim. Tim Eller - Centex Corporation - Chairman & CEO When Cathy talks about building a better Centex, it's all about standardizing and deploying the Centex business processes across the entire enterprise. And so when you take a look at the core set of business processes here in the middle of this slide, these are the things that our operating divisions do and do very well. Now what we're going to require and are putting in place is for them to do them all the same all the time. And the reason for that is now we can measure, we can apply world class manufacturing standards to our kind of very low tech business of building houses, these are things that manufacturers have done for years. So we're learning from what they've done and you can actually and we believe are applying these to homebuilding. Nor are these, certainly unique to us, but nor are they unique to us at this particular time. Contact Us 3 © 2008 Thomson Financial. Republished with permission. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial.
  5. 5. FINAL TRANSCRIPT Sep. 22. 2008 / 2:00PM, CTX - Centex Corporation at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 2008 Homebuilding Symposium Our Fox & Jacob brand, our entry level brand has practiced many of these, most of these, actually, over the course of [inaudible], going back to the early '50s. So these are things that we've done. They're also best practices within Centex that we can standardize again across the Company and across the enterprise. So by the end of this fiscal year we will have defined all those processes, those best practices and we will have either implemented or begun to implement or have a plan to implement those standard sets of processes by the end of this fiscal year, again, across the enterprise. The business model is also a part of that and facilitates this. Back to Cathy's point, selling to a backlog, building to a cadence. Again, these are practices that we've done in the past. Speculative is our ordinary course of business in terms of selling to a backlog before this housing correction started. So we're kind of getting back to the beginning, back to our basics in selling to a backlog. What are the reasons to do that? It's more profitable. Cathy said 410 basis points improvement in operating margin when we presell a home versus when we have to deal and sell with a spec. Lot of reasons for that. One of them is many of our specs are sold through the realtor channel, which is a high cost channel. So what we're focusing on is what are our lowest cost channels. How can we generate, we've got a lot of leads coming in, even now, how can we generate the most business across the lowest cost channel in selling to our backlog. Building to a cadence is all about efficiency. It is all about predictability. It is all about, not only our own, being able to structure our own work force but our vendors' work force across a very predictable set of building processes. You just take a look at these two graphs. On the left here is a little bit exaggerated but not too much. Basically as we would schedule houses to be built as we sold them, which is not bad. Or schedule houses to be built when it was convenient for us that was not necessarily most convenient for our trade partners. We tended to focus on neighborhood by neighborhood by neighborhood execution. Now, as we focus on an entire market and building to a cadence across an entire market, we can even out those starts and then each of the steps of construction for our trade partners get better utilization of our trade partners, higher utilization of their labor hours, and better efficiencies for us as well as a better outcome in terms of quality and customer satisfaction. So it requires true partnerships with our vendors. Which is -- we couldn't have done this two or three years ago when the market was at its peak. This is the perfect time to begin to establish those partnerships and we believe are sustainable. We believe that our trade partners will see such efficiencies in their business that when the market does recover, neither of us will be tempted to go back to the practices of old. So more profitable. Our margins are better. Our costs are lower. Cathy said we were just seeing reductions in our direct construction costs, what we call brick and mortar costs. It's been about 0.5% a month even despite the commodity pressures that we've had. Overall we've realized about 0.5% of cost savings per month since we started this earlier this year. And we believe we're just getting started. We have yet to see the greatest benefits ahead of us. Another way to think about our business model and what we're going to be doing is we need to be able to do this in markets. So there are some markets that we can't do this, that we can't participate because of the land constraints that do not give us a predictable supply of lots. So we have exited a few markets for that reason. We have also exited a few markets that really didn't have long-term economic potential, at least in our view, to be able to execute this model. So we concentrated our investment probably in the 30 best top markets across the country and we can also concentrate our resources when we do that. So we think that strategy, focusing on those markets that give us a very predictable supply of lots, that lead to reasonably predictable core growth and a cadence production model will result in predictable returns, higher margins and higher returns. So here's the rational for that concentration in those markets and many of you have seen this chart before. And this is the relationship between relative market share, how big a builder is relative to the largest builder, relative market share and the impact of that higher levels of market share on operating margin and return. And clearly there is a correlation. This is our own data in core divisions across multiple years, continues to reinforce the notion that relative market share is important and we've targeted a minimum of 0.8 relative market share, which would generally put us in the top three of any market that we participate in. And that is also kind of one of the thresholds that we've used to evaluate where we should focus our resources, concentrate our positions. Let me just finish by just reiterating that we're aggressively building a better Centex to take advantage of the recovery and quite possibly take advantage of the market before the recovery actually begins because there is so much distress in the markets today, so many builders that are exiting, so much capacity that's being removed. We Contact Us 4 © 2008 Thomson Financial. Republished with permission. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial.
  6. 6. FINAL TRANSCRIPT Sep. 22. 2008 / 2:00PM, CTX - Centex Corporation at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 2008 Homebuilding Symposium believe that just a small little incremental increase in sales will have tremendous benefits for us. We're focused on asset efficiency because we can. There's thousands of developed lots. I just learned at lunch, there's millions of developed lots now across our market. We can focus on asset efficiency for quite a while. Again, because we can. But we also believe that even as this market recovers back to normalized levels, the credit markets are going to be such and the memories are going to be such that we don't see us returning to the land appreciation of yore in my foreseeable future. We're improving our business processes so we can scale up faster. Not only yield higher margins, better returns so we can scale faster because of the standard set of processes across the Company and we think that's going to give us sustainable cost reductions, higher, more consistent, more predictable future returns and higher level of customer satisfaction. By the way, JD Powers came out just earlier this month with their customer satisfaction results and Centex was the number one builder in terms of customer satisfaction in the top three in a market, so we were top three in the most markets of -- more markets than any other builder in customer satisfaction, according to JD Power. With that, I want to thank you and, Nishu, did you want to open it up for a few questions. QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS Nishu Sood - Deutsche Bank - Analyst Sure, yes. I'll kick it off here. I tell you, one of the few areas that we've had with optimism today has obviously been internal processes and what the government can do, which is something we certainly have seen over the past few weeks. As the CEOs of one of the top home builders, you're obviously fairly close to situation, what the builders are thinking about, what the builders would like to see the government do. I guess I just wanted your latest thoughts on it, specifically some of the different areas that people might be wondering about, is the DPA program going to come back, will they increase the tax credit, will they make it a real tax credit instead of just a loan, do you think that RTC volume, too, will actually become like it was in early '90s and be buying out BUD, development and construction loans. So those type of things. I know it's difficult to handicap what the government is going to do, only one direction the last month or two. But what are your latest thoughts on that? What do you thing will happen. Tim Eller - Centex Corporation - Chairman & CEO All that's being discussed in Congress and all of it's being discussed among the builder world as well. So I think something will happen. I don't know how to predict what will happen. The DPA, I think, is going to have an enormous impact on sales short-term. Again, as people save their money and repair their credit, we'll see them come back into the market. But that's out several months or maybe more than several months. So I think restoration of DPA would generally kind of, I think, boost the market if you will. I'm not a proponent nor particularly a fan of DPA but if the government wanted to boost home sales, restoring DPA would certainly provide some of that boost. Higher credit, tax credit, I think that the issue with the tax credit right now is it can't be monetized, it has to be actually a refund, has to be paid back. Consumers are looking at it and saying well, until I can actually get the money in my hand, I don't really -- I can't buy anything with that. And so we are not seeing any activity at all regarding the tax credit. If they increase it, great. Better would be to not require it be paid back because then I see, I think we would see some real activity around it. RTC, there is -- who knows what this is going to turn out to be. RTC for loans, right. There is going to have to be, I believe, another RTC for land. That's next year's story. This year's story is what are we going to do with all these loans. I think that's all to be determined. And the outcomes, I think, in large measure depend on the election. So I think the Democrats will be more inclined to provide stimulus and more stimulus than maybe the Republicans would. Contact Us 5 © 2008 Thomson Financial. Republished with permission. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial.
  7. 7. FINAL TRANSCRIPT Sep. 22. 2008 / 2:00PM, CTX - Centex Corporation at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 2008 Homebuilding Symposium Nishu Sood - Deutsche Bank - Analyst All right. Let's play just one what if scenario with the RTC expands and it begins to take on land or development loans, that kind of throws the current landscape where you're seeing a lot of capital pooling on the sidelines to invest in land, that kind of throws the intent as to what people are looking at. The whole situation it kind of throws it into disarray. So my question is based on your experience through many cycles, looking at the way the landscape is now, what would builders prefer? Would they refer to wait for an RTC two to begin to offload land assets and replenish their land supply that way or do you think they would prefer to partner with the many financial entities out there that are forming to buy this rough land. Tim Eller - Centex Corporation - Chairman & CEO I think we will do three things. I think we'll buy from banks who have taken over distressed acquisition and development loans. We did last cycle. I think we'll buy from private equity, who take, probably, land over from banks as well. We did that last cycle. There seems to be more of it this cycle, we'll see, more talk anyway. And we'll buy from, if there is an RTC, we'll buy from that. But that's going to be longer term because it's going to take them longer to actually get processes in place to sell land. We did that last cycle. All the things we are talking about doing this cycle, we did last cycle. We did it in a very asset light way last cycle as well for many years. Nishu Sood - Deutsche Bank - Analyst Let's take some questions from the audience. Unidentified Audience Member - - Analyst We've heard a little bit about repossession sales starting to pick up here and in some certain markets starting to cause some positive absorption for existing home supply. I was wondering if you all are seeing any impact from the repo sales on your buyer's ability to get financing because when they think about the old metric of a new home typically sells for 10% to 15% more than existing home and a repo sale typically sells for 20% to 30% less than an existing home, if the repo home shows up as the comp for the bank that your buyer goes to to apply for, strikes me that it might be very difficult for them to obtain financing for a new home purchase. Tim Eller - Centex Corporation - Chairman & CEO That is all around the appraisals. You're right. I think you're right about your how things price out. Recognize though that the risky home market still is largely above the new home market, hasn't fully adjusted to the below the new home market. But appraisers are pretty savvy. They understand what a foreclosure is and even a short sale is. They will note that on the appraisal. They won't use those appraisals to benchmark other kind of pre-market sales. We've seen appraisal pressure. We've certainly seen that but not because of foreclosures. Unidentified Audience Member - - Analyst If you assume that the home ownership rate declines back at least partially toward the historical trend over time, that puts a lid on volume for the next few years and as you said, land appreciation is very limited for the foreseeable future. What's the profitability your business model look a couple years out once you've gotten rid of some of the overpriced land here? What kind of profitability can you generate at lower volumes and without any real appreciation in the land price? Contact Us 6 © 2008 Thomson Financial. Republished with permission. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial.
  8. 8. FINAL TRANSCRIPT Sep. 22. 2008 / 2:00PM, CTX - Centex Corporation at Deutsche Bank Securities Inc. 2008 Homebuilding Symposium Tim Eller - Centex Corporation - Chairman & CEO Good question. I mean, what's the target? Our target has been 10% operating margin and two turns. We think that's still very viable business model. Now if -- or business outcome. If the capacity continues to disappear at the rate it is, it's possible we could be higher than that. Let's just say 10% operating margins, two turns I think is a reasonable outcome. We are seeing that when we do acquire land, we're seeing those kinds of numbers, sometimes even a little bit better than that. I'd say generally better than that right now in the new land we are buying. And kind of fundamental to this is you're absolutely right, selling out of what we have but also acquiring new is going to be how we get there. And Nishu asked the question earlier about land acquisition. We are seeing opportunities to buy right now and we are in the market and, again, lot of this land is working its way through the banking workout system, but we are seeing a few more opportunities every month than we did the previous month. Anybody else? Thank you very much, Nishu. Thank you all. Appreciate it. Nishu Sood - Deutsche Bank - Analyst Thank you to Tim and Cathy, and Matt and Centex. Thank you as well, all of you, for attending. DISCLAIMER Thomson Financial reserves the right to make changes to documents, content, or other information on this web site without obligation to notify any person of such changes. In the conference calls upon which Event Transcripts are based, companies may make projections or other forward-looking statements regarding a variety of items. Such forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and involve risks and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from those stated in any forward-looking statement based on a number of important factors and risks, which are more specifically identified in the companies' most recent SEC filings. Although the companies may indicate and believe that the assumptions underlying the forward-looking statements are reasonable, any of the assumptions could prove inaccurate or incorrect and, therefore, there can be no assurance that the results contemplated in the forward-looking statements will be realized. THE INFORMATION CONTAINED IN EVENT TRANSCRIPTS IS A TEXTUAL REPRESENTATION OF THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S CONFERENCE CALL AND WHILE EFFORTS ARE MADE TO PROVIDE AN ACCURATE TRANSCRIPTION, THERE MAY BE MATERIAL ERRORS, OMISSIONS, OR INACCURACIES IN THE REPORTING OF THE SUBSTANCE OF THE CONFERENCE CALLS. IN NO WAY DOES THOMSON FINANCIAL OR THE APPLICABLE COMPANY ASSUME ANY RESPONSIBILITY FOR ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS MADE BASED UPON THE INFORMATION PROVIDED ON THIS WEB SITE OR IN ANY EVENT TRANSCRIPT. USERS ARE ADVISED TO REVIEW THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S CONFERENCE CALL ITSELF AND THE APPLICABLE COMPANY'S SEC FILINGS BEFORE MAKING ANY INVESTMENT OR OTHER DECISIONS. ©2008, Thomson Financial. All Rights Reserved. 1930434-2008-09-24T10:57:55.547 Contact Us 7 © 2008 Thomson Financial. Republished with permission. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior written consent of Thomson Financial.