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Westar Energy's CEO Discusses Q3 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

We haven’t changed our view that full-year guidance for these expenses should increase in the 2% range. This just reflects a change in the spending pattern between the two years, for this year has been fairly consistent across the quarters compared to last year when a significant amount of expense came in the fourth quarter.

Depreciation expense increased $4 million inline with our guidance and also reflecting plant additions completed last year. During the quarter, we issued an additional 1.2 million shares receiving about $26 million from shares reprised last year under a forward contract. We have 8.5 million forward shares remaining which we plan to sell later this month for about $200 million. This will raise our equity ratio to 52% consistent with our rate filing.

On the debt side, we renegotiated our $730 million credit facility in September, replacing it with another five-year facility that expires in 2016. In combination with our smaller facility, we have access to $1 billion of liquidity before including internally generated cash.

In our release last night, we affirmed ongoing earnings guidance for this year of a $1.75 to $1.90 per share which excludes the one-time benefits I mentioned. Guidance is condition on the typical factors including such things as weather, economy, COLI proceeds of which we received none so far this year and other factors we can’t control all of which we detailed on our supplemental materials.

Now let’s turn our attention to our major construction projects. All our projects are progressing well, so only I’ll comment on those larger projects for something notable has changed. Our 345 KV line from Wichita to Oklahoma is trending favorable with respect to both budget and schedule. We now estimate the cost to be only about $80 million and also expecting completing it a couple of months early in April 2012.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com

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