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NiSource's CEO Discusses Q4 2011 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

At times during the call, we'll refer to the supplemental slides available on our website at nisource.com. I'd like to remind all of you that some of the statements made on this conference call will be forward-looking.

These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements. Information concerning such risks and uncertainties is included in the MD&A and Risk Factors sections of our periodic SEC filings.

And now, I'd like to turn the call over to Bob Skaggs.

Robert C. Skaggs

Thanks, Glen. Good morning, and thanks for joining us. For today's agenda, we'll review a few 2011 highlights that demonstrate the continued strength of NiSource's business strategy and our commitment to building shareholder value. We'll then spend some time discussing each of our 3 business units' performance. And before opening the line to your questions, we'll discuss our 2012 financial outlook and our strategic priorities.

Starting on Slide 3 in the supplemental deck, as we noted in this morning's earnings release, for NiSource, 2011 was a year of significant achievement, groundbreaking performance and industry-leading growth in delivering shareholder value. For the fifth year in a row, the NiSource team met its financial commitments. Specifically, in 2011, we delivered earnings of $1.35 per share non-GAAP at the top of our guidance range for the year and, I would add, right on top of the consensus estimate for the year.

We also delivered 40% total shareholder return, significantly outperforming the broader market in utility indices for the third consecutive year. In fact, NiSource's 2011 performance ranked first among all companies in the Dow Jones Utility Index.

Driving this consistent increase in value is our balanced strategy of executing on stakeholder-focused commercial and regulatory initiatives, paired with disciplined and accretive capital investments.

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