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

Stocks in this article: NI

In 2011, those capital investments exceeded $1.1 billion. In a few moments, I'll provide a high-level overview of our $1.4 billion 2012 capital program. This record-high program is a testament to our deep inventory of investment opportunities across each of our core business units and our solid financial foundation. I would suggest that the primary takeaway for 2011 is that the NiSource team has once again demonstrated its commitment, focus and solid execution, which has positioned us to step up our game a notch or 2 in 2012 as we continue to create value for our customers, investors and other key stakeholders.

With that backdrop, let's now take a closer look at our 2011 results, starting with our financial highlights on Slide 4.

As you can see, we delivered 2011 net operating earnings non-GAAP of about $378 million or $1.35 per share, compared to $1.22 per share in 2010. And our operating earnings for the year increased from about $915 million in 2010 to over $961 million. As I suggested earlier, these results reflect the core strength of our business plan, the focus of our team as well as continued signs of resilience in some of our key markets.

On a GAAP basis, our net operating earnings per share for the year were $1.08. As noted on Schedules 1 and 2 to our earnings release, the most significant GAAP to non-GAAP reconciling item was the $54 million call premium on our successful $250 million debt tender offer, which was completed in the fourth quarter.

Turning to our individual business unit results, let's start in Indiana with our electric business as summarized on Slide 5. For the year, NIPSCO electric reported operating earnings of $203 million compared to $217 million in 2010. Revenues were down about $0.5 million primarily due to decreased residential and commercial margins and lower environmental cost recovery. Operating expenses were up about $13 million primarily due to higher employee and administrative expenses and outside service costs.

By far, the most significant highlight for the year was the settlement of NIPSCO's landmark electric rate case and the approval of that settlement by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, or IURC, in December.

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