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DTE Energy Management Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Many of you have heard us talk about our intense focus that we have on continuous improvement. This is something we've been working on for many years, and I'll talk more about that when I talk about how we're going to offset weather this year. But it's something we take great pride in. As we look at the challenges of the quarter, we're going to use this continuous improvement program as a lever to help pull us in line with what our goals are for the entire year.

We continue to see attractive growth opportunities in our non-utility businesses, both at the power industrial projects and Gas Storage & Pipelines. And as I mentioned, we'll give you a more detailed update on that at AGA in just over a week.

On Page 6 is an overview of the quarter. In the face of the unusually warm winter, DTE Energy had operating earnings per share of $0.91 compared to $1.11 on the first quarter of last year. Detroit Edison earnings were flat year-over-year, while MichCon's earnings were down significantly due to the weather. Earnings at Energy Trading were down a little from last year, and we are reaffirming our full year operating earnings per share guidance of $3.65 to $3.95, and we're targeting the midpoint of $3.80. We'll leverage our cost and revenue opportunities across the portfolio businesses to offset the first quarter weather. And as we've indicated, it's a priority for us, and our balance sheet continues to remain strong. We generated over $600 million of cash from operations from the first quarter, and Nick will talk about that a little bit later in the call.

Turning to Page 7, with the first quarter behind us, I'd like to take a few minutes to take you through how I'm thinking about our full year 2012 guidance. With a final order in the Detroit Edison rate case last fall, we are expecting earnings to be relatively flat year-over-year. And this is consistent with our original guidance that we provided you. As you know, the summer cooling months and storm activities are drivers of results at Detroit Edison, and much of that still lies ahead of us. Assuming normal weather, I am confident that Detroit Edison will hit its target and actually might get slightly above midpoint. With the biggest part of 2012 heating season behind us, MichCon is going to need to work hard to reach its guidance range for the year. But with continuous improvement and potential onetime cost actions, the bottom end of the range is achievable.

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