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ITC Holdings Corp. (ITC)

Q4 2011 Earnings Conference Call

February 22, 2012 11:00 ET


Gretchen Holloway – Investor Relations

Joseph Welch – Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Cameron Bready – Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer


Jonathan Arnold – Deutsche Bank

Neil Kalton – Wells Fargo Securities

Jay Dobson – Wunderlich Securities

David Frank – Catapult



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Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the ITC Holdings Corp. Fourth Quarter Conference Call and Webcast. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session and instructions will be given at that time. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, today's conference call is being recorded. I'd now like to turn the conference over to your host Ms. Gretchen Holloway. Please go ahead.

Gretchen Holloway – Investor Relations

Good morning, everyone and thank you for joining us for ITC's 2011 fourth quarter and year end earnings conference call. Joining me on today's call are Joseph Welch, Chairman, President, and CEO of ITC, and Cameron Bready, our Executive Vice President and CFO.

Last night, we issued a press release summarizing our results for the fourth quarter and for the year ended December 31, 2011. We expect to file our Form 10-Q with the Securities and Exchange Commission today.

Before we begin, I would like to remind everyone of the cautionary language contained in the Safe Harbor statement. Certain statements made during today's call that are not historical facts, such as those regarding our future plans, objectives and expected performance are considered forward-looking statements under Federal Securities Laws. While we believe these statements are reasonable, they are subject to various risks and uncertainties and actual results may differ materially from our projections and expectations. These risks and uncertainties are discussed in our reports filed with the SEC such as our periodic reports on Forms 10-Q and 10-K and our other SEC filings. You should consider these risk factors when evaluating our forward-looking statements. Our forward-looking statements represent our outlook only as of today and we disclaim any obligation to update these statements, except as maybe required by law.

A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures discussed on today's call is available on our website. In addition, on December 5, 2011, ITC and Entergy Corporation made an announcement regarding an intended transaction. Investors are encouraged to read the proxy statement and perspectives in its entirety regarding the proposed transaction as well as any other relevant documents when they become publicly available. These documents will contain important information about the proposed transaction. A free copy of the proxy statement and perspectives as well as other filings containing relevant information will be available without charge on the SEC website.

Copies of the proxy statement and perspectives and the filings with the SEC that will be incorporated by reference in the proxy statement and perspectives can also be obtained when available and without charge from ITC or Entergy.

Information regarding participants or persons who maybe deemed to be participants and the solicitation of proxies with respect to the proposed transaction is contained in ITC's proxy statement for its most recent Annual Meeting and Entergy's proxy statement for its most recent Annual Meeting, both of which are filed with the SEC.

I will now turn the call over to Joe Welch.

Joseph Welch – Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer

Thanks, Gretchen and good morning everyone. We are very pleased to report results today that demonstrate continued strong performance for ITC on all fronts strategically, operationally, and financially.

For ITC, 2011 proved to be a year of significant milestones and accomplishments and I would like to touch on several of those this morning in the strategic and operational areas, while Cameron will cover the financial areas. As is customary this time of the year, we will also provide you with highlights of our outlook for 2012 as well. In 2011, ITC successfully completed the largest capital plan ever undertaken by the company at roughly $630 million.

For the past couple of years, we have been highlighting anticipated changes in the composition of our capital investment plans as we continue to pursue and advance larger projects, which present some new challenges given their magnitude and scope. I am very pleased with how our organization is addressing these challenges and 2011 proved to be a strong demonstration of our ability to undertake and effectively manage multiple large scale projects. We now have four of these large scale projects well into pre-construction activities or under construction, including the KETA project, the Kansas V-Plan, the Thumb Loop and Salem to Hazelton lines.

On the KETA project, we completed right away for acquisition in early 2011 and have made significant progress on its construction. We expect the first phase of the project to go into service in mid-2012 and the second phase in late 2012. For the V-Plan, we received siding approval in July of 2011 and have initiated preconstruction activities including right away acquisition. We also received siding approval for the Thumb Loop project in February of last year, which allowed us to begin right away acquisition. Close to one-third of the right away acquisition for the project is now complete and we broke ground on construction of the first substation associated with the project in last October.

Lastly, we received the necessary approvals from the Iowa Utility Board in April of last year, which will be necessary to obtain the first right away for the Salem to Hazelton project. We broke ground on this project in November of last year and construction activities are well underway. Keeping these projects on track and or under budget is not only important for the company but also for the region in which they are being constructed given the various benefits they are anticipated to deliver. Further, 2011 was the first year in which we made significant investments in our development projects, which is a testament to our ability to execute on our ongoing development activities. Five years after entering the SPP region and starting ITC Great Plains from the ground-up, we are now well underway with preconstruction and construction activities for three critical projects within the region.

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