Constellation Energy Group Inc. (CEG)

Q2 2010 Earnings Conference Call

July 28, 2010 08:00 am ET


Jack Thayer - SVP & CFO

Mayo Shattuck - Chairman of the Board, President & CEO

Kathy Hyle - SVP & COO

Mike Wallace - VC & COO

Paul Allan - SVP of Corporate Affairs and CEO


Dan Eggers - Credit Suisse

Greg Gordon - Morgan Stanley

Gregg Orrill - Barclays Capital

Brian Chin - Citigroup

Neel Mitra - Simmons & Company International

David Frank - Catapult Capital

Ali Agha - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey

Paul Patterson - Glenrock Associates

Paul Fremont - Jefferies



Welcome to the Constellation Energy Group’s Second Quarter Earnings Conference Call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. (Operator Instructions). Today’s conference is being recorded. If you have any objections you may disconnect at this time.

I will now turn the meeting over to the Executive Director of Investor Relations for Constellation, Mr. Carim Khouzami. Sir, you may begin.

Carim Khouzami

Thank you, and welcome to Constellation Energy’s second quarter earnings call. We appreciate you being with us this morning.

On slide two, before we begin our presentation, let me remind you that our comments today will include forward-looking statements, which are subject to certain risks and uncertainties. For a complete discussion of these risks we encourage you to read our documents on file with the SEC. Our presentation is being webcast and the slides are available on our website, which you can access at under Investor Relations.

On slide three, you will notice that we’ll use non-GAAP financial measures in this presentation to help you understand our operating performance. We have attached an appendix to the charts on the website reconciling non-GAAP measures to GAAP measures.

With that, I would like to turn the time over to Mayo Shattuck, Chairman, President and CEO of Constellation Energy.

Mayo Shattuck

Thank you, Carim. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us today. This morning we reported second quarter adjusted earnings of $0.71 per share. Including one-time items Constellation reported second quarter GAAP earnings of $0.36 per share. We are reaffirming our guidance range of $3.05 to $3.45 per share for 2010 and $3.25 to $3.65 per share for 2011. Jack will discuss this in more detail during the financial section of the presentation.

During the quarter our NewEnergy platform continues to perform well, our wholesale business had a successful quarter winning new business with strong margins and profitability. In addition, we had opportunities to purchase existing load contracts from other integrated companies at attractive returns.

Our retail business experienced a strong sales quarter, meeting or exceeding our plan for volume, gross margin originated, renewal and win rates, and equity returns on originated business. As we’ve spoken about during the quarter, originated unit margin declined as compared to previous quarters, Jack will speak more to this later in the presentation.

In the second quarter, we added more than 1,800 megawatts of additional capacity to our portfolio. This included closing on the purchase of the two 550-megawatt gas plants in Texas, and bringing our Hillabee gas plant in Alabama into commercial operation. This brings Constellation's total owned generating capacity to nearly 9,000 megawatts and continues effort to increase our physical generation footprint.

These plans provide working capital and collateral efficiencies for our NewEnergy business. In addition, during the quarter, the profitability outlook for our Generation fleet improved on the better-than-expected 2013 to 14 PJM auction clearing price for the MAAC zone. As you know, the majority of our non-nuclear generation is located in this region.

As was widely reported during the second quarter, BGE filed expected electric and gas distribution rate case with the Maryland PSC. It is important to note that BGEs last electric rate case was in 1993. In the 17 years since, BGE has continued to invest in safety and reliability, and has become an industry leader in operating efficiency.

Proceedings are underway and we anticipate the PFC will conclude its review by the end of this year. With regards to BGE smart grid initiative, this past month, the Maryland PSC issued a disappointing decision denying our application and with it the $200 million federal stimulus grant from the Department of Energy.

BGE has clarified and modified its proposal and filed for an expedited reconsideration by the PSC. The DOE has stated they intend to decide by July 30 if their grant might be redirected to another applicant. As we have explained to the PSC, because their schedule for review extends beyond that date, we cannot be certain that these funds will remain available to help reduce the cost of BGE customers. We are working hard to have this resolved favorably in the next several weeks.

Finally, in the federal policy arena, Congress recently passed the Financial Reform Bill and the Environmental Protection Agency has proposed to revise clean air transport rule. Both may have implications for industry and for Constellation specifically. Before I talk about these in more detail, I want to spend a few minutes on the status of our newer nuclear efforts at UniStar.

If you turn to slide five, as we've discussed many times over the past four years, the development of our new nuclear option requires that we mitigate a large number of risks. Most notably, given the scale and the development time of these projects, it was clear that we needed to acquire as much government support as possible as one step in de-risking such a large capital investment. Virtually all countries and jurisdictions in the world that are pursuing new nuclear plants have sovereign support either by ownership, or indirectly through policy and regulatory certainty.

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