American Electric Power (AEP)

Q3 2011 Earnings Call

October 26, 2011 9:00 am ET


Brian X. Tierney - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Charles E. Zebula - Senior Vice President and Treasurer

Michael G. Morris - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, Chairman Of Executive Committee, Member Of Policy Committee, Chairman Of American Electric Power Service Corporation, Chairman Of Appalachian Power Company, Chairman Of Ohio Power Company, Chairman Of Southwestern Electric Power Company, Chief Executive Officer Of American Electric Power Service Corporation, Chief Executive Officer Of Appalachian Power Company, Chief Executive Officer Of Ohio Power Company And Chief Executive Officer Of Southwestern Electric Po


Michael J. Lapides - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Dan Eggers - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Jonathan P. Arnold - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Paul Patterson - Glenrock Associates LLC

Greg Gordon - ISI Group Inc., Research Division

Paul T. Ridzon - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Steven I. Fleishman - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division



Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome at the Third Quarter 2011 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] And as a reminder, today's conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Treasurer and Senior Vice President, Chuck Zebula. Please go ahead.

Charles E. Zebula

Thank you, Cary. Good morning, and welcome to the 2011 Third Quarter Earnings Webcast of American Electric Power. Our earnings release and related financial information are available on our website, The presentation slides are also available on our website.

Today, we will be making forward-looking statements during the call. There are many factors that may cause future results to differ materially from these statements. Please refer to our SEC filings for a discussion of the factors that may cause results to differ from management's forecast.

Joining me this morning are Mike Morris, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Brian Tierney, our Chief Financial Officer. We will take your questions following their remarks. I will now turn the call over to Mike.

Michael G. Morris

Thanks, Chuck and it's nice when you get Brian's name corrected, it shows how close we all work together. Welcome to everybody else on the phone, happy to have you here. We're always pleased to be the first in the day, and equally important to be the first in the quarter. Looking forward to share with you a number of very interesting successes that we had in a very successful third quarter, for both our shareholders and our customers.

I'm almost amazed that Page 2, it's that the detailed requirement to tell you to be cautious about what you hear. And I know you all do that, because you always do and you write appropriately about how you think American Electric Power is doing.

If we turn to Page 3, let me detail for you some of those successes that we are really quite pleased with. First off, on ongoing earnings, we had $1.17 a share, which is $0.02 or $15 million higher than in Q3 2010, and I think what all of us could consider to be a very shaky economy as compared to what we saw in the latter part of 2010 when things appeared to be recovering.

Secondly, our GAAP earnings reflecting the appropriate decision by the Texas Supreme Court, were substantially higher than Q3 of 2010 by $373 million. I'll talk a little bit more about the Supreme Court decision a little later.

Thirdly, we are announcing a tightening of our 2011 forecast to $3.07 to $3.17 as a range, are moving from the $3.10 to the $3.20, or the $3.20 that we had been working with as our forecast for 2011. Brian will touch a bit on 2012 as he gives his update.

And lastly, or most importantly, on this particular page, the Board of Directors had decided yesterday to increase the dividend by 2.2% or a full $0.01 per share, which takes us on an annual basis to $1.88. And for me anyways, pretty enjoyable to see a consecutive dividend increase for the 8 years of my tenure as Chief Executive Officer of American Electric Power Company.

We also announced yesterday that we intend to redeem all of the preferred shares of our operating subsidiaries that will allow us to experience a few million dollars per year in earnings in '12 and beyond. We think it was the appropriate thing to do, and the appropriate time to do that.

And lastly, and I would think most importantly, yesterday the Board of Directors in keeping with our long-stated succession planning, elected Nick Atkins to succeed me as Chief Executive Officer and President of American Electric Power on 11/11/11. Nick actually becomes the 10th President of American Electric Power in its over 100-year history, and only the sixth Chief Executive Officer, as for years in the early go most corporations didn't have that slot filled.

I'm really pleased that Nick will continue to take the very conservative shareholder customer review that we've established at American Electric Power, continue to give the operating company presidents plenty of runway difficult decisions. But he and others will always keep a sharp eye on the most important positions that need to be made. With a C-level team, made up of Nick, and Brian Tierney as CFO, Bob Powers, David Feinberg and Dennis Weltz, I really feel pretty comfortable about the team that Nick will be working with. And of course, as Chair, I'll be able to sit back and add some advice when and if it's needed, but most importantly, just simply enjoy the ride myself.

Let me turn to Page 4, and talk about some of the other really significant events that happened during Q3. I know there is much worry and concern about the first point on the top of this page, but I must tell you that we were quite pleased to reach a settlement and file a stipulation in the ongoing 2012 through '15 Electric Security Plan here in Ohio. All but 3 folks agreed with the stipulation. Many of the other companies that would market into Ohio are obviously, as you all know, the other industrial energy users, which is a bit difficult to understand because their individual customers receive pretty substantial rate decreases by the stip. But of course, FirstEnergy Solutions and OCC weren't signatories to the undertaking, but that is a really of no concern because we expect that there would be a debate and there has been. We fully expect an order to be issued by the end the year, and we think that will give a great clarity to one of the overhanging issues that is of concern to you and on us and our Board of Directors and that is the path forward in Ohio.

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