Suncor Energy's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Suncor Energy (SU)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 01, 2012 9:30 am ET


Steve Douglas - Vice President of Investor Relations

Richard L. George - Chief Executive Officer and Non Independent Management Director

Steven W. Williams - President, Chief Operating Officer and Director

Bart W. Demosky - Chief Financial Officer


Brian C. Dutton - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Arjun N. Murti - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

George Toriola - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Paul Y. Cheng - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Greg M. Pardy - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Gil Alexandre

David McColl - Morningstar Inc., Research Division

Ben Hobratsch



Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the Suncor First Quarter 2012 Conference Call and Webcast. I would now like to turn the meeting over to Mr. Steve Douglas, Vice President, Investor Relations. Mr. Douglas, please go ahead.

Steve Douglas

Well, thank you, Matt, and welcome, everyone. With me here in the room in Calgary, we have Rick George, our outgoing CEO; Steve Williams, our President and incoming CEO; Bart Demosky, our Chief Financial Officer; and we also have Jolienne Guillemaud, our Controller; and Greg Freidin, our Assistant Controller, along with Jenna van Steenbergen, our IR Analyst. Just before we get started, I will advise you of the following.

You should note that today's comments contain forward-looking information. Actual results may differ materially from expected results because of various risk factors and assumptions described in our Q1 earnings release. And both of these are available on SEDAR and EDGAR and our website,

Certain financial measures referred to in the comments are not prescribed by Canadian Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, and for a description of these, please see also our first quarter earnings release. With that, I will hand over to Rick George for his comments.

Richard L. George

Thanks, Steve, and good morning, everyone. As you're all aware, this is my final quarterly call at Suncor. It was -- we announced last December that I'd officially be retiring at today's AGM and that is going to happen. Steve Williams will become Suncor's new CEO. Since that announcement, we've worked hard on a smooth transition, and I think it's been very successful. Steve and his team are already driving tremendous results. In just a few minutes, I'll hand over to Steve and to Bart to talk about the strong start to 2012.

Before I do that, I just thought I'd take just a couple of minutes to have a look at where Suncor finds itself as we begin this next chapter here. When we took Suncor public 20 years ago, it was in 1992, we had a little over 70,000 barrels a day of oil production and a market capital of about $1 billion. Today, of course, we're over 550,000 barrels and have a market cap of just over $50 billion. It's a track record that obviously I'm very proud of, and when I thought about today's call, I thought, listen, even though you got to kind of sit through this, I thought I would give kind of my very short list of what I'm the most proud of in terms of from a shareholder's perspective.

So the 3 things are, first of all, over that 20-year period since becoming public in 1992, we've actually averaged a compounded annual return in excess of 20%, that is per year, something I'm very proud of over that time period. The fact is that if you'd invested $100 in Suncor in 1992, that today would be valued at over $4,500 if you had reinvested all your dividends. Over that same period of time, Suncor has paid out over $3.5 billion in dividends and, of course, we'll get to that later in this call about what happened yesterday at the board meeting.

Now Steve Williams has been instrumental in driving Suncor's improved reliability through our operational excess management system, a program which he spearheaded. Thanks to the engaged employees, a strong operational reliability, prudent cash management and a superb set of assets, Suncor has been able to take advantage of higher oil prices to fortify our balance sheet and deliver what I see is very strong free cash flow, which will be continuing here for the years ahead.

Looking forward, Suncor is blessed with great people, a great resource base and a balance sheet to deliver tremendous return to shareholders for many years to come. Even as I turn over the reins, I'm excited about what's in store for the future for this great company. I know that Steve and his entire ELT, Executive Leadership Team, will continue to drive this company forward on a course that maximizes long-term shareholder value.

Before I pass it onto Steve, I just like to thank all of my colleagues at Suncor, our Board of Directors, our investors, many of you have stuck with me over the 20-year period, many of our other stakeholders who have contributed greatly to the Suncor success story. It's been an incredible ride that I'm generally -- I believe that the best is yet to come. So we're off to a great start for 2012, and I'm going to pass it over to Steve who will tell you all about that. Thank you very much.

Steven W. Williams

Thanks, Rick, and before I begin, I should take a moment to acknowledge your leadership these past years. You've been the driving force behind Suncor's transformation from a small oil sands pioneer into Canada's largest energy company. I'm both honored and excited as we prepare to write the next chapter in the Suncor story. With all we've accomplished in the past years, Suncor is in a great position now to move forward with a high-performing base business, a strong balance sheet and a disciplined and profitable growth strategy. The strength of our integrated business model shown through once again this quarter, as we're able to put up strong results despite significant discounts on Canadian crudes, an unplanned outage in our oil sands plant and relatively soft downstream demand.

Read the rest of this transcript for free on