Pinnacle West Capital Corporation's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Pinnacle West Capital Corporation (PNW)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 03, 2012 01:30 pm ET

Executives

Becky Hickman - Director, IR

Jim Hatfield - CFO

Don Brandt Chairman & CEO

Analysts

Shar Pourreza - Citigroup

Kevin Cole - Credit Suisse

Greg Gordon - ISI Group

Ali Agha - SunTrust

Brian Russo - Ladenburg Thalmann

Jim Krapfel - Morningstar

Paul Patterson - Glenrock Associates

Presentation

Operator

Greetings, and welcome to the Pinnacle West Capital Corporation 2011 first quarter earnings conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, Becky Hickman, Director of Investor Relations. Thank you, Ms. Hickman, you may begin.

Becky Hickman

Thank you, Claudia. I’d like to thank everyone for participating in this conference call and webcast to review our first quarter 2012 earnings, recent developments and operating performance. Our speakers today will be our Chairman and CEO, Don Brandt; and our CFO, Jim Hatfield. Jeff Guldner, who is APS Vice President of Rates and Regulation is also here with us.

Before I turn the call over to our speakers, I need to cover a few details with you. First, the slides to which we refer are available on our Investor Relations website, along with our earnings release and related information. Please note that the slides contain reconciliations of certain non-GAAP financial information. Also, all of our references to per share amounts will be after income taxes and based on diluted shares outstanding.

It is my responsibility to advise you that this call and our slides contain forward-looking statements based on current expectations, and the company assumes no obligation to update these statements. Because the actual results may differ materially from expectations, we caution you not to place undue reliance on these statements.

Our first quarter 2012 Form 10-Q was filed this morning. Please refer to that document for forward-looking statements, cautionary language as well as the MD&A section, which identifies risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in our forward-looking statements. A replay of this call will be available on our website for the next 30 days. It will also be available by telephone through May 10.

At this point, I’ll turn the call over to Jim.

Jim Hatfield

Thank you, Becky. The topics I will discuss today are outlined on slide four. First I will review the consolidated first-quarter results and discuss the main variances from last year's corresponding quarter. Second I'll provide a brief update on the status outlook for the Arizona economy and last I will close with brief comments on our liquidity and financing activities.

Slide five summarizes our reported and ongoing earnings for the quarter. On GAAP basis for this year's first quarter we reported a consolidated net loss attributable to common shareholders of $8 million or $0.08 per share compared to a net loss of $15 million or $0.14 per share for the prior year's first quarter. Our ongoing earnings increased $0.08 per share. For the 2012 first quarter we had consolidated ongoing loss of $7 million or $0.07 per share versus an ongoing loss of $16 million or $0.15 per share for the comparable quarter a year ago.

Slide six contains a reconciliation of our first quarter GAAP earnings per share to our ongoing earnings per share. The amount for both quarters exclude results related to our discontinued real estate and energy services businesses. My remaining comments on the quarter will focus on our ongoing results.

Moving to slide seven, you see the variances that drove the change in quarterly ongoing earnings per share. First, an increase in our gross margins added one penny per share compared against the prior year's first-quarter earnings. Several plusses and minuses comprises positive net variance and I will cover those items in more detail on the next slide.

Second lower operations and maintenance expense improved earnings by $0.07 per share. The expense decrease largely reflects lower fossil plant maintenance cost as a result of less work being completed early in the year compared to 2011 as well as the net decrease in other items.

This on end variance excludes expenses related to the Renewable Energy Standard or RAS, energy efficiency, similar regulatory programs as well as the 2011 first quarter settlement of transmission rights, away costs, all of which were essentially offset by comparable revenue amounts. Third, lower infrastructure related costs increased earnings by $0.03 per share reflecting both lower interest charges and lower depreciation and amortization associated with the 20-year license extension granted last year by the NRC for the Palo Verde Nuclear Generating Station.

Those cost reductions were partially offset by higher property tax related to tax rates. Fourth, the net impact of all other items decreased earnings by $0.03 per share. Finally our first-quarter 2012 earnings benefited $0.02 per share because of the Arizona (inaudible) plants that were placed in service last year and earlier this year.

This net variance is reflected in various items on the income statement. Total gross margin was up one penny per share compared to the 2011 first quarter. The main components of that increase were as follows. The Retail Transmission Cost Adjustor rate increase that became effective July 1 st of 2011 improved earnings by $0.03 per share. Line extension fees recorded as revenue pursuant to 2009 retail regulatory settlement improved our results by $0.02 per share.

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