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

Sempra Energy (SRE)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 03, 2012 1:00 pm ET


Richard A. Vaccari - Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer

Debra L. Reed - Chief Executive Officer, Director and Chairman of Executive Committee

Joseph A. Householder - Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer and Executive Vice President

Mark A. Snell - President


Stephen Byrd - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Kit Konolige - Konolige Research, LLC

Paul Patterson - Glenrock Associates LLC

Greg Gordon - ISI Group Inc., Research Division

Ashar Khan

Mark Barnett - Morningstar Inc., Research Division

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



Good day, and welcome to the Sempra Energy First Quarter Earnings Call. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mr. Rick Vaccari. Please go ahead, sir.

Richard A. Vaccari

Good morning, and thank you for joining us. I'm Rick Vaccari, Vice President of Investor Relations. This morning, we'll be discussing Sempra Energy's First Quarter 2012 Financial Results. A live webcast of this teleconference and slide presentation is available on our website under the Investors section.

With us today in San Diego are several members of our management team, including Debbie Reed, Chief Executive Officer; Mark Snell, President; Joe Householder, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Bruce Folkmann, Acting Controller.

Before starting, I'd like to remind everyone that we will be discussing forward-looking statements on this call within the meaning of Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those discussed today. The factors that could cause our actual results to differ materially are discussed in the company's reports filed with the SEC. I'd also like to note that the forward-looking statements contained in this presentation speak only as of today, May 3, 2012, and the company does not assume any obligation to update or revise any of these forward-looking statements in the future.

With that, I'll turn it over to Debbie.

Debra L. Reed

Thanks, Rick, and I thank all of you for joining us today. Before we get started, I wanted to note that Rick Vaccari is with us today in his new role as Vice President of Investor Relations, which he assumed following our analyst conference. Rick takes over for Steve Davis, who is now Senior Vice President of External Affairs. If you haven't had a chance to meet Rick, I trust you will very soon.

I'd also like to thank those of you who joined us here in San Diego for the analyst conference at the end of March, and those of you who participated in the webcast. It was a great opportunity for us to meet many of you and to show you how we plan to produce above average long-term earnings growth and support a competitive and growing dividend going forward.

Now, on today's call, I'd like to accomplish 2 things. We'll review our first quarter financial results, and then we'll give you an operational update on our businesses. Let's begin with our financial results. Earlier this morning, we reported first-quarter earnings of $236 million or $0.97 per share, compared with $254 million or $1.05 per share in the same period last year. All of our businesses performed well, and we're on track to meet our earnings guidance for 2012, which is $4 to $4.30 per share. You'll note that this is the first quarter of reporting our financial results under our new operating unit structure.

We now have 6 reporting segments, which include our 2 California utilities, SDG&E and SoCalGas. We have 2 reportable segments within Sempra International, the South American Utilities and Mexico segments. And finally, we have Sempra U.S. Gas & Power, which consists of the Renewables and Natural Gas segments.

Now, let me hand it over to Joe so he can take you through some of the details of the financial results beginning with Slide 4.

Joseph A. Householder

Thanks, Debbie. At San Diego Gas & Electric, earnings for the first quarter were $105 million, up from $89 million in the year-ago quarter. The increase in earnings was primarily due to higher equity AFUDC earnings compared to the year-ago period, driven by the construction of the Sunrise Powerlink project that is very near completion.

Moving on to Southern California Gas, first quarter 2012 earnings were $66 million, compared to $68 million in the first quarter of 2011. I'd like to point out that until we receive final decisions in the SDG&E and SoCalGas general rate cases, we will be recording revenues based upon our 2011 authorized levels with no attrition plus an adjustment for the actual incremental costs of wildfire insurance premiums at SDG&E. Once those general rate cases are resolved, we will expect to -- which we expect to occur in the second half of this year, we'll record the cumulative impact of the decision from January 1 through the quarter in which the final decision is issued.

Now let's go to Slide 5. Within the Sempra International operating unit, we have 2 reporting segments, as Debbie just mentioned. At our South American Utilities, which includes the electric distribution utilities in Chile and Peru, earnings were $40 million in the first quarter of 2012, that's up from $22 million last year. The $18 million increase was due to higher earnings as a result of the acquisition of the controlling interest in our 2 South American utilities in April 2011. Our Mexican operations include the Energia Costa Azul LNG terminal, natural gas pipelines, the joint venture we have at Pemex, the Mexicali natural gas fuel generation plant, as well as the small natural gas distribution business.

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