PPL (PPL) Q1 2012 Earnings Call May 04, 2012 9:00 am ET Executives Joe Bergstein - William H. Spence - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of Executive Committee Paul A. Farr - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President Gregory N. Dudkin - President of The Pennsylvania Delivery Operation David G. DeCampli - President and President of PPL Energy Supply LLC Rick L. Klingensmith - President and Vice President of Finance Analysts Dan Eggers - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division Kit Konolige - Konolige Research, LLC Justin C. McCann - S&P Equity Research Paul Patterson - Glenrock Associates LLC Anthony C. Crowdell - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division Julien Dumoulin-Smith - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division Andrew Bischof - Morningstar Inc., Research Division Paul T. Ridzon - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division Steven I. Fleishman - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division Raymond M. Leung - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division Brian Chin - Citigroup Inc, Research Division Ashar Khan Presentation Operator
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At this time, I'd like to turn the call over to Bill Spence, PPL Chairman, President and CEO.William H. Spence Thanks, Joe and good morning, everyone. Thanks for joining us on the call today. We appreciate your continued interest in PPL, and as always, we look forward to answering your questions. To facilitate more interaction on these calls, we're going to be condensing our prepared remarks today and we also have all 4 business unit presidents with us for the Q&A. Joining us today are Vic Staffieri, President and Chief Executive Officer of LG&E and KU, which is our Kentucky Regulated segment; Rick Klingensmith, President of PPL Global, who has responsibility for our United Kingdom Regulated segment and our Energy Services business; Greg Dudkin, President of PPL Electric Utilities, our Pennsylvania Regulated segment; and Dave DeCampli, President of our Competitive Market Supply segment; and of course, Paul Farr is joining us, our CFO. First I'll kick off the call with an overview of our first quarter results and operational highlights for the first 3 months of the year, then Paul will provide more details on our segment performance for the quarter. Following his remarks, we'll turn to your questions. With that, let's go ahead and get started. Today we announced reported first quarter earnings of $0.93 per share, up from $0.82 in the first quarter of 2011. Earnings from ongoing operations for the quarter were $0.70 per share compared with $0.84 a share in the same period last year. Our first quarter earnings from ongoing operations reflect $0.14 per share of dilution from our April 2011 common stock issuance to finance our acquisition of the Midlands utilities in the U.K. As you can see in our segment results for the quarter, we had very strong performance in the U.K., including the successful integration of the Midlands operations. These quarterly results demonstrate the value of our expansion and into diversified regulatory jurisdictions and the attainment of a more predictable earnings profile. While our Competitive Supply segment has become a relatively smaller piece of the pie, our Supply team continues to successfully navigate through these very challenging commodity markets. Paul will go into additional details on a segment-by-segment basis but the weather-driven weakness in our Domestic Regulated businesses were offset by the strength of our U.K. operations and very good Supply segment performance.
So despite the impact of the mild winter, our first quarter results keep us solidly on track to achieve our 2012 earnings forecast. Today we are reaffirming our forecast of $2.11 -- or rather, $2.15 to $2.45 per share in earnings from ongoing operations.Now let's turn to a brief operational overview for the quarter. Starting in the U.K., Western Power Distribution has fully integrated the Midlands operations on schedule and within budget. As you can see from the slides in the appendix to today's presentation, WPD employees have already made dramatic improvements in performance, resulting in material benefits not only for our customers but our shareholders as well. Our current assessment in the case that annual cash cost savings, for the Midlands operations, will be higher than what we projected during the acquisition announcement and equity financing last spring. These cost reductions are not coming at the expense of customer service, rather just the opposite. In just 12 months Midland customers have seen a 40% reduction in customer minutes lost, an important measure of performance in the U.K. We've also accomplished a 96% reduction in customers out of service for more than 18 hours, a 26% improvement in the number of customers restored in just 1 hour, and a 22% improvement in the number of interruptions per 100 customers. These customer service performance improvements will result in additional incentive revenues in the future for WPD. We also believe that these improvements will further cement WPD's reputation as the gold standard for network operations in the U.K. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com