PNM Resources' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

PNM Resources (PNM)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 04, 2012 11:00 am ET

Executives

Lisa Eden -

Patricia K. Vincent-Collawn - Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and President

Charles N. Eldred - Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President

Analysts

Justin C. McCann - S&P Equity Research

Paul B. Fremont - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Brian J. Russo - Ladenburg Thalmann & Co. Inc., Research Division

Ali Agha - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division

Unknown Analyst

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the PNM Resources First Quarter Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to your host, Ms. Lisa Eden, Director of Investor Relations. Lisa, you may begin.

Lisa Eden

Thank you, everyone for joining us this morning for a discussion of the company's 2012 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. Please note that the presentation for this conference call and supporting documents are available on PNM Resources website at www.pnmresources.com.

Joining me today are PNM Resources Chairman, President and CEO, Pat Vincent-Collawn; and Chuck Eldred, our CFO; as well as several members of our executive management team.

Before I turn the call over to Pat, I need to remind you that some of the information provided this morning should be considered forward-looking statements pursuant to the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. We caution you that all of the forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations and estimates, and that PNM Resources assumes no obligation to update this information.

For a detailed discussion of factors affecting PNM Resources' results, please refer to our current and future annual reports on Form 10-K and the quarterly reports on Form 10-Q, as well as current reports and future reports on Form 8-K filed with the SEC.

With that, I turn the call over to Pat.

Patricia K. Vincent-Collawn

Thank you, Lisa. Good morning, everyone, and I'd like to add my thanks to all of you for joining us this morning.

Let me start the presentation on Slide 4 and we'll review our first quarter performance. This morning we released our first quarter ongoing earnings of $0.17 per diluted share, compared with 2011 results of $0.04.

On a GAAP basis, we finished the quarter at $0.21 per diluted share.

For PNM, results were considerably stronger as a result of rate relief and our ongoing efforts to reduce cost. We don't expect the 2011 rate increase to have such substantial impacts during the summer months as they did during the first quarter. The first quarter results were enhanced by rate structure impacts of the 2011 rate increase and we discussed those impacts previously. Those impacts are going to be less pronounced during the summer months this year.

For TNMP, the impact of the 2011 rate increase was offset by a mild winter. While Chuck will discuss the specifics of our financial performance, I just want to take a quick second by mentioning that we do have good news on the credit ratings front as our corporate ratings and debt ratings for PNM Resources and TNMP were all upgraded last month by Standard & Poor's.

Let's turn to Slide 5 for a brief discussions on economic conditions and utility load growth. If you look at load growth for both PNM and TNMP, we presented them both as weather-normalized and then leap-year and nonleap year normalized. PNM's quarterly load declined $0.3, compared with the same period last year. However, if you take out the leap year adjustments, load was up 0.8%.

Since we budgeted for a 366-day year this year, we expect 2012 load growth to finish within our previously disclosed range of 0.5% to 1.5% for 2012.

PNM's rolling 12-month retail sales growth rate through March of 2012 is 0.8%, which is the midpoint of our expected load growth range this year.

Customer growth at PNM was also up 0.3% for the quarter and we saw both residential and commercial customer growth here in New Mexico.

TNMP's quarterly load declined 0.5% compared with a year ago, but on a nonleap adjusted basis, it is up 0.6%.

TNMP's rolling 12-month retail sales growth rate through March of 2012 was 0.7%.

We also saw customer growth at TNMP of 0.6%, driven primarily by residential customer growth.

While the industrial segment at TNMP has significant drop in load, you'll remember that industrial users represent only about 3.5% to 4% of all TNMP retail sales, so the impact is very minor compared with what you see at other utilities.

We did not see any major closings of industrial customers or other indicators that say this is going to be an ongoing issue.

And like at PNM, we expect TNMP to end the year within the previously-disclosed load growth guidance range of 0.5% to 1.5%.

Our economic conditions here continue to improve in both New Mexico and Texas. Both states continue to fare better than the national average when it comes to unemployment. While the New Mexico rate is slightly higher than it has been in the recent past, you'll remember that several quarters ago, we and others had questioned the New Mexico unemployment rate, knowing that it would likely be revised upward. Indeed, previous rates have been restated and the current 7.2% unemployment range in New Mexico reflects that change.

On the employment growth side of the equation, New Mexico gained 4,700 jobs for March '11 to March '12. We continue to expect the recovery to be a little slower than we'd like, but we are seeing improvements in this area. Just recently, Bendix King, a subsidiary of Honeywell, announced that it was creating a factory here and Lowe's has announced it will be opening up a major customer service center here in Albuquerque.

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