Hawaiian Electric Industries' CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Hawaiian Electric Industries, Inc. (HE)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

May 9, 2012 1:00 PM ET

Executives

Shelee Kimura – Manager, IR and Strategic Planning

Connie Lau – President and CEO

Jim Ajello – EVP, CFO and Treasurer

Tayne Sekimura – SVP and CFO, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.

Dick Rosenblum – President and CEO, Hawaiian Electric Company, Inc.

Analysts

Ashar Khan – Visium

James Krapfel – Morningstar

James Bellessa – DA Davidson

Presentation

Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the First Quarter 2012 Hawaiian Electric Industries Earnings Conference Call. My name is Stacy, and I’ll be your conference moderator for today. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. We will conduct a question-and-answer session towards the end of the conference. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded for replay purposes.

I would now like to turn the presentation over to Ms. Shelee Kimura, Manager of Investor Relations and Strategic Planning. Please proceed.

Shelee Kimura

Thank you, Stacy, and welcome to Hawaiian Electric Industries’ first quarter 2012 earnings conference call. Joining us this morning are Connie Lau, HEI President and Chief Executive Officer; Jim Ajello, HEI Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer; Dick Rosenblum, Hawaiian Electric Company President and Chief Executive Officer; and Rich Wacker, American Savings Bank President and Chief Executive Officer, as well as other members of senior management.

Connie will provide an overview of the quarter and an update on our strategy. Jim will then update you on Hawaiian’s economy, our results for the quarter and outlook for the remainder of the year. Then, we will conclude with questions and answers.

Forward-looking statements will be made on today’s call. Please reference the accompanying disclosure to the webcast slides located on our website.

I’d now turn the call over to our CEO, Connie Lau.

Connie Lau

Thank you, Shelee, and aloha to everyone. We are off to a good start in 2012 with our performance tracking against 2012 objectives. At the utility, there were many constructive regulatory actions since the start of the year. With all three utilities now decoupled under Hawaii’s regulatory framework. Our bank continued to deliver solid performance. Profitability metrics remained strong, credit quality improved and our loan portfolio grew for the sixth consecutive quarter even as we remix the portfolio away from loan mortgages to control interest rate risks. Our bank remains one of the better performing banks in its class across the country.

Hawaii’s economy continues to improve albeit slowly and we remain cautiously optimistic about continued economic recovery going forward. We continue to make progress on our strategies and believe we are well positioned to continue to deliver attractive risk adjusted returns and earnings growth to our investors.

First quarter 2012 earnings were $0.40 per share, up from $0.30 per share in the same quarter last year primarily reflecting a recovery of cost approved for our Oahu utility in July of last year. As you can see on slide four, there has been positive momentum in our utility with numerous decisions rendered by the Hawaii Public Utilities Commission in just the few two months. Most notable were the final decisions in Hawaii Island and Maui County 2010 test year rate cases, which implemented decoupling. We are pleased to be able to report that all our utilities are now on the regulatory model. Jim will discuss the impact of our recent regulatory decision shortly.

On the clean energy front, out utility remained focused on integrated more renewable energy into our system, diversifying our fuel sources by adding renewable can stabilize customer bills in our jurisdiction, which increased approximately 40% in the last year, 90% of which would cause by higher oil prices. In the quarter the utilities added 16 megawatts of renewable energy contract. Renewable energy generation currently account for 12% of electric sales towards an RPS requirement of 15% by 2015 under Hawaiian law.

In addition HELCO filed a request with the PUC to acquire up to 50 megawatts of geothermal generation on the island of Hawaii through a competitive procurement process. On a broader note, our State achieved a clean energy milestone in a 2012 legislative session with the passage of a bill that establishes a framework for a future undersea cable project anticipated to be developed and owned by a third party.

Our utility continues to work towards contracting an additional 200 megawatt of renewable energy through the PUC ordered RFP which could include the cable.

Turning to bank, we had a solid first quarter, and we are on track to meet our 2012 performance target. We continue to track favorably with our high performing peers. We are consistently growing our loan portfolio at a steady rate in the low to mid single-digit range, while holding our operating cost down and we continue to post strong profitability metric in a difficult interest rate environment. The bank continues to maintain a slow risk profile, strong balance sheet, terrific funding base and straight forward business model.

Looking ahead we expect continued improvement in Hawaii’s economy which provides a constrictive contact for our businesses. The outlook for our company will be largely driven by our utilities facility to transitioned their operation that fully aligned with the new regulatory model and to manage the timely recovery of costs. We expect our Bank to continue to be a strong contributor to the consolidated enterprise and it should provide upside leverage as the economy recovers. Overall, the combination of our two companies continues to provide value for shareholders, with the Bank providing a strong and steady source of cash and capital and our utility investment to help recover these aggressive cost of goals to reduce our state dependent on oil

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