DTE Energy Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

DTE Energy (DTE)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 27, 2012 9:00 am ET


David E. Meador - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President and Member of Internal Risk Management Committee

Peter B. Oleksiak - Vice President, Controller and Investor Relations Officer

Nick A. Khouri - Vice President of Regulatory Affairs and Member of Internal Risk Management Committee


Kevin Cole - Crédit Suisse AG, Research Division

Jonathan P. Arnold - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Brian Chin - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Mark Barnett - Morningstar Inc., Research Division

Andrew Weisel - Macquarie Research

Paul Patterson - Glenrock Associates LLC

James D. von Riesemann - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division



Good day, and welcome to the DTE Energy Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Release Conference Call. Today's conference is being recorded. [Operator Instructions] At this time, I would like to the covers over to Dave Meador. Please go ahead.

David E. Meador

Thank you, Evelyn, and good morning, everybody, and thank you for joining us for our second quarter earnings call. Looking at Page 2 just briefly before we get started, I encourage you to read the Safe Harbor statement, including the reference to forward-looking statements.

And if you'll turn to Page 3, with me this morning are Peter Oleksiak, our Vice President and Controller; Nick Khouri, our Vice President and Treasurer; and Mark Rolling, our Director of Investor Relations. I also have some members of the management team with me in the room and on the phone if needed during the Q&A period.

But before I jump into the second quarter, I'd like to take a moment just to update you on some recent announcement and management changes here on the finance and regulatory team as we continue to build and sustain just an outstanding finance and regulatory group.

Effective September 1, Peter Oleksiak has been promoted to Senior Vice President of Finance, and he'll have responsibility for the controller's organization and treasury, which includes Investor Relations. Nick, who has been our Treasurer for over 11 years now, will assume the role of Vice President of Regulatory Affairs. And Dan Brudzynski, who is currently in the regulatory role will replace Nick as Vice President and Treasurer, and Dan will also have Investor Relations reporting to him. So Nick and Dan are effectively trading places.

With these changes, this marks the last quarterly earnings call for Nick in the Treasurer's office and I want to take a moment to express my appreciation to Nick for the passion and expertise he's brought to the Treasury group and the important role that he's played in working with the management team, the Board of Directors and the financial community to help DTE Energy achieve some great successes over these years, including pulling through some of the toughest economic times like 2008 and '09 that hopefully, we will ever see in our life.

Many of you have met Dan, and he's been involved in a number of Investor Relation events over the years, and you can look forward to seeing him going forward. And finally, congratulations to Peter on his well-deserved promotion. And you're not going to lose sight of Nick. He's only 50 feet from my office and he's going to continue to be involved with the investment and credit community.

So turning to Page 4. This morning, we're going to cover our second quarter results and give you an update on some growth projects at our utilities and the nonutilities. So let me kick this off then on Slide 5. We like to ground all of our discussions with investors in what we call our investment thesis, as we believe this concisely summarizes the compelling reasons to invest in DTE Energy.

We have a disciplined growth plan that'll provide a 5% to 6% long-term earning growth per share. And when combined with our attractive dividend, provides a 9% to 10% total shareholder return. And all of this is underpinned by one of our key priorities and that's maintaining a strong balance sheet.

Both utilities have robust growth plans. At Detroit Edison, the growth is driven primarily by mandated environmental controls and renewable energy. While at MichCon, the growth is driven by infrastructure investments, including cast iron main replacement work and a program to move gas meters that are currently inside customers' homes to outside customers' homes.

We have a constructive regulatory structure in Michigan, which is supported by a solid legislation that was passed in 2008. And we know it's our responsibility to turn this construct everyday. We utilize our continuous improvement capabilities in everything we do to control cost and we are very focused on minimizing rate increases to our customers in providing our customers with a great level of service they deserve.

We continue to see attractive growth opportunities in our non-utility businesses as well, particularly in the Power & Industrial group and the Gas Storage & Pipelines. And I have some updates that I'll share with you this morning on those businesses.

So if you'll turn to Page 6. I'll provide an overview of the quarter. Our operating earnings per share for the second quarter came in at $0.86 compared with $0.65 in the second quarter of last year. Like much of the Midwest, the summer here in Michigan is off to a warmer-than-normal start, and actually we're on a track to possibly one of the warmest summers on record. And that translates into strong earnings at Detroit Edison.

As a reminder, Detroit Edison was decoupled for weather during the second quarter of 2011. So if you're looking at quarter-over-quarter, year-over-year analysis, the warm weather last year didn't flow through to the bottom line.

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