Vectren (VVC) Q2 2012 Earnings Call August 02, 2012 3:00 pm ET Executives Robert L. Goocher - Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer Carl L. Chapman - Chairman of the Board, Chief Executive Officer and President Jerome A. Benkert - Chief Financial Officer, Executive Vice President, President of Vectren Shared Services and Director of VUHI Analysts Sarah Akers - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division Presentation Operator
With that, I'll turn it over to Carl.Carl L. Chapman Thanks, Robert. I'd also like to welcome everyone to today's call, and as always, we appreciate your interest in Vectren. Turning to Slide 3 and 4, I'd like to start by saying I'm very pleased with our second quarter and year-to-date results, which were well above earnings levels in 2011. Consolidated net income for the second quarter was $25.6 million or $0.31 per share, compared to net income of $15.1 million or $0.19 per share in 2011. Year-to-date, 2012 earnings were $76.9 million or $0.94 per share compared to $59.7 million or $0.73 per share in 2011. Utility group second quarter earnings were up almost $4 million over the prior-year period, primarily due to the new electric base rates implemented in May 2011. In addition, interest expense associated with our utility operations is lower in 2012, and last year, we were able to refinance a portion of our long-term debt and take advantage of the low interest rate environment. Overall, our utility group's strong first half of 2012 has put us in position to earn at or near our allowed returns in 2012, a goal we established back in February. Nonutility results also showed improvement in the quarter, up $6.5 million over 2011. The exceptional performance of our Infrastructure Services segment, reflecting strong demand for its services and favorable construction conditions, led the way for the improved nonutility results. In addition, ProLiance results have improved as expected over the corresponding 2011 period, primarily due to lower fixed demand cost. Second quarter and year-to-date nonutility earnings were hampered, however, by the disappointing performance of our Coal Mining segment, which like many other Coal Mining operations, has been impacted by weak demand across the industry. Jerry will provide some details later around our outlook for Coal Mining for the remainder of 2012.
Now let me just share a few broad thoughts about Vectren's investment in Coal Mining. Our performance year-to-date, and expected loss for the year, is driven by nearly 2 million tons of lower-than-expected sales due to mild winter and low natural gas prices. While demand softness, due to the inventory build, may carry into 2013, we continue to be confident in the long-term outlook for Illinois Basin coal and believe that delays in the execution of term contracts are directly related to the temporary high coal inventory levels of current and potential customers.At Central Appalachian, coal production continues to decline, and scrubbers continue to be installed in order to meet the EPA air quality standards. We believe our coal mines are well positioned to capture future sales when demand recovers. Market indicators suggest improving demand in 2013, with supply and demand more in balance by 2014. While I'm not able to give specific guidance for 2013, we are hopeful of greater sales and improvement beyond that in 2014. With that said, we're not satisfied with current results from our Coal Mining segment and are aggressively pursuing new contracts, including spot and export sales, in order to secure better short-term as well as long-term results. As we've previously stated, the execution of additional term contracts will allow us to give greater clarity on the timing of opening the second mine at our Oaktown, Indiana mining complex. In the meantime, we are completing the remaining development work in order to be positioned to open this to mine, and sales contracts will support the additional production. Somewhat offsetting the weakness in the coal mining operations was the continued outstanding performance of our Infrastructure Services business, which continues to exceed our expectations. Read the rest of this transcript for free on seekingalpha.com