The AES Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

The AES (AES)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 06, 2012 10:00 am ET

Executives

Ahmed Pasha - Vice President of Investor Relations

Andres Ricardo Gluski - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director and Chairman of Finance & Investment Committee

Mary E. Wood - Interim Chief Financial Officer, Chief Accounting Officer, Vice President and Controller

Andrew Martin Vesey - Chief Operating Officer of Utilities and Executive Vice President

Edward C. Hall - Chief Operating Officer of Generation and Executive Vice President

Analysts

Jonathan Cohen - ISI Group Inc., Research Division

Angie Storozynski - Macquarie Research

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

Charles J. Fishman - Morningstar Inc., Research Division

Gregg Orrill - Barclays Capital, Research Division

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

Brian Chin - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Welcome and thank you all for standing by. [Operator Instructions] Today's conference is being recorded and if you have objections, please disconnect. I'll be turning the conference call over now to your first speaker for today, Ahmed Pasha. Sir, you may begin.

Ahmed Pasha

Thank you, Kelly. Good morning, and welcome to our Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Call. Our earnings release presentation and related financial information are available on our website at aes.com.

Today, we will be making forward-looking statements during the call. There are many factors that may cause future results to differ materially from these statements. Please refer to our SEC filings for a discussion of these factors.

Joining me to this morning are Andres Gluski, our President and Chief Executive Officer; Mary Wood, our Interim Chief Financial Officer; and other senior members of our management team.

With that, I will now turn the call over to Andres.

Andres Ricardo Gluski

Thanks, Ahmed, and good morning, everyone. Thank you for joining our Second Quarter Earnings Call. Let me start by saying that I'm very pleased to announce that Tom O'Flynn will be joining us as our new CFO in September. Tom is a great addition to our management team and brings a strong combination of financial skills, senior corporate experience and extensive knowledge of the energy and infrastructure sectors. I'm looking forward to working with Tom to execute on our plans to deliver long-term value to our shareholders. I would also like to take a moment to thank Mary Wood for doing a great job as Interim CFO over the past 90 days. Once Tom is on board, Mary will resume her prior position in the finance organization as our Controller.

Now as you might have seen in our press release, we earned $0.18 of adjusted EPS for the second quarter. And although this is below last year's level, our result, year-to-date, of $0.55 are in line with our commitment to our full year guidance. Mary will walk you through the specific drivers later in this call.

Turning to Slide 3. I will provide you with an update on the strategic plan that we laid out late last year to unlock shareholder value. I will then discuss some of the key macro trends affecting the portfolio, as well as recent developments at our more significant businesses. And following Mary's review of our financial results, I will discuss our capital allocation planned for the remainder of the year.

Moving to Slide 4. And just as a reminder, our 3 strategic objectives for unlocking shareholder value are: one, optimizing capital allocation; two, growing the profitability of the existing portfolio; and three, narrowing our geographic and business focus by selling nonstrategic assets. We feel we're making good progress on executing on the strategic plans we laid out. Regarding the narrowing of our geographic focus, we have raised $800 million through asset sales, exited several non-core markets and invested most of these proceeds to strengthen our balance sheet. At the same time, we're improving the profitability of our business by cutting cost, exploiting scale in synergies and making high return investments based on our existing platforms.

Now turning to Slide 5. Let me provide some color on how we're optimizing our capital allocation and considering all uses of discretionary tax, including delevering, share repurchases, growth project and increases in our dividend to improve our total shareholder return. Over the last 9 months, we have made early repayment on approximately $500 million of debt between repaying the corporate revolver and paying down the expensive debt at our Brasiliana subsidiary in Brazil. With respect to share repurchases, since our last call, we have bought back more than 20 million shares for a total investment of $252 million. This brings our cumulative share repurchases since September to 29 million shares or about 4% of those outstanding. Our total investment in our stock since September is more than $341 million, implying an average purchase price of $11.57 per share. Additionally, last week, the board approved a quarterly dividend of $0.04 per share, our first cash dividend payment in almost 20 years. We expect to grow the dividend over time in accordance with the performance of the company and market conditions. The dividend is and will remain an integral part of our total value proposition.

Now please turn to Slide 6. And let's discuss our actions to improve our profitability. We've committed to achieving $50 million of cost savings at the parent level in 2012 and a total of $100 million in cost savings per year by the end of 2013. For 2012, we expect to exceed our target and are now projecting at least $65 million in savings this year as we've already reduced SG&A by $31 million during the first 6 months.

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