Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 04, 2015 • 08:00 am ET

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Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE:ATO) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
operator

Greetings and welcome to the Atmos Energy First Quarter 2015, Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A brief question-and-answer session will be follow at the formal presentation. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to our host, Ms. Susan Giles, Vice President, Investor Relations for Atmos Energy. Thank you. Please begin.

Executive
Susan Giles

Thank you, Melissa and good morning everyone. Thank you all for joining us. Our speakers this morning are Kim Cocklin, President and CEO; and Bret Eckert, Senior Vice President and CFO. There are also other members of our leadership team here to (inaudible) as needed.

Our earnings release and conference call slide presentation are available on our website to access these materials, please visit our website at atmosenergy.com. We will refer to just to put a few lines during the (inaudible) we'll take questions on any and then at the end of our prepared remarks.

Additionally, the company's Form 10-Q was filed last night and it's also available on our website. (Forward- looking Cautionary Statements) Now I'd like to turn the call over to Kim Cocklin.

Executive
Kim Cocklin

Thank you very much, Susan and good morning everyone. We certainly appreciate you joining us, and you're interest in Atmos Energy and congratulations to anybody that's New England Patriots fan of next year's accomplish here again.

Yesterday we did report first quarter consolidated net income of $98 million or $0.96 per diluted share and after excluding the unrealized margins net income was 93 million or $0.91 per diluted share. The regulated operations drove substantially all of our quarter-over-quarter growth. These operations are driven by very focused rate and regulatory strategy which renders stable and predictable earnings. The rate relief for our regulated distribution and pipeline operations combined generated about $32 million of incremental margin in our first quarter of fiscal '15.

Our liquidity and financial position remained very strong. In October you'll recall we issued $500 million of senior notes at a rate of 4.1% to 5% replacing a $500 million of senior notes with a rate of 4.95%. And our debt capital ratio was 49.5% at December 31 compared with 54.2% one year ago.

Yesterday at our Board Meeting, our Board of Directors declared a 125th consecutive quarterly cash dividend. The indicated annual dividend rate for fiscal '15 is $1.56. And then last we announced the appointment of Michael Haefner as Executive Vice President. This allows us the opportunity to strengthen the bench within the organization as Mike will become more involved in managing the operations of the company and the appointment also affords me a luxury and time to focus on building shareholder value, evolving [ph] more time to existing and potential investors and to continue to promote the exceptional value proposition of Atmos Energy.

Our CFO, Bret Eckert is going to now review our financial results in very detail. Bret?

Executive
Bret Eckert

Thanks, Kim and good morning everyone. If you follow me on slide