WGL Holdings Inc. (NYSE:WGL) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 05, 2015 • 10:30 am ET

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WGL Holdings Inc. (NYSE:WGL) Q1 2015 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
operator

Good morning, and welcome to the WGL Holdings Inc. First Quarter Fiscal Year 2015 Earnings Conference Call. At this time, I would like to inform you that this conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions) The call will be available for rebroadcast today at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, running through February 12, 2015. You may access the replay by dialing 1 (855) 859-2056 and entering the pin 70000880. If you do not have a copy of the earnings release, you may obtain one at www.wglholdings.com.

I'll now turn the conference over to Doug Bonawitz. Please go ahead.

Executive
Douglas Bonawitz

Before we begin, I'd like to point out that this conference will include (Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements).This morning, Terry McCallister, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer will provide some opening comments. Following that, Vince Ammann, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer will review the major items that led to our first quarter results. Adrian Chapman, President and Chief Operating Officer, will discuss key issues affecting our business and the status of some of our principal initiatives. In addition, Gautam Chandra, Senior Vice President of Strategy, Business Development and Non-utility Operations, is also with us this morning to answer questions.

And with that, I would like to turn the call over to Terry McCallister.

Executive
Terry D. McCallister

Thank you, Doug, and good morning everyone. Our first quarter results have given us a strong start to fiscal year 2015. Our non-GAAP operating earnings for the first quarter as shown on Slide 3 in our presentation were $58 million or $1.15 per share, compared to $51.4 million or $0.99 per share in the first quarter of 2014.

This 17% increase in consolidated operating earnings per share was driven by strong results in all four of our operating segments this quarter compared to the prior year. At the utility, we saw 6% increase in adjusted EBIT over what had been a strong performance in the first quarter of 2014. Our customer base continue to grow as the active -- average active customer meters increased by 12,000 meters year-over-year for the first quarter of 2015.

Executive
Douglas Bonawitz

Utility results were also driven by accelerated pipeline replacement programs as well as strong asset optimization revenues.

The commercial energy systems business also delivered strong results across the board. We continue to see earnings growth driven by the distributed generation in assets that we own across the country. We invested in an additional $43 million in commercial solar assets this quarter, as part of our plan to spend a total of $150 million on the distributed generation investments this year. These investments will continue to build a steady stream of income from the sale of clean power to our customers.

Midstream energy services business delivered higher results compared to the first quarter of 2014. Capitalizing on optimization opportunities offered by the winter weather are continuing to invest in the two pipeline projects under development. Finally, our retail energy-marketing business performed well, with electric margins significantly higher in the first quarter of -- than in the first quarter of last