ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 17, 2015 • 10:00 am ET

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ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good day and welcome to the ALLETE Fourth Quarter 2014 Financial Results Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded.

Certain statements contained in this conference call that are not descriptions of historical facts are forward-looking statements, and the terms defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Because such statements can include risks and uncertainties, actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements.

Factors that could cause results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, those discussed in the filings made by the company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Many of the company's factors that will determine the company's future results are beyond the ability of management to control or predict. Listeners should not place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect the management's views only as of the date hereof. The company undertakes no obligation to revise or update any forward-looking statements or to make any other forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

For opening remarks and introductions, I would now like to turn the call over to ALLETE's President and Chief Executive Officer, Al Hodnik. Please go ahead.

Executive
Al Hodnik

Good morning everyone and thank you for joining us. With me is ALLETE's Chief Financial Officer, Steve DeVinck. Today, we reported our year-end financial results, which capped off an active and productive 2014 for ALLETE. Our reported earnings per share were $2.90 including two one-time items equaling $0.09 per share, which we have talked about during the year: one related to transaction cost relative to an ALLETE Clean Energy acquisition and the other for an EPA settlement. Our fourth quarter results were stronger than we had initially anticipated. Therefore, we slightly exceeded our previous earnings guidance of the upper half of a range between $2.75 to $2.95 a share excluding the two items previously discussed.

I'll ask Steve to provide the financial details in a few moments, but I would like to say that I'm well pleased that we were able to deliver another year of solid earnings growth to our investors. Before Steve goes to the earnings results, I want to review a few significant accomplishments from 2014. These events help to position ALLETE for a continued growth through the end of the decade and beyond. Minnesota Power made significant progress during the year in executing its EnergyForward strategy.

Construction was completed at the 205 megawatt Bison 4 wind generating facility in North Dakota and Minnesota Power now owns and operates approximately 520 megawatts of wind generating capacity also construction continued on the mercury emissions reduction project at Boswell Unit 4. So far 145 million has been spent on the estimated $250 million project, which will be completed by 2016. Both of these construction projects qualified for current cost recovery treatment. There were also advancements during the year with the Great Northern Transmission Line, the proposed 220 mile 500 kV line that will