NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 18, 2015 • 09:00 am ET


NiSource Inc. (NYSE:NI) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good day, ladies and gentleman and welcome to the NiSource Earnings Conference Call. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later we'll have a question-and-answer session and instructions will follow at that time. [Operator Instructions]. As a reminder, this conference call is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the call over to Randy Hulen, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Randy Hulen

Thank you and good morning everyone. On behalf of NiSource and Columbia Pipeline Partners, I would like to welcome you to our quarterly analyst call. Joining me this morning are Bob Skaggs, Chief Executive Officer and Steve Smith, Chief Financial Officer.

As you know, the primary focus of today's call is to review NiSource's financial performance for the full year and fourth quarter of 2014 as well as provide an overall business update. Following our NiSource prepared remarks, we will also share a brief overview of the predecessor results for Columbia Pipeline Partners which were released this morning. We will then open the call to your questions. At times during the call, we will refer to the supplemental slides available on our website.

I would like to remind all of you that some of the statements made on this conference call will be forward-looking. These statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in the statements. Information concerning such risks and uncertainties is included in the MD&A and Risk Factors section of our periodic SEC filings. With all those items out of the way, the call is now yours, Bob.

Bob Skaggs

Thanks, Randy. Good morning and thank you for joining us. 2014 was a watershed year for NiSource. It was anchored by focused execution of a record infrastructure investment program and the initiation of strategic and transformational growth plans. Those notably included the creation of Columbia Pipeline Partners and the announcement of the Columbia Pipeline Group spinoff. If you will turn to slide 3 in the supplemental deck that was posted online this morning, you will see a few of the year's highlights. The NiSource team delivered yet another year of solid operational performance and industry-leading financial results.

In 2014, we generated net operating earnings from continuing operations, non-GAAP of $1.72 per share, exceeding our guidance range of $1.61 to $1.71 per share and up nearly 9% from 2013 and we delivered total returns to our shareholders of 32%, which outperformed the major utility indices for the sixth consecutive year.

Our team executed on a record $2.2 billion capital investment program, made significant progress on various regulatory and legislative programs and originated several transformational growth projects at CPG. These initiatives synched closely with our company-wide modernization initiatives, delivered significant value to our customers by facilitating the development of significant shale resources and providing more modern, safe, efficient and environmentally friendly infrastructure. They also benefit our communities through job creation and economic development and our shareholders through sustainable long-term returns.

During the year, we also expanded