Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 18, 2015 • 10:00 am ET

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Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) Q4 2014 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
operator

Good day and welcome to the Duke Energy fourth quarterly earnings call. Today's call is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Bill Currens. Please go ahead.

Executive
Bill Currens

Thank you, Ruth. Good morning, everyone, and welcome to Duke Energy's fourth-quarter and full-year 2014 earnings review and business update. Leading our call is Lynn Good, President and CEO along with Steve Young, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

Today's discussion will include forward-looking information and the use of non-GAAP financial measures. Slide two presents the Safe Harbor statement, which accompanies our presentation materials. A reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures can be found on our website at Duke-Energy.com and in today's materials. Please note that the appendix to today's presentation includes supplemental information and additional disclosures to help you analyze the Company's performance and our financial forecast.

As listed on slide three, Lynn will begin with a review of our key 2014 activities, as well as an update on our strategic initiatives within the commercial businesses. Then Steve will review our 2014 financial results, present our 2015 financial plan, and discuss our longer-term adjusted earnings growth expectations.

Before I turn it over to Lynn, let me take a brief moment to give you a staffing update on the Duke IR team. It is with mixed emotions that I announce this is Beau Pratt's last earnings call. After three years in Investor Relations, Beau will be moving to new responsibilities within our finance organization. This is a great move for Beau and for Duke Energy, but I will sorely miss Beau's knowledge, tireless passion for excellence, as well as his endless smile. Beau, thank you for all you have done in helping us advance our mission to continually provide a high level of service to the investment community.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Lynn.

Executive
Lynn Good

Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us. In 2014, we built upon the momentum we created in 2013, celebrating key milestones and addressing challenges. We continued building our financial track record, achieving our adjusted earnings guidance range and increasing our important dividend payment to shareholders.

We announced several growth initiatives that will position the Company for the future, and completed our strategic review of the International business. In August we entered into a sale agreement with Dynegy for our commercial Midwest generation portfolio. We also advanced our coal ash management practices, and as I will discuss in a moment, we are close to an agreement with the government to resolve the ongoing grand jury investigation into our coal ash basin management.

Today we initiated our 2015 adjusted EPS guidance range of $4.55 to $4.75, and also extended our long-term adjusted earnings per share growth objective of 4% to 6% through 2017. This guidance reflects strong growth in our regulated utilities, offset by near-term headwinds from foreign exchange rates and oil prices in our International business. Steve will provide further details about our financial plan in a few minutes.

Let