New Jersey Resources Corp. (NYSE:NJR) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call Transcript
Nov 21, 2017 • 10:00 am ET
Good day, and welcome to the New Jersey Resources Fourth Quarter Fiscal 2017 Earnings Conference Call. (Operator Instructions) Please note, this event is being recorded. I would now like to turn the conference over to Dennis Puma, Director of IR. Please go ahead.
Thank you, Nicole, and good morning, everybody. Welcome to New Jersey Resources' fourth quarter fiscal 2017 year-end conference call and webcast. I am joined here today by Larry Downes, our Chairman and CEO; Steve Westhoven, our EVP and COO; Pat Migliaccio, our SVP and CFO, as well as other members of our senior management team.
(Forward-Looking Cautionary Statements)
Turning to slide three. We will be referring to certain non-GAAP measures such as net financial earnings or NFE. We believe that NFE provides a more complete understanding of our financial performance. However, NFE is not intended to be substitute for GAAP. Our non-GAAP financial measures are discussed more fully in the Item 7 of our 10-K. I'd also like to point out that there are slides accompanying today's presentation, which are available on our website and we're also furnished on our Form 8-K this morning.
With that said, I'd like to turn the call over to our Chairman and CEO, Larry Downes. Larry?
Thanks, Dennis, and good morning, everyone.
As I begin this morning, I wanted to congratulate Steve Westhoven on his recent promotion to EVP and COO of New Jersey Resources. I think many of you know Steve, but for almost three decades now, he's been a valuable member of the team. He has made significant contributions to the Company, particularly on the development of our successful wholesale energy and midstream strategies and I am confident that he will continue to deliver results for our customers, our shareowners and all of our stakeholders. As you know from our news release, this morning, we reported another strong fiscal year. Thanks to the performance of our employees, and their hard work, their focus, and their dedication.
As we look at slide four, we reported net financial earnings or NFE of $1.73 per share for fiscal 2017 and that compared with $1.61 per share of last year and represented a very strong growth rate of 7.5%. Our results were in line with financial community expectations and our stated guidance range of $1.65 to $1.75 per share. I would also point out that the results from each of our business were within the ranges that we have provided to you at the beginning of the fiscal year.
Consistent with our plans, New Jersey Natural Gas once again had a very strong year and drove our financial results, higher utility base rates and record customer addition lead to a 14.2% earnings growth rate over the prior year. Demand for solar, continues to grow in New Jersey and we remain well-positioned strategically in this market. Our Clean Energy business, NJR Clean Energy Ventures has become one of the largest residential solar providers in New Jersey. This year, we also placed five commercial solar projects