ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 15, 2018 • 10:00 am ET


ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript


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Good day and welcome to the ALLETE Fourth Quarter 2017 Financial Results 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, such as terms defined by 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 statement include, but are not limited, to those discussed in the filings made by the Company with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Many of the 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 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 results or otherwise.

For opening remarks and introductions, I'd now like to turn the conference over to ALLETE President and Chief Executive Officer, Alan R. Hodnik. Please go ahead.

Alan R. Hodnik

Well, good morning, everyone and thanks for joining us today. With me are ALLETE's Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, Bob Adams, and ALLETE's Vice President, Controller and Chief Accounting Officer, Steve Morris. This morning, we reported full-year 2017 financial results of $3.38 per share on net income of $172.2 million. These results reflect many operational and financial accomplishments that will deliver value to ALLETE's shareholders for years to come. These financial results were within our 2017 earnings guidance range of $3.15 to $3.40 per share.

Before Steve and Bob go through the details of the 2017 financial results and our 2018 guidance, I would like to highlight several accomplishments achieved during the year. We take great pride in delivering value to our shareholders and ALLETE has delivered on this promise with annual earnings growth through sustainable and growing dividends while strategically positioning our businesses for sustainable growth over the long term.

If you recall, we entered 2017 with many key initiatives already in progress at our Regulated Operations and within our Energy Infrastructure and Related Services businesses. Strategic initiatives from both broader business lines reflect ALLETE's commitment to answering our nation's call for cleaner energy forms and water conservation while growing ALLETE.

Minnesota Power made significant progress in 2017 with its Energy Forward strategy. During 2017, a proposal for a natural gas plant and additional renewable generation was filed with the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and Minnesota Power anticipates an administrative law judge report on the natural gas plant to be available by July of 2018. The Nemadji Trail Energy project represents a $350 million investment opportunity for ALLETE and will provide a necessary renewable enabling component for Minnesota Power.

On the regulatory front, the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission recently made determinations regarding Minnesota Power's