Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Feb 20, 2018 • 10:00 am ET

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Duke Energy Corporation (NYSE:DUK) Q4 2017 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good day and welcome to the Duke Energy Fourth Quarter Earnings Call. Today's conference is being recorded. At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Mike Callahan, Vice President, Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Executive
Michael Callahan

Thank you, John. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining Duke Energy's Fourth Quarter 2017 Earnings Review and Business Update. On our call today is Lynn Good, Chairman, 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 2 presents the safe harbor statement which accompanies our presentation material. A reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures can be found on www.dukeenergy.com and in today's materials. Please note the appendix for today's presentation includes supplemental information and additional disclosures.With that, I'll turn the call over to Lynn.

Executive
Lynn J. Good

Thanks, Mike, and good morning, everyone. Today we announced adjusted earnings per share of $4.57, closing out a very successful year for our company. We made progress on our strategic investments and delivered earnings at the high end of our narrowed guidance range, demonstrating flexibility in cost management and largely offsetting the impact of mild weather. Our workforce pushed forward on our long-term transformation and never lost sight of our responsibility to meet the everyday needs of our customers.

We also announced our 2018 adjusted EPS guidance range of $4.55 to $4.85, which includes the impact of tax reform and planned equity issuances to maintain the strength of our balance sheet. We are reaffirming our 4% to 6% growth rate through 2021 off of the midpoint of our original guidance range in 2017 and extending the growth rate through 2022. Rate-based growth from our investment plans, coupled with additional rate base from the impact of tax reform, will place us within the guidance range by 2019 and at the mid to high end of the range in 2020 and beyond. Steve will provide more context about our financial results, discuss our capital growth plan, and share how we are incorporating the impacts of tax reform into our planning assumptions.

But first let me spend a moment on Slide 4. The investor proposition we introduced last year remains just as true today. The fundamentals of our business are strong and allow us to deliver growth in earnings and dividends in a low-risk, predictable, and transparent way. And given the capital intensive nature of our business, the importance of balance sheet strength remains a continued focus for the company. Our attractive dividend yield and demonstrated ability to grow our regulated business provide an attractive shareholder return for our investors. This positions Duke as a strong, long-term infrastructure investment.

Slide 5 underscores our established track record of delivering on our commitment. Overall, 2017 was an exceptional year for Duke Energy. We delivered results, advanced our long-term strategy, and excelled in operations. We had solid growth in our Electric and Gas utilities, including the addition of Piedmont Natural Gas. We also responded with