Good morning, and welcome to American Water's 2018 First Quarter Earnings Conference Call. As a reminder, this call is being recorded and is also being webcast with an accompanying slide presentation through the company's Investor Relations website.
Following the earnings conference call, an audio archive of the call will be available through May 10, 2018. US callers may access the audio archive toll free by dialing 1-877-344-7529. International callers may listen by dialing 1-412-317-0088. The access code for the replay is 10119526. The webcast will be available at American Water's Investor Relations homepage at ir.amwater.com.
I would now like to introduce your host for today's call, Ed Vallejo, Vice President of Investor Relations. Mr. Vallejo, you may begin.
Thank you, Brian, and good morning, everyone. And thank you for joining us for today's call. And as usual, we will keep the call to about an hour. And at the end of our prepared remarks, we will be opening the call up for your questions.
Now during the course of this conference call, both in our prepared remarks and in answers to your questions, we may make forward-looking statements that represent our expectations regarding our future performance or other future events.
Now these statements are predictions based upon our current expectations, estimates and assumptions. However, as statements deal with future events, they are subject to numerous known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to be materially different from the results indicated or implied by such statements.
Additional information regarding these risks, uncertainties and factors, as well as a more detailed analysis of our financials and other important information is provided in the earnings release and in our Form 10-Q filed with the SEC.
Reconciliations for non-GAAP financial information discussed on this conference call, including adjusted earnings per share, adjusted return on equity and our adjusted regulated O&M efficiency ratio, can be found in our earnings release and in the appendix of the slide deck for this call. Also, a slide deck has been posted to our Investor Relations page of our website.
All statements in this call related to earnings or earnings per share refer to diluted earnings and earnings per share.
And now, I would like to turn the call over to American Water's President and CEO, Susan Story.
Susan N. Story
Thanks, Ed. Good morning, everyone, and thanks for joining us. Today, our CFO, Linda Sullivan, will cover our first quarter financial results; and COO, Walter Lynch, will give key updates on our operations.
The employees of American Water delivered strong results in the first quarter of 2018. Our earnings per share were up 13.5% compared to the first quarter of 2017. This includes excellent growth in both our Regulated Business and Market-Based Business. And consistent with our previous guidance, on April, the 20th, our Board of Directors approved a 9.6% increase in our quarterly dividend to $0.455 per share. This marks the sixth year in a row that our dividend increase was at or above the