American Water Works Company, Inc. (NYSE:AWK) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

May 03, 2018 • 09:00 am ET

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American Water Works Company, Inc. (NYSE:AWK) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Q & A
Operator
Operator

We will now begin the question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) And our first question today comes from Angie Storozynski with Macquarie. Please go ahead.

Analyst
Angie Storozynski

Thank you. Two questions. One is a bigger picture question. So we've seen a lot of corporate M&A involving water utilities and a recurrence of a water utility attempting to potentially acquire gas utilities. If you could share your thoughts about it, given that you have announced a number of municipal deals as of late. And again, what's your take on what's going on in the industry?

Executive
Susan N. Story

So first of all, good morning, Angie, and thanks...

Analyst
Angie Storozynski

Good morning.

Executive
Susan N. Story

....for listening in. It's interesting. So, we don't really comment on what other companies do, but we are happy to talk about the way we look at things. We constantly survey the environment for opportunities. But at the end of the day, we're very comfortable with our growth strategy. And it's very transparent in the triangle, the 5% to 7% from infrastructure investment, and we've laid out clearly our plans for that. And as we've said, we have decades of investment needs and through tax reform and our continuing O&M efficiency, we're finding ways to make that much more affordable for our customers.

As you mentioned, the 1% to 2% that we put on our growth triangle is strictly our history of these regulated acquisitions, distressed municipalities being a solutions provider for those entities that need help. And in our Market-Based Business, while very limited in what we want to get involved with, we want to do really well in those businesses we know, like we've mentioned before, our Homeowner Services, Military and Keystone.

So it's interesting. We watch, we're interested, but at the end of the day, as I mentioned in my concluding remarks, our core is water and wastewater services. We think that's what we're really good in. We believe there's lots of opportunities for investment and getting better with investment. And we think that this highly fragmented industry and sector with 53,000 water providers and 17,000 wastewater.

And so few are actually managed from an overall coordinated standpoint with an entity as large as we are, where we can basically leverage volume procurement and our technology and our size, scope and scale. We think that's very attractive. So, we watch, we survey, but we're comfortable with our strategies as we've laid them out.

Analyst
Angie Storozynski

Perfect. And my second question to Linda. So, given your updated views on operating cash flows, especially in light of the Pivotal acquisition, have you been in discussions with credit agencies? And do you think that this improvement is going to be sufficient for you guys to avoid any potential credit downgrades?

Executive
Linda Sullivan

Yeah. And we are constantly working with our credit rating agencies. We have meetings set up on an annual basis, and we would expect to continue to hold those meetings. We were also in discussions with our credit rating agencies with regard to the Pivotal acquisition and so we're continuing to work