South Jersey Industries, Inc. (NYSE:SJI) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

May 08, 2018 • 10:00 am ET

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South Jersey Industries, Inc. (NYSE:SJI) Q1 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

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Presentation
Operator
Operator

Good day, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the First Quarter 2018 South Jersey Industries Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this conference is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to your host for today, Marissa Travaline, Vice President of Communications. Please proceed.

Executive
Marissa Travaline

Thank you. Good morning and welcome to South Jersey Industries first quarter 2018 conference and webcast. I am joined today by Mike Renna, our President and Chief Executive Officer; Steve Clark, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer as well several additional members of our senior management team.

Our earnings release and the slide intended to accompany our call today were issued yesterday after the close of the market and were posted on our website at www.sjindustries.com. The release and the associated 10-Q provide an in-depth review of earnings on both a GAAP and non-GAAP basis using our non-GAAP measure of economic earnings. Reconciliations of economic earnings to the comparable GAAP measures appear in both documents.

Let me note that throughout today's call, we will be making references to future expectations, plans and opportunities for SJI. Actual results may differ materially from those indicated by these statements as a result of various important factors including those discussed in the company's Forms 10-K and 10-Q on file with the SEC.

With that said, I'll now turn the call over to our CEO, Mike Renna to discuss our current performance and future initiatives in the context of our strategic plan.

Executive
Mike Renna

Thanks Marissa. Good morning, and thanks for being with us. I am pleased to report that we are off to a strong start in 2018. Improved performance from both our regulated and non-regulated businesses drove economic earnings of $1.26 per share in the first quarter, up significantly compared with $0.72 last year. In fact, our first quarter results were higher than our total reported results for 2017. On the regulated side, improvement in our gas utility business, South Jersey Gas reflects positive impacts of the recent base rate case, solid customer growth, and continued infrastructure investment intended to enhance and improve service and reliability to our customers. On the non-regulated side, our wholesale marketing and fuel management businesses, posted strong gains as well, capitalizing on favorable weather, tax reform, and an additional fuel management contract.

Before I turn it over to Steve to discuss our first quarter earnings performance and guidance, I want to share with you an update on our business transformation efforts and the key priorities we are focused on for the remainder of the year. As you recall back in 2015, we began a planned shift into our future operating strategy toward a more regulated business mix. Our plan was driven by a desire to increase the quality of our earnings by increasing investment in utility and FERC-regulated assets that provide highly-visible cash flows and earnings while at the same time reducing