Unitil Corp. (NYSE:UTL) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript

Apr 25, 2019 • 02:00 pm ET


Unitil Corp. (NYSE:UTL) Q1 2019 Earnings Conference Call Transcript


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Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the Quarter One 2019 Unitil Earnings Conference Call. At this time, all participants are in listen-only mode. Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session, and instructions will follow at that time.

(Operator Instructions) As a reminder, this call may be recorded. I would now like to introduce your host for today's conference, Todd Diggins. Please go ahead.

Todd Diggins

Good afternoon, and thank you for joining us to discuss Unitil Corporation's first quarter 2019 financial results. With me today are, Tom Meissner, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer; Christine Vaughan, Senior Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Treasurer; Larry Brock, Chief Accounting Officer and Controller; and Todd Black, Senior Vice President, External Affairs and Customer Relations.

We will discuss financial and other information about our first quarter results on this call. As we mentioned in the press release announcing the call, we have posted that information, including a presentation to the Investors section of our website at www.unitil.com. We will refer to that information during this call.

Before we start, as you see on Slide 2, the comments made today about future operating results or future events are forward-looking statements under the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Forward-looking statements inherently involve risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those predicted.

Statements made on this call should be considered together with cautionary statements and other information contained in our most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and other documents we have filed with or furnished to the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of today, and we assume no duty to update them.

With that said, I will now turn the call over to Tom.

Thomas P. Meissner, Jr.

Great. Thank you, Todd and thanks everyone for joining us. I'm going to begin on Slide 4, where today we announced net income of $26.5 million or $1.78 per share for the first quarter of 2019. This is an increase of $10.9 million or $0.72 per share over the same quarter last year. In March, we recognized a one-time gain of $9.8 million or $0.66 per share on the divestiture of our non-regulated energy brokering and advisory business, Usource. Excluding the impact of this one-time gain, the Company recorded earnings of $16.7 million or $1.12 per share, which is $0.06 ahead of last year. This increase was driven largely by customer growth and higher sales margins.

Moving now to Slide 5. I'd like to expand on the Usource transaction, which was completed on March 1st. As I mentioned, the Company recognized an after-tax gain of approximately $10 million on this divestiture in the first quarter. We continue to believe Usource is a solid business. However, after a strategic review, we determined that it needs going forward did not fully align with our business model and investor profile. We also felt that there were stronger growth opportunities in our regulated businesses.

We plan to reinvest the