Original Source: FD (FAIR DISCLOSURE) WIRE
OPERATOR: [ OPERATOR INSTRUCTIONS ] Today's conference is being recorded. If anyone has any objections, you may disconnect at this time. I'd like to turn the conference over to the host for today's call, Mr. Steve Busser. Sir, you may begin.
STEVE BUSSER, VP, TREASURER, CHIEF RISK OFFICER, EL PASO ELECTRIC: Thank you. Good afternoon, everyone. Thank you for tuning in to the El Paso Electric fourth quarter 2006 earnings conference call. My name is Steve Busser, and I'm the Vice President, Treasurer, and Chief Risk Officer at El Paso Electric. Also on the call with me today, I have our President and CEO, Gary Hedrick; and our Controller, David Carpenter. Today, we will provide an update on our fourth quarter and year-to-date 2006 financial performance, including a discussion of our pertinent earnings drivers, an update on our 2007 earnings guidance and finally an update on our Texas and New Mexico regulatory developments.
I'd like to cover some items that will be pertinent to our call today. You should have a copy of our press release. If you do not, you can obtain one from our website at www.epelectric.com on the Investor Relations page. Along with our call today, we have a webcast presentation available for your viewing as we progress through the call. Both the audio and video presentation will be done via the web. To log on to the webcast, you can do so via our website. In order to ask questions during the Q&A session, however, you will need to be dialed in via telephone. We currently anticipate that our 2006 Form 10-K will be filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on or about March 1, 2007.
As for upcoming IR events, we will be attending the Barrington and Company conference in Miami, Florida on March 29 and 30 of next month. We will provide further updates on any IR events on future conference calls. Please call our Investor Relations department if you have any inquiries or require further information. A replay of today's call will be available shortly after our call ends at (866)484-6421 and will be available through March 9. A passcode is not required for replay and it can also be accessed via our website.
Let me cover the Safe Harbor provisions before I turn the call over to Gary. Our comments and answers to your questions may include forward-looking statements. Be reminded that statements made on this conference call, other than statements of historical fact are forward-looking statements made pursuant to the Safe Harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements, as well as other forward-looking statements made by, or on behalf of the Company involve known and unknown risks and other factors which may cause the Company's actual results in future periods to differ materially from those expressed here. Any such statement is qualified by our reference to the risks and factors discussed in our SEC Act filings.
Our 10K and other SEC filings contain our forward-looking statements and also lay out risk factors that should be considered in the context of the information that we will provide today. These filings may be obtained upon request of the Company on our website or from the SEC. The Company cautions that risk factors discussed in these filings are not exclusive and we do not undertake to update any forward-looking statement that may be made from time to time by or on behalf of the Company. These statements, especially those made during the Q&A section of the call are subject to risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. Please refer to our SEC Act filings for a detailed discussion of these risks and uncertainties as actual results may vary from these statements. Now I'd like to turn the call over to our President and CEO, Gary Hedrick.
GARY HEDRICK, PRESIDENT, CEO, EL PASO ELECTRIC: Thank you, Steve. Good afternoon, everyone. We appreciate you turning in to El Paso Electrics earnings conference call. As Steve mentioned, Scott Wilson, our CFO, had a family issue come up and will not be able to be here today. As such, I am going to both provide a brief overview of the quarter and then provide some detail on certain significant items. Hopefully you all have our news release, which was issued yesterday.
Overall, we basically think this was a very good year, a very good quarter. We had both strong financial results as well as very, very good news on the regulatory front in both Texas and New Mexico. Offset a little bit by some not-so-good news from ENRC this morning that we will talk about a little bit more.
For the fourth quarter of 2006, we reported $15.8 million or $0.34 a share, both basic and diluted, compared to $6.7 million or $0.14 a share, basic and diluted for the same period a year earlier. Both periods included extraordinary items as detailed in our release. For the full year, we reported $67.5 million or $1.42 basic, -- and $1.40 diluted earnings per share compared to $35.5 million and $0.75 basic, $0.74 diluted earnings per share in 2005. Again, both periods included extraordinary items and 2005 also had the effects of our refinancing, which was about $0.25 a share.
On the regulatory front, in Texas, we had the finalization of our margin sharing case, which was the last piece of our overall Texas, new rate freeze franchise extension in the entire package that we renewed in Texas. We also have caught up on our fuel to the point where we are either recovering by surcharge or have recovered substantially all of our fuel costs and have got our fuel factor case finalized, including a new factor, which we think is commensurate with where we think gas costs are both currently and predicted to be and have completed one of our surcharges.
In New Mexico, we have the Las Cruces franchise extended two years by action of the City Council of Las Cruces, which basically was done by waiving their purchase option. Some of you will remember who followed the Company for a while that this has been an overhang for literally seven years, coming out of our prior settlement with the City of Las Cruces. They had an option to purchase the system for a predetermined price. The City Council affirmatively voted to waive that purchase option, which automatically extended the existing franchise for a two-year period. And we also have filed an unopposed stipulation in our New Mexico rate case, which hopefully will be resolved by mid year this year and, again, we will cover that in more detail in a minute.
On the NRC front, as I'm sure many of you have noted this morning, press releases both by the NRC as well as by Pinnacle West, the NRC did assess a greater than green finding -- in fact, a white finding, which is a low to moderate safety significance issue on the diesel generator issue, which we've been discussing for several quarters and which was, I'd have to say probably not wholly unexpected, although certainly disappointing and, again, we will talk a little bit more about that in a minute. Reliability measures, the PUCT of Texas measures reliability of the utilities regulated by it, as well as some of the municipalities. They measure both the frequency and the duration of sustained outages on your system. And once again, El Paso Electric is ranked number one among the major Texas utilities that report to the PUCT, this, in spite of the historic bad weather that we experienced during 2006, 100-year floods and significant damage to our system and the related outages. So, we're understandably proud of our number one positioning there and of our great employees which made this possible through their hard work.
We continue in our stock buyback program purchasing about 900,000 shares during the fourth quarter of 2006, bringing the total for 2006 to about 2.7 million shares and leaving about 1.3 million shares under the current authorization that our Board has given us. Finally, we want to reiterate our earnings guidance, which was earlier announced at $1.25 to $1.75. We are maintaining that earnings guidance at that level and we will give you a …