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Original Source: FD (FAIR DISCLOSURE) WIRE
OPERATOR: Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the fourth quarter 2006 DPL Inc. earnings conference call. [OPERATOR INSTRUCTIONS]
I would now like to turn the call over to your host for today, Mr. John Gillen, Senior Vice President and CFO. Please proceed, sir.
JOHN GILLEN, SVP & CFO, DPL INC.: Good morning and welcome to DPL's year-end earnings conference call. I am John Gillen, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Before we begin today, I would like to remind everyone that all references to earnings per share are basic earnings per share and this call may contain certain forward-looking statements regarding plans and expectations for the future. Investors are cautioned that actual outcomes and results may vary materially from those projected due to various factors beyond DPL's control. Such matters are described in our annual report on Form 10-K. Joining me this morning is Paul Barbas, DPL President and Chief Executive Officer. Paul will provide an overview of our 2006 accomplishments and priorities for the future. And then I will review the 2006 financial results and 2007 guidance. Following our remarks, we will open up the call to questions from both those here in the room and those calling into the conference. Paul.
PAUL BARBAS, PRESIDENT & CEO, DPL INC.: Thank you, John, and good morning, everyone. For those of you here with us in person as well as those on the phone, we appreciate your interest in DPL. I'd like to begin by saying that DPL had a very good year in 2006. Financially we improved profitability as our earnings per share from continuing operations were up more than 8% on the strength of revenue recovery for fuel and higher wholesale sales. We increased the dividend 4% in February of '06 and followed this up with another 4% increase this past February 1st. I believe this is a positive reflection of the Company's ability to produce solid earnings and the board and management's confidence in our future. In addition, this past August we completed a $400 million stock buyback. With the recent two-step upgrade from Standard & Poor's, all three rating agencies now rate DPL debt as investment grade. We've taken a number of steps to strengthen our balance sheet and risk profile during the past years and needless to say, we are pleased with the upgrades. 2006 marked the first year of our five year rate stabilization plan.
In 2006 we recovered increased fuel costs and in 2007 we will begin recovering our ongoing environmental investments. At the end of last year, we announced the sale of two of our peaking generating sites for over $150 million in cash. With these sales our generation capacity is better aligned with our current generation needs. And …