MILWAUKEE, May 3, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- At Wisconsin Energy (WEC)'s (NYSE: WEC) annual meeting of stockholders held today at Concordia University Wisconsin, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Gale Klappa described the successful completion of the company's Power the Future plan and called 2011 a year of exceptional progress.
Klappa cited the following 2011 highlights:
Earnings and financial strength
- The highest net income in company history.
- Earnings from continuing operations of $2.18 per share a 13.5 percent increase over the $1.92 per share recorded in 2010. (Earnings reflect the two-for-one stock split in March 2011.)
- Retired $450 million of long-term debt.
- Repurchased $100 million of Wisconsin Energy stock at an average price of $30.79 a share.
- Wisconsin Energy's total return to shareholders has significantly outperformed the Dow Jones Industrial Average, the S&P 500, NASDAQ, the S&P Electric Index and the Philadelphia Utility Index over the past 10 years. Wisconsin Energy's total shareholder return, assuming reinvested dividends, was 83.3 percent over three years, 69.7 percent over five years, 150.2 percent over seven years and 308.4 percent over 10 years.
- Raised the dividend by 15 percent in January 2012, to an annual rate of $1.20 per share.
- By 2014, Klappa said, the goal is to increase the company's dividend payout to 60 percent of earnings a level more competitive with other regulated energy companies. This policy should support double digit increases in the dividend in 2013 and 2014.
Power the Future
- The largest construction program in state history is now complete bringing four major new generating units online between 2001 and 2011.
- The second 615-megawatt unit at the company's Oak Creek expansion achieved commercial operation on Jan. 12, 2011.
- Between 2000 and 2013, power plant capacity will increase by 50 percent, while systemwide emissions of nitrogen oxide, sulfur dioxide and mercury are expected to decrease by 70 percent.
- The Glacier Hills Wind Park achieved commercial operation on Dec. 20, 2011, making it Wisconsin's largest wind farm.
- For the fourth quarter of 2011, the company achieved the best customer satisfaction ratings since the merger of Wisconsin Electric and Wisconsin Gas in 2000.
- We Energies was named the most reliable utility in the Midwest for the seventh time in the past 10 years by an independent consulting firm.
- Best overall safety results in company history. An improvement of more than 66 percent since 2003 in both recordable incidents and lost-time accidents.
- Rated a perfect '10' by Governance Metrics International (GMI) 28 out of the past 29 times for the company's governance practices. Wisconsin Energy is the only company, out of more than 4,000 companies rated worldwide, to consistently earn this distinction from GMI, an independent rating agency.
- Named for the fifth year in a row as one of the nation's best corporate citizens by Corporate Responsibility Magazine. The publication evaluates approximately 1,000 publicly held companies on the basis of environmental performance, employee relations, philanthropy, finance and governance practices.
With Power the Future complete, Klappa outlined the company's next important initiative. The effort calls for an investment of up to $3.5 billion from 2012 through 2016 to modernize the company's distribution networks for electricity and natural gas, meet changing environmental standards and add clean, renewable energy to its generation fleet.
During the meeting, stockholders re-elected the following directors to terms expiring at the 2013 annual meeting: John F. Bergstrom, Barbara L. Bowles, Patricia W. Chadwick, Robert A. Cornog, Curt S. Culver, Thomas J. Fischer, Gale E. Klappa, Ulice
Payne, Jr. and Mary Ellen Stanek.
As recommended by the board of directors, stockholders also voted to:
- Approve changes that will require directors to be elected by majority vote in uncontested elections.
- Ratify Deloitte & Touche LLP as independent auditors for 2012.
- Approve the compensation of the company's named executive officers as disclosed in the proxy statement (say-on-pay).
Earnings per share listed in this news release are on a fully diluted basis.
A replay of the 2012 Annual Meeting of Stockholders is available on the Wisconsin Energy website wisconsinenergy.com.
Wisconsin Energy Corporation, based in Milwaukee, is one of the nation's premier energy companies, serving more than 1.1 million electric customers in Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula and more than 1 million natural gas customers in Wisconsin. The company's principal utility is We Energies. The company's other major subsidiary, We Power, designs, builds and owns electric generating plants.
Wisconsin Energy Corporation (wisconsinenergy.com), a component of the S&P 500, has more than $13 billion of assets, approximately 4,600 employees and more than 43,000 stockholders of record.
Certain statements contained in this press release are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. These statements are based upon management's current expectations and are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause our actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in the statements. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these statements. Forward-looking statements include, among other things, statements concerning management's expectations and projections regarding dividend payouts, dividend increases, investments in infrastructure, renewable generation and other projects to meet environmental standards, capital expenditures and other matters. In some cases, forward-looking statements may be identified by reference to a future period or periods - or by the use of forward-looking terminology such as "anticipates," "believes," "estimates," "expects," "forecasts," "guidance," "intends," "may," "objectives," "plans" "possible," "potential," "projects," "should" or similar terms or variations of these terms.
Actual results may differ materially from those set forth in forward-looking statements. In addition to the assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with these statements, factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those contemplated in any forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to: general economic conditions; business, competitive and regulatory conditions in the deregulating and consolidating energy industry, in general, and, in particular, in the company's service territories; timing, resolution and impact of pending and future rate cases and other regulatory decisions; availability of the company's generating facilities; varying weather conditions; catastrophic weather-related or terrorism-related damage; cyber-security threats; unanticipated changes in purchased power costs; unanticipated changes in coal or natural gas prices and supply and transportation availability; the ability to recover fuel and purchased power costs; nonperformance by purchased power or natural gas suppliers under existing contracts; environmental incidents; key personnel changes; inflation rates; customer growth and declines; customer business conditions, including demand for their products and services; energy conservation efforts; construction risks, including those associated with the construction of new environmental controls and renewable generation; adverse interpretation or enforcement of permit conditions by permitting agencies; restrictions imposed by financing arrangements and regulatory requirements on the ability of the company's subsidiaries to transfer funds to it in the form of cash dividends, loans or advances; current and future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings or inquiries, including Federal Energy Regulatory Commission matters and Internal Revenue Service audits and other tax matters; the impact of recent and future federal, state and local legislative and regulatory changes; equity and bond market fluctuations and events in the global credit markets that may affect the availability and cost of capital; the investment performance of the company's pension and other post-retirement benefit trusts; the financial performance of the American Transmission Company; the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard setting bodies; foreign, governmental, economic, political and currency risks; and other factors described under the heading "Factors Affecting Results, Liquidity and Capital Resources" in Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations and under the headings "Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Information" and "Risk Factors" contained in the company's Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2011 and in subsequent reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company expressly disclaims any obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
SOURCE Wisconsin Energy Corporation