National Grid PLC ADR NGG
Q4 2012 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 05/17/2012

Operator: Welcome today to National Grid's presentation of its Q4 2012 Earnings Conference Call.

John Dawson - IR: Good morning ladies and gentlemen and welcome to National Grid's full year results presentation for 2011-12. My name is John Dawson, Head of Investor Relations at National Grid, and with me today at today's presentation are Steve Holliday, our Chief Executive and Andrew Bonfield, our CFO.

Before we started the presentation, let me remind you of a few things, please turn off your mobile phones as they can interfere with the broadcast of today's event. We will have plenty of time for questions. If you do want to ask a question, please use the microphone and state your name and organization for the benefit of the webcast and please try to avoid asking lots of questions at once, it doesn't work very well for the webcast.

Today's presentation may contain forward looking statements. You should read our cautionary statement to understand the context of these remarks. The performance figures in today's presentation are stated on a constant currency basis and adjusted for timing and storms unless otherwise stated. Finally, for those fellow iPad junkies, I'm delighted to announce that today we've launched a new iPad app for National Grid which you will hopefully find a very easy way of accessing all our information. So you will never be too far from our annual report and our factsheet. So, I would encourage everybody who'd like to use an iPad to have a look at that. Thank you. Now, I'll hand over to Steve.

Steve Holliday - Chief Executive: Thank you, John and good morning, everyone. Let me start this morning by running through some of the key highlights of the last financial year 2011-12. I'll then hand over to Andrew who will take you through the financial results in more detail with an update on returns across our businesses and our guidance for next year. I'll then come back, so I can outline the priorities for the next 12 months and after that as John says Andrew and I and Nick Winser and Tom King this morning will be very happy to take your questions.

Our new Chairman, Sir Peter Gershon is here in the front row. He's with us today. Many of you will know him already, those that didn't hopefully had the chance to say hello over a cup of coffee before this presentation.

At the start of last year, we set ourselves some very clear objectives, objectives around regulatory and operational challenges, and despite extreme weather conditions in the Northeast of the U.S., we have delivered against those objectives. So in summary, it has been a good year, good year financially and operationally. Because it's on the back of a particularly strong prior year that was helped by timing and to get that comparative, we delivered profit before tax up 5%. If you exclude the impacts of timing and the major storms, underlying operating profit is up 9%, and once again, we've delivered improvements in our financing costs. As a result of the final impact, the dilution from the rights issue, headline earnings per share are up 1%, up 16% excluding the timing effects on those major storms. In line with our target, we're recommending a dividend increase of 8% bringing the full year dividend to 39.28 pence per share.

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