National Grid PLC ADR NGG
Q2 2013 Earnings Call Transcript

Transcript Call Date 11/15/2012

Operator: Welcome today to National Grid's Q2 2013 Earnings Conference Call.

John Dawson - Director of IR: Good morning, ladies and gentlemen. I am John Dawson, Head of Investor Relations at National Grid. It's my pleasure to welcome you here today to National Grid's first half results presentation for 2012-'13. Shortly, I'll hand you over to Steve Holliday, who will kick off the presentation, but before I do, a few notices.

Before we start, can I please ask, as usual, to turn off your mobile phones. As usual, we will have a question-and-answer session at the end. Could I ask you to use the microphones and please state your name and organization.

In today's presentation Andrew and Steve will refer to various profit and other measures. Unless otherwise stated, these will be adjusted for timing and storms and all operating profit and interest costs are at constant currency.

Finally, our presentation today may contain forward-looking statements. I need to draw your attention to the cautionary statements in the presentation and in your pack, and at the start of the online presentation for those dialing in. Please refer to these when you consider our comments today.

Just a reminder, you will find all of the materials for today's presentation and additional fact sheets on our website and on our Investor Relations app. Without further ado, let me hand you over to Steve.

Steve Holliday - Chief Executive: Thank you, John and good morning everybody. The running order for today begins with a few comments from me on the highlights from the first half but Andrew will take you through the details, details of our financial performance for the first six months and he'll share a few thoughts about the general progress that we've made and the development of our longer-term financing strategy. I'll then return to talk about our progress against this year's properties and the outlook for the rest of this financial year.

Nick Winser is with us today as usual, but Tom King is not for a change, and I'm sure you all understand that Tom rightly has stayed in the U.S. this week.

We delivered a good financial performance over the first six months excluding last year's impact from Hurricane Irene in the U.S. and the normal swing in timing, profits before tax up 15%. On a similar basis, operating profit from the first six months are up 7%. As a result, after interest and tax, overall earnings increase by 14%. These are pleasing results and while there is more we can do in the second half to build on this progress, they clearly provide a strong platform for good full-year.

I'm pleased to announce that the Board has approved the 4% increase in the dividend to 14.49p per share, in line with our policy for this year. As we previously said, we expect to announce a long-term dividend policy at the latest with our full year results in May. Of course, subject to the U.K. RIIO process having concluded.

This is an important year for our businesses in both the U.K. and the U.S. Securing appropriate regulatory arrangements, embedding down significant organizational changes are key actions on both sides of the Atlantic. (These are very) ensuring that we deliver the needs of our customers as well as delivering our targeted returns and securing long-term financing in the important investment programs.

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