ITC Reports First Quarter 2015 Results

Apr 30, 2015

NOVI, Mich., April 30, 2015 --

Highlights

  • Increased first quarter 2015 operating earnings of $0.47 per diluted common share; first quarter 2015 reported earnings of $0.43 per diluted common share
  • Capital investments of $168.7 million for the three months ended March 31, 2015
  • Reaffirmed 2015 operating earnings per share guidance of $2.00 to $2.15 per diluted share and capital investment guidance of $710 to $810 million
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ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC) announced today its results for the quarter ended March 31, 2015.

Reported net income for the first quarter, measured in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP), was $67.1 million, or $0.43 per diluted common share, compared to $69.1 million or $0.43 per diluted common share for the first quarter of 2014.

Operating earnings for the first quarter were $73.1 million, or $0.47 per diluted common share, compared to operating earnings of $69.8 million, or $0.44 per diluted common share for the first quarter of 2014.

ITC invested $168.7 million in capital projects at its operating companies during the three month period ended March 31, 2015, including $36.8 million at ITCTransmission, $30.0 million at METC, $95.0 million at ITC Midwest, $5.8 million at ITC Great Plains and $1.1 million of Development.

"We had a solid start to 2015 and made good progress with our plans," said Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president and CEO of ITC. "I am pleased with the performance and resiliency of our systems given the severe weather conditions experienced in our regions in the first quarter. Our efforts in the first quarter position us well to achieve our operational and financial objectives for the year."

Operating Earnings
Operating earnings are non-GAAP measures that exclude the impact of after-tax expenses associated with the following items:

  1. The Entergy Corporation transaction expenses of approximately $0.6 million, or $0.01 per diluted common share, for the first quarter of 2014.
  2. Regulatory charges of approximately $1.1 million, or $0.01 per diluted common share, for the first quarter of 2015 and $0.1 million for the same period in 2014. The 2015 charge relates to management's decision to write-off abandoned project costs at ITCTransmission. The 2014 charge relates to certain acquisition accounting adjustments for ITC Midwest, ITCTransmission, and METC resulting from the FERC audit order on ITC Midwest issued in May 2012.
  3. The estimated refund liability associated with the Midcontinent ISO (MISO) regional base ROE rate (the "base ROE") of $4.8 million, or $0.03 per diluted common share, for the three months ended March 31, 2015. The refund liability reflects the estimated refund obligation associated with the base ROE 206 complaint. 
Operating earnings for the first quarter of 2015 increased by $3.3 million, or $0.03 per diluted common share, compared with the same period last year. The increase of approximately 7% compared to the prior period was largely attributable to higher income associated with increased rate base at our operating companies, partially offset by non-recoverable bonus payments associated with completion of the V-Plan project at ITC Great Plains in December of 2014. Absent the V-Plan project bonus payments in the first quarter, year-over-year operating earnings would have increased by approximately 15%.

Balance Sheet Activities
On April 7, 2015, ITC Midwest issued $225 million aggregate principal amount of 3.83% First Mortgage Bonds, Series G, due 2055. The proceeds from the issuance were used for general corporate purposes, including the repayment of borrowings under ITC Midwest's revolving credit agreement. ITC Midwest's First Mortgage Bonds are issued under its first mortgage and deed of trust and secured by a first mortgage lien on substantially all of its property.

2015 EPS and Capital Investment Guidance
For 2015, ITC is reaffirming its full year operating earnings per share guidance of $2.00 to $2.15. ITC is also reaffirming its 2015 capital guidance range of $710 to $810 million, which includes $170 to $200 million for ITCTransmission, $150 to $170 million for METC, $380 to $405 million for ITC Midwest, $10 to $25 million for ITC Great Plains and up to $10 million of Development.

First Quarter 2015 Operating Earnings Financial Results Detail

ITC's operating revenues for the first quarter of 2015 increased to $280.0 million compared to $258.6 million for the first quarter of 2014. Amounts reported for the first quarter of 2015 exclude approximately $7.5 million in reduced pre-tax revenues associated with the base ROE refund liability. The increase in operating revenues was primarily due to higher revenue requirements attributable to higher rate base at our regulated operating subsidiaries, as well as an increase in regional cost sharing revenues resulting from additional capital projects being placed in-service that have been identified by MISO as eligible for regional cost sharing and higher accumulated investment for the Kansas V-Plan Project.

Operation and maintenance (O&M) expenses of $25.6 million were consistent with the prior period.

General and administrative (G&A) expenses of $39.4 million were $12.4 million higher compared to the same period in 2014. Amounts reported for the first quarter of 2015 exclude approximately $1.5 million of pre-tax expenses related to regulatory charges and the first quarter of 2014 exclude approximately $1.0 million of pre-tax expenses related to the Entergy transaction. The increase in G&A expenses was primarily due to incentive-based compensation for bonus payments associated with completion of the V-Plan project at ITC Great Plains in December of 2014.

Depreciation and amortization expenses of $34.4 million increased by $3.0 million compared to the same period in 2014 due to a higher depreciable base resulting from property, plant and equipment additions. Taxes other than income taxes of $22.4 million were $1.2 million higher than the same period in 2014. This increase was due to 2014 capital additions at our regulated operating subsidiaries, which are included in the tax base for 2015 personal property tax calculations. Interest expense of $48.1 million increased by $2.9 million compared to the same period in 2014. Amounts reported for the first quarter 2015 and 2014 exclude $0.4 million and $0.1 million, respectively, of pre-tax expenses related to the adjustments to operating earnings. The increase was due primarily to higher borrowing levels to finance capital investments.

The effective income tax rate for the first quarter of 2015 was 37.6 percent compared to 38.3 percent for the same period last year. Amounts reported for the first quarter of 2015 and 2014 exclude approximately $3.5 million and $0.4 million, respectively, associated with adjustments to operating earnings.

First Quarter Conference Call and Webcast
Joseph L. Welch, chairman, president and CEO and Rejji P. Hayes, senior vice president, CFO and treasurer will discuss the first quarter results in a conference call at 11 a.m. Eastern on Thursday, April 30, 2015. Individuals wishing to participate in the conference call may dial toll-free 877-644-1296 (domestic) or 914-495-8555 (international); there is no passcode. A listen-only live webcast of the conference call, including accompanying slides and the earnings release, will be available on the company's investor information page. The conference call replay, available through May 5, 2015, can be accessed by dialing 855-859- 2056 (toll free) or 404-537-3406, passcode 17824916. The webcast will be archived on the ITC website.

Other Available Information
More detail about first quarter 2015 results may be found in ITC's Form 10-Q filing. Once filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission, an electronic copy of our 10-Q can be found at our website, http://investor.itc-holdings.com. Paper copies can also be made available by contacting us through our website. Additionally, a calendar of our future earnings calls can be found at our website, http://investor.itc-holdings.com.

About ITC Holdings Corp.
ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC) is the nation's largest independent electric transmission company. Based in Novi, Michigan, ITC invests in the electric transmission grid to improve reliability, expand access to markets, lower the overall cost of delivered energy and allow new generating resources to interconnect to its transmission systems. Through its regulated operating subsidiaries ITCTransmission, Michigan Electric Transmission Company, ITC Midwest and ITC Great Plains, ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission facilities in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, serving a combined peak load exceeding 26,000 megawatts along approximately 15,600 circuit miles of transmission line. ITC's grid development focus includes growth through regulated infrastructure investment as well as domestic and international expansion through merchant and other commercial development opportunities. For more information, please visit ITC's website at www.itc-holdings.com (ITC-itc-F).

GAAP v. Non-GAAP Measures
ITC's reported earnings are prepared in accordance with GAAP and represent earnings as reported to the Securities and Exchange Commission. ITC's management believes that operating earnings, or GAAP earnings adjusted for specific items as described in the release that are generally not indicative of our core operations, provides additional information that is useful to investors in understanding ITC's underlying performance, business and performance trends, and helps facilitate period to period comparisons. However, non-GAAP financial measures are not required to be uniformly applied, are not audited and should not be considered in isolation or as substitutes for results prepared in accordance with GAAP.

Safe Harbor Statement
This press release contains certain statements that describe our management's beliefs concerning future business conditions, plans and prospects, growth opportunities and the outlook for our business and the electricity transmission industry based upon information currently available. Such statements are "forward-looking" statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Wherever possible, we have identified these forward-looking statements by words such as "will," "may," "anticipates," "believes," "intends," "estimates," "expects," "projects" and similar phrases. These forwardlooking statements are based upon assumptions our management believes are reasonable. Such forward looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties which could cause our actual results, performance and achievements to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these statements, including, among others, the risks and uncertainties disclosed in our annual reports on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and other filings made with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Because our forward-looking statements are based on estimates and assumptions that are subject to significant business, economic and competitive uncertainties, many of which are beyond our control or are subject to change, actual results could be materially different and any or all of our forward-looking statements may turn out to be wrong. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the date made and can be affected by assumptions we might make or by known or unknown risks and uncertainties. Many factors mentioned in our discussion in this release and in our annual and quarterly reports will be important in determining future results. Consequently, we cannot assure you that our expectations or forecasts expressed in such forward-looking statements will be achieved. Except as required by law, we undertake no obligation to publicly update any of our forward-looking or other statements, whether as a result of new information, future events, or otherwise.

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