FPL Group chairman tells shareholders that company is well positioned for long-term growth; Board of Directors declares quarterly dividend
JUNO BEACH, Fla. – FPL Group (NYSE: FPL) performed exceptionally well in 2007 and has outstanding growth prospects going forward, FPL Group Chairman and CEO Lewis Hay, III told shareholders at the company’s annual meeting today.
In 2007, total shareholder return on FPL Group stock was 28 percent, compared to 19 percent for the S&P Utility Index and 5.5 percent for the S&P 500. Similarly reflecting the company’s strong performance in a broad range of areas in 2007, Fortune magazine named FPL Group Inc. No. 1 for the second year in a row in the category of electric and gas utilities in its list of “America’s Most Admired Companies.”
Looking forward, FPL Group is well positioned for the long term at both of its businesses – Florida Power & Light Company and FPL Energy – and is guided by a balanced growth strategy, Hay said.
In addition to supporting Florida’s future growth, FPL Group’s utility, Florida Power & Light Company, will be investing to lower customers’ fuel cost, reduce emissions, increase conservation and improve system reliability.
These new investments include:
- Energy efficiency programs and an advanced metering initiative.
- New renewable energy projects that the company is proposing.
- Proposed additional gas generation projects, including the modernization of two older plants to reduce emissions and increase fuel efficiency.
- Expanded capacity at its existing nuclear plants.
- And, long-term initiatives to make FPL’s electrical system more resilient to storms.
“These investments will be focused on improving efficiency and reducing our fuel costs as well as further improving our clean environmental profile,” said Hay.
FPL Energy is planning $16 billion to $20 billion of renewable investments in the 2007-2012 period. The company currently has more than 22,000 megawatts in its wind development pipeline, and expects to add between 7,000 and 9,000 megawatts of new wind capacity by 2012.
In 2007, FPL Energy installed 1,064 megawatts of new wind capacity, primarily in Texas, Colorado, North Dakota and Iowa. In fact, FPL Energy added more megawatts of wind energy capacity in the U.S. than any other company, as it has in every year but one since 2000.
Solar is expected to be a good growth opportunity for FPL Energy, Hay noted. By 2012, FPL Energy plans to add between 200-400 megawatts of new solar generating capacity. The company recently filed a certification application with the California Energy Commission (CEC) to build, own and operate a 250-megawatt solar thermal energy plant in Kern County, Calif.
“Overall, FPL Group has a strong track record of earnings growth, a proven strategy going forward, a great team and is well-positioned for attractive, above-industry-average, long-term growth,” Hay said.
Shareholders elect all directors, ratify appointment of independent registered public accounting firm, and approve FPL Group Executive Annual Incentive Plan
During the meeting, shareholders elected the following slate of directors to a one-year term: Sherry S. Barrat, Robert M. Beall, II, J. Hyatt Brown, James L. Camaren, J. Brian Ferguson, Lewis Hay, III, Toni Jennings, Oliver D. Kingsley, Jr., Rudy E. Schupp, Michael H. Thaman, Hansel E. Tookes, II, and Paul R. Tregurtha.
Shareholders also ratified the appointment of Deloitte & Touche LLP as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for the year ending Dec. 31, 2008, and approved the FPL Group Executive Annual Incentive Plan.
Also today, the board of directors declared a regular quarterly common stock dividend of 44.5 cents per share. The dividend is payable June 16, 2008, to shareholders of record June 6, 2008. Today's board action mark the 250th consecutive quarterly dividend paid to the holders of FPL Group common stock.
FPL Group, with annual revenues of over $15 billion, is nationally known as a high quality, efficient, and customer-driven organization focused on energy-related products and services. With a growing presence in 27 states, it is widely recognized as one of the country's premier power companies. Its rate-regulated subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company, serves 4.5 million customer accounts in Florida. FPL Energy, LLC, an FPL Group competitive energy subsidiary, is a leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable fuels. Additional information is available on the Internet at www.FPLGroup.com , www.FPL.com andwww.FPLEnergy.com.
In connection with the safe harbor provisions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 (Reform Act), FPL Group, Inc. (FPL Group) and Florida Power & Light Company (FPL) are hereby providing cautionary statements identifying important factors that could cause FPL Group's or FPL's actual results to differ materially from those projected in forward-looking statements (as such term is defined in the Reform Act) made by or on behalf of FPL Group and FPL in this press release. Any statements that express, or involve discussions as to, expectations, beliefs, plans, objectives, assumptions, future events or performance, climate change strategy or growth strategies (often, but not always, through the use of words or phrases such as will likely result, are expected to, will continue, is anticipated, aim, believe, could, estimated, may, plan, potential, projection, target, outlook, predict, intend) are not statements of historical facts and may be forward-looking. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions and uncertainties. Accordingly, any such statements are qualified in their entirety by reference to, and are accompanied by, the following important factors (in addition to any assumptions and other factors referred to specifically in connection with such forward-looking statements) that could cause FPL Group's or FPL's actual results to differ materially from those contained in forward-looking statements made by or on behalf of FPL Group and FPL:
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to complex laws and regulations, and to changes in laws or regulations, including, but not limited to, the PURPA, the Holding Company Act, the Federal Power Act, the Atomic Energy Act of 1954, as amended, the 2005 Energy Act and certain sections of the Florida statutes relating to public utilities, changing governmental policies and regulatory actions, including, but not limited to, those of the FERC, the FPSC and the legislatures and utility commissions of other states in which FPL Group has operations, and the NRC, with respect to, among other things, allowed rates of return, industry and rate structure, operation of nuclear power facilities, construction and operation of plant facilities, construction and operation of transmission and distribution facilities, acquisition, disposal, depreciation and amortization of assets and facilities, recovery of fuel and purchased power costs, decommissioning costs, ROE and equity ratio limits, and present or prospective wholesale and retail competition (including, but not limited to, retail wheeling and transmission costs). The FPSC has the authority to disallow recovery by FPL of any and all costs that it considers excessive or imprudently incurred. The regulatory process generally restricts FPL's ability to grow earnings and does not provide any assurance as to achievement of earnings levels.
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to extensive federal, state and local environmental statutes, rules and regulations, as well as the effect of changes in or additions to applicable statutes, rules and regulations relating to air quality, water quality, climate change, waste management, marine and wildlife mortality, natural resources and health and safety that could, among other things, restrict or limit the output of certain facilities or the use of certain fuels required for the production of electricity and/or require additional pollution control equipment and otherwise increase costs. There are significant capital, operating and other costs associated with compliance with these environmental statutes, rules and regulations, and those costs could be even more significant in the future.
- FPL Group and FPL operate in a changing market environment influenced by various legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation, regulation or restructuring of the energy industry, including, but not limited to, deregulation or restructuring of the production and sale of electricity, as well as increased focus on renewable energy sources. FPL Group and its subsidiaries will need to adapt to these changes and may face increasing competitive pressure.
- FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations could be affected by FPL's ability to renegotiate franchise agreements with municipalities and counties in Florida.
- The operation and maintenance of transmission, distribution and power generation facilities involve many risks, including, but not limited to, start up risks, breakdown or failure of equipment, transmission and distribution lines or pipelines, the inability to properly manage or mitigate known equipment defects throughout FPL Group's and FPL's generation fleets and transmission and distribution systems unless and until such defects are remediated, use of new technology, the dependence on a specific fuel source, including the supply and transportation of fuel, or the impact of unusual or adverse weather conditions (including, but not limited to, natural disasters such as hurricanes and droughts), as well as the risk of performance below expected or contracted levels of output or efficiency. This could result in lost revenues and/or increased expenses, including, but not limited to, the requirement to purchase power in the market at potentially higher prices to meet contractual obligations. Insurance, warranties or performance guarantees may not cover any or all of the lost revenues or increased expenses, including, but not limited to, the cost of replacement power. In addition to these risks, FPL Group's and FPL's nuclear units face certain risks that are unique to the nuclear industry including, but not limited to, the ability to store and/or dispose of spent nuclear fuel and the potential payment of significant retrospective insurance premiums, as well as additional regulatory actions up to and including shutdown of the units stemming from public safety concerns, whether at FPL Group's and FPL's plants, or at the plants of other nuclear operators. Breakdown or failure of an operating facility of FPL Energy may prevent the facility from performing under applicable power sales agreements which, in certain situations, could result in termination of the agreement or incurring a liability for liquidated damages.
- FPL Group's and FPL's ability to successfully and timely complete their power generation facilities currently under construction, those projects yet to begin construction or capital improvements to existing facilities within established budgets is contingent upon many variables, including, but not limited to, transmission interconnection issues and escalating costs for materials, labor and environmental compliance, and subject to substantial risks. Should any such efforts be unsuccessful, FPL Group and FPL could be subject to additional costs, termination payments under committed contracts, and/or the write-off of their investment in the project or improvement.
- FPL Group and FPL use derivative instruments, such as swaps, options and forwards to manage their commodity and financial market risks. FPL Group provides full energy and capacity requirements services primarily to distribution utilities and engages in energy trading activities. FPL Group could recognize financial losses as a result of volatility in the market values of these derivative instruments, or if a counterparty fails to perform. In the absence of actively quoted market prices and pricing information from external sources, the valuation of these derivative instruments involves management's judgment or use of estimates. As a result, changes in the underlying assumptions or use of alternative valuation methods could affect the reported fair value of these derivative instruments. In addition, FPL's use of such instruments could be subject to prudency challenges and if found imprudent, cost recovery could be disallowed by the FPSC.
- There are other risks associated with FPL Group's competitive energy business. In addition to risks discussed elsewhere, risk factors specifically affecting FPL Energy's success in competitive wholesale markets include, but are not limited to, the ability to efficiently develop and operate generating assets, the successful and timely completion of project restructuring activities, maintenance of the qualifying facility status of certain projects, the price and supply of fuel (including transportation), transmission constraints, competition from new sources of generation, excess generation capacity and demand for power. There can be significant volatility in market prices for fuel and electricity, and there are other financial, counterparty and market risks that are beyond the control of FPL Energy. FPL Energy's inability or failure to effectively hedge its assets or positions against changes in commodity prices, interest rates, counterparty credit risk or other risk measures could significantly impair FPL Group's future financial results. In keeping with industry trends, a portion of FPL Energy's power generation facilities operate wholly or partially without long-term power purchase agreements. As a result, power from these facilities is sold on the spot market or on a short-term contractual basis, which may affect the volatility of FPL Group's financial results. In addition, FPL Energy's business depends upon transmission facilities owned and operated by others; if transmission is disrupted or capacity is inadequate or unavailable, FPL Energy's ability to sell and deliver its wholesale power may be limited.
- FPL Group and FPL rely on access to capital markets as a significant source of liquidity for capital requirements not satisfied by operating cash flows. The inability of FPL Group, FPL Group Capital and FPL to maintain their current credit ratings, as well as significant volatility in the financial markets, could affect their ability to raise capital on favorable terms, which, in turn, could impact FPL Group's and FPL's ability to grow their businesses and would likely increase their interest costs.
- FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations are affected by the growth in customer accounts in FPL's service area. Customer growth can be affected by population growth as well as economic factors in Florida, including, but not limited, to job and income growth, housing starts and new home prices. Customer growth directly influences the demand for electricity and the need for additional power generation and power delivery facilities at FPL.
- FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations are affected by changes in the weather. Weather conditions directly influence the demand for electricity and natural gas, affect the price of energy commodities, and can affect the production of electricity at power generating facilities, including, but not limited to, wind, solar and hydro-powered facilities. FPL Group's and FPL's results of operations can be affected by the impact of severe weather which can be destructive, causing outages and/or property damage, may affect fuel supply, and could require additional costs to be incurred. At FPL, recovery of these costs is subject to FPSC approval.
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to costs and other effects of legal and administrative proceedings, settlements, investigations and claims, as well as the effect of new, or changes in, tax laws, rates or policies, rates of inflation, accounting standards, securities laws and corporate governance requirements.
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to direct and indirect effects of terrorist threats and activities, as well as cyber attacks and disruptive activities of individuals and/or groups. Infrastructure facilities and systems, including, but not limited to, generation, transmission and distribution facilities, physical assets and information systems, in general, have been identified as potential targets. The effects of these threats and activities include, but are not limited to, the inability to generate, purchase or transmit power, the delay in development and construction of new generating facilities, the risk of a significant slowdown in growth or a decline in the U.S. economy, delay in economic recovery in the U.S., and the increased cost and adequacy of security and insurance.
- FPL Group's and FPL's ability to obtain insurance, and the cost of and coverage provided by such insurance, could be affected by national, state or local events as well as company-specific events.
- FPL Group and FPL are subject to employee workforce factors, including, but not limited to, loss or retirement of key executives, availability of qualified personnel, inflationary pressures on payroll and benefits costs, collective bargaining agreements with union employees and work stoppage that could affect the businesses and financial condition of FPL Group and FPL.
The risks described herein are not the only risks facing FPL Group and FPL. Additional risks and uncertainties not currently known to FPL Group or FPL, or that are currently deemed to be immaterial, also may materially adversely affect FPL Group’s or FPL’s business, financial condition and/or future operating results.
Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date on which such statement is made, and FPL Group and FPL undertake no obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances, including unanticipated events, after the date on which such statement is made. New factors emerge from time to time and it is not possible for management to predict all of such factors, nor can it assess the impact of each such factor on the business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause actual results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statement.