Delivering Results Today: A Financial Report Card
Duke Energy delivered exceptional 2010 results, both financially and operationally.
During 2010, we met our financial commitments as we grew earnings, increased the quarterly dividend, and maintained the strength of our balance sheet. Extreme weather boosted sales and earnings during 2010. We ended the year with adjusted diluted earnings per share of $1.43, above our original adjusted diluted earnings guidance range of $1.25 to $1.30.
The exceptional performance of our fleet and our employees’ dedication to delivering high-quality customer service allowed us to capture the value of increased weather-related sales. The company is positioned to achieve a long-term adjusted diluted earnings growth rate of 4 to 6 percent. 1
In 2010, we increased our quarterly cash dividend to shareholders from $0.24 per share to $0.245 per share. We are committed to growing the dividend and have targeted a long-term dividend payout ratio of 65 to 70 percent, based on adjusted diluted earnings per share.
In 2010, we continued to focus on maintaining the strength of our balance sheet. We are taking advantage of historically low interest rates to issue debt to finance our modernization programs. Over the past two years, we have issued just over $5 billion of fixed-rate debt at an average interest rate of 4.8 percent. These low interest rates will help us mitigate customer rate impacts.
Our strong investment-grade credit ratings have stable outlooks with both S&P and Moody’s. We had total available liquidity of approximately $3.4 billion at year-end.
Our shareholders enjoyed a total return (including dividends and the change in stock price) of 9.5 percent in 2010, outperforming the Philadelphia Utility Index, which returned 5.7 percent. Longer term, too, Duke Energy has outperformed the utility index, with cumulative three-year returns of 4.7 percent and five-year returns of 44.2 percent, compared to -15.4 percent and 20.9 percent, respectively, for the utility index.
1From a base of 2009 adjusted diluted earnings per share of $1.22.