News Release
April 24, 2003

DUKE ENERGY LEADERS FOCUS ON REBUILDING VALUE AND POSITIONING THE COMPANY FOR RENEWED GROWTH

CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Duke Energy leaders told shareholders at its annual meeting today that 2003 will be a year of rebuilding and repositioning as the company focuses on its strengths following a turbulent 2002 in the energy industry.

 

“We are intently focused on rebuilding value for our shareholders in 2003,” said Richard B. Priory, chairman and chief executive officer of Duke Energy, as he addressed more than 400 shareholders. “We are working hard to restore the luster of this great company.

 

“We didn’t predict the extent of last year’s turmoil in the merchant sector, and we can’t predict when we’ll see a recovery. We can’t predict -- but we can position,” Priory said. “Position ourselves for renewed growth when market cycles turn; position ourselves to maintain the financial ballast that will protect us during the down cycle; and position the company to recover sooner, faster and stronger than our competitors."

 

President and Chief Operating Officer Fred Fowler said the company would continue to pursue a business strategy that safeguards and optimizes the strengths of its portfolio. “The balanced strategy has served us well, and provided some degree of shelter from the volatility of an erratic marketplace. Today we continue to pursue a business model that has the right levels of risk and reward,” he said.

 

Fowler reviewed the state of the Duke Energy businesses for shareholders.

 

“One side of our portfolio scale encompasses Duke Power and Duke Energy Gas Transmission. They are rock-solid businesses, delivering stable, steady earnings. Their backbone of pipelines, plants and wires provides strength and stamina to our portfolio. From tackling winter storms in the Carolinas, to building our natural gas pipelines, to delivering record levels of productivity from our power plants – Duke Energy delivers strong, consistent operational performance. Duke Power and Duke Energy Gas Transmission delivered admirably in 2002, and they will deliver approximately 80 percent of our operating income this year.

 

“On the other side of the portfolio are our merchant energy businesses. We are dramatically recasting those businesses, reining in our exposure and recalibrating the level of risk we’re willing to take on,” Fowler continued. “We do see value in the merchant energy business, and we’re going to continue to pursue the opportunities there. We’ve been working hard not only to scale back our merchant business, but to make sure that it is structured and managed for the long-term.”

 

During the meeting, Duke Energy shareholders re-elected five Class III board members:  Robert J. Brown, William T. Esrey, George D. Johnson Jr., James G. Martin and Richard B. Priory. The shareholders also elected Michael E.J. Phelps as a Class I director, ratified the appointment of Deloitte & Touche LLP as the company’s auditors for 2003, and approved two company-sponsored proposals relating to compensation plan amendments. The shareholders did not approve the two shareholder proposals presented at the meeting.

 

The complete text of Priory and Fowler remarks can be found at the Duke Energy Web site in the Executive Viewpoint column under the "About Us" section.

 

DUKE ENERGY ANNUAL MEETING VOTING RESULTS

 

Proposal 1 – Election of Directors

All nominees elected

 

Proposal 2 – Approval of Auditors

FOR – 94.63 percent; AGAINST – 5.37 percent

 

Proposal 3 – Approval of the Amended Duke Energy Corporation 1998 Long-Term Incentive Plan

FOR – 91.56 percent; AGAINST – 8.44 percent

 

Proposal 4 – Approval of Amended Executive Short-Term Incentive Plan

FOR – 89.48 percent; AGAINST – 10.52 percent

 

SHAREHOLDER PROPOSALS

 

Proposal 5 – Study of the Risk and Responsibility for Public Harm Due to Duke Energy’s Nuclear Program

FOR – 5.67 percent; AGAINST – 94.33percent

 

Proposal 6 – Re-examination of Duke Energy’s Dividend Policy

FOR – 7.3 percent; AGAINST – 92.7 percent

 

Duke Energy is a diversified multinational energy company with an integrated network of energy assets and expertise. The company manages a dynamic portfolio of natural gas and electric supply, delivery and trading businesses – meeting the energy needs of customers throughout North America and in key markets around the world. Duke Energy, headquartered in Charlotte, N.C., is a Fortune 500 company traded on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol DUK. More information about the company is available on the Internet at: www.duke-energy.com.

 

This document includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Although Duke Energy believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, it can give no assurance that its goals will be achieved. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those in the forward-looking statements herein include legislative and regulatory developments; the outcomes of litigation and regulatory proceedings or inquiries; general economic conditions, including any potential effects arising from terrorist attacks and any consequential hostilities or other hostilities; the effectiveness of the company's risk management and internal controls systems; the timing and extent of changes in commodity prices for oil, gas, coal, electricity and interest rates; the extent of success in connecting natural gas supplies to gathering and processing systems and in connecting and expanding natural gas and electric markets; the performance of electric generation, pipeline and natural gas processing facilities; the timing and success of efforts to develop domestic and international power, pipeline, gathering, processing and other infrastructure projects; conditions of the capital markets and equity markets during the periods covered by the forward-looking statements; and  other factors discussed in Duke Energy's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

 

Contact: Terry Francisco
Phone: 704/373-6680
24 Hour Phone: 704/382-8333
Email: thfrancisco@duke-energy.com