Geoffrey S. Chatas, Executive VP and CFO, Progress Energy
Richard Stavros is Fortnightly's Executive Editor.
What is the reason your company grew as fast as it did in the last three years?
Geoffrey S. Chatas: The utility business grew organically [in terms of] net income. Also the unregulated business-we ramped up our gas business. That went from contributing nothing to contributing $30 [million] to $40 million. And then our commercial competitive operations went from having negative to positive results in that period. Synthetic fuels had an important impact-but clearly it was not the only driver.
What was the basis or strategy for those consistent earnings over those years?
GSC: Focusing on running efficient utilities in growing states that have favorable regulatory environments so that you have the opportunity to earn that kind of 12 to 13 percent return on equity (ROE) on the utility business combined with not going crazy on the asset investment in terms of plowing billions and billions in investments that don't produce. I think that again the gas businesses has been a very efficient use of capital in terms of producing earnings. We did sell some gas assets last year and added others. So, it has been very efficient in terms of total return. Think of it like a private equity investment. Those are really the major reasons.
What are the top contributors by segment to your earnings?