Financial strength supports sustainable growth
In 2012, the company achieved adjusted diluted earnings per share of $4.32, which was near the top of the company’s $4.20 to $4.35 earnings guidance to Wall Street.
Those strong financial results reflect the addition of earnings from Progress Energy since our merger in July 2012, and rate increases at Duke Energy Carolinas to recover our investments in cleaner power plants and digital power delivery systems.
Delivering competitive returns for our investors is one of our primary goals as a sustainable company. Toward that aim, we increased our quarterly dividend by approximately 2 percent in 2012, the 86th consecutive year Duke Energy has paid a quarterly dividend on its common stock.
Our total shareholder return — the change in stock price plus dividends — from the merger announcement in early January 2011 through the end of 2012 was approximately 32 percent. This significantly outperformed the 17 percent return of both the Philadelphia Utility Index (20 U.S. utilities) and the S&P 500 during the same period.
The strength of our balance sheet, liquidity and investment-grade credit support our ability to grow the business as well as the dividend. We are committed to maintaining this financial strength, which allows us to grow in a sustainable, cost-effective manner. During 2012, we continued to take advantage of historically low long-term interest rates and issued $4.6 billion of fixed-rate debt at a weighted-average rate of 3.2 percent, with a weighted-average term of 17 years.
In 2012, the company spent approximately $6 billion on capital, investment and acquisition expenditures, and we expect that to be fairly consistent in 2013. We continue to hold discretionary capital, which gives us the flexibility to pursue future projects that meet our growth criteria.
Duke Energy remains well-positioned to achieve long-term average annual growth in adjusted diluted earnings per share of 4 to 6 percent from a 2013 base, which represents the first full year for the merged company, through 2015.