PICKERING, ON, June 25, 2013 /CNW/ - During its annual shareholders' meeting held today in Pickering, Veridian Corporation Chair Doug Dickerson together with company President and CEO Michael Angemeer provided shareholders with an update on Veridian's business operations and announced that the company achieved consolidated net earnings of $10.2 million in 2012.
"We are extremely pleased with Veridian's financial performance over the past year," said Dickerson. "Despite an economy that's still very much in recovery mode, the company's 9.6 per cent return on equity was impressive, operating cost per customer came in under budget and shareholder equity increased 5.3 per cent, to $109.1 million. Additionally, a performance benchmarking report issued by the Ontario Energy Board ranked Veridian as a top quartile performer in spending efficiency when compared to the 75 electricity distributors in the province."
Highlights from Veridian's 2012 financial results include:
- $8.2 million in interest and dividend payments to shareholders.
- Distribution revenues increased $2.7 million or 6 per cent over 2011 levels, supported by investments in smart meter assets and increased energy consumption by customers (2,707 GWh in 2012 compared to 2,667 GWh in 2011).
- The Board of Directors has approved a dividend policy for the years 2012 to 2016 with base dividends of $4.7 million each year, subject to certain provisions.
In addition to Veridian's financial results, Angemeer reported that the company recorded exceptional operational performance in a number of key areas during 2012. "Our employees continue to be industry leaders when it comes to customer service and workplace safety," he said. "We recorded a 95 per cent customer satisfaction rating - exceeding last year's score by four per cent - and recording more than 500,000 hours without a lost-time injury. These are outstanding achievements that show the dedication and commitment to performance excellence among our employees."
Angemeer also noted the recognition the company received in 2012. "We were thrilled to be named one of Canada's Greenest Employers for a third consecutive year - a designation that recognizes our leadership in creating a culture of environmental awareness in our workplace; and honoured to have received the Smart Commute Workplace - Silver designation for our efforts in providing enhanced commuter options for our employees and promoting sustainable transportation."
A major accomplishment in 2012 was the completion of a rooftop-mounted solar array at the company's headquarters in Ajax. The array, consisting of more than 400 photovoltaic panels occupying roughly 45,000 square feet of the building garage roof, will generate approximately 160,000 kWh of clean, carbon-free electricity annually - an amount equivalent to that consumed by about 20 typical households. "The project is another example of the Board's commitment to make Veridian a leader in renewable electricity generation and smart grid development, while at the same time championing initiatives that provide real value to our shareholders and the communities we serve," said Dickerson.
2012 was also a year of internal change, which Angemeer highlighted in his remarks. "Veridian bid farewell to two executives: Dave Clark, who served as General Manager of Clarington Hydro before becoming Executive Vice President, Chief Financial Officer and Corporate Secretary, and Axel Starck, the former General Manager of Ajax Hydro who became Veridian's first Executive Vice President of Asset Services and Chief Operating Officer. We have taken this opportunity to look at deriving efficiencies with a new executive structure that best reflects the needs of today's Veridian. A flatter organizational structure was adopted that avoided a need for new external hires and, in the end, customers and shareholders have benefited from a more nimble, responsive, efficient organization."
Dickerson and Angemeer are optimistic about the business opportunities that lie ahead for Veridian and remain committed to focusing the company's efforts on providing reliable, efficient and sustainable energy services to its customers, while delivering optimal returns on investment to shareholders and promoting economic growth in its service territories. Both agree that Veridian has the people, plans, partnerships and strategic investments that are building stronger, more resilient communities. "The smart grid is just a hint of what's to come. We're connected to power's future - the utility providers, municipalities and post-secondary institutions that provide essential services to our rural and urban communities. Working together, we will ensure tomorrow's power is driven by multi-disciplinary best practices and delivered in an efficient, cost effective, sustainable way," commented Dickerson.
A copy of Veridian's 2012 annual report is available at www.veridiancorporation.ca.
Veridian Corporation, the seventh largest municipal electricity company in Ontario, owns and operates two subsidiary companies that distribute electricity and provide energy services to more than 116,000 customers located in nine municipalities in east central Ontario. Together, our employees focus on providing reliable, efficient, sustainable energy solutions and services, and equally share the job of making employee and public health and safety our number one priority. We are an important fixture in the communities that we serve. In addition to providing reasonable electricity rates, we promote economic growth, community building and sustainable living. Veridian Corporation is committed to providing value and healthy financial returns to our shareholders - the City of Pickering, the Town of Ajax, the Municipality of Clarington and the City of Belleville. For more information, visit www.veridiancorporation.ca.
For further information:
Sales & PR Representative - Corporate Communications
Veridian Connections Inc.
905-427-9870, extension 2218