Skip to main content

Atmos Energy Corp(ATO-N)
NYSE

Today's Change
Real-Time Last Update Last Sale Cboe BZX Real-Time

Atmos Energy (ATO) Q1 2022 Earnings Call Transcript

Motley Fool - Wed Feb 9, 2022
Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

Image source: The Motley Fool.

Atmos Energy(NYSE: ATO)
Q1 2022 Earnings Call
Feb 09, 2022, 9:00 a.m. ET

Contents:

  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants

Prepared Remarks:


Operator

Greetings. Welcome to the Atmos Energy Q1 earnings conference call. At this time, all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question-and-answer session will follow the formal presentation.

[Operator instructions] Please note this conference is being recorded. I will now turn the conference over to your host Dan Meziere, vice president of IR, and treasurer. Thank you. You may begin.

Dan Meziere -- Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer

Thank you, Hillary. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining our fiscal 2022 first quarter earnings call. With me today are Kevin Akers, president, and chief executive officer; and Chris Forsythe, senior vice president and chief financial officer. Our earnings release and conference call slide presentation, which we'll reference in our prepared remarks, are available at atmosenergy.com under the investor relations tab.

As we review these financial results and discuss future expectations, please keep in mind that some of our discussions might contain forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Securities Act and the Securities Exchange Act. Our forward-looking statements and projections could differ materially from actual results. Factors that could cause such material differences are outlined on Slide 25 and are more fully described in our SEC filings. With that, I will turn the call over to Chris Forsythe, our senior vice president, and CFO.

10 stocks we like better than Atmos Energy
When our award-winning analyst team has a stock tip, it can pay to listen. After all, the newsletter they have run for over a decade, Motley Fool Stock Advisor, has tripled the market.*

They just revealed what they believe are the ten best stocks for investors to buy right now... and Atmos Energy wasn't one of them! That's right -- they think these 10 stocks are even better buys.

See the 10 stocks

*Stock Advisor returns as of January 20, 2022

Chris?

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Dan, and good morning, everyone. We appreciate you joining us and your interest in Atmos Energy. Yesterday, we reported fiscal '22 first quarter net income of $249 million, a $1.86 per diluted share. Our first quarter performance was in line with our expectations, reflecting the ongoing execution of our operating, financial and regulatory strategies.

Consolidated operating income decreased to $276 million in the first quarter, primarily due to a $39 million decrease in revenues associated with the refund of excess deferred tax liabilities. As a reminder, beginning in the second quarter of fiscal '21 and through the end of last fiscal year, we reached an agreement with regulators in various states to begin refunding excess deferred tax liabilities. Generally, over a three to five-year period, these refunds reduce revenues throughout the fiscal year when those revenues are billed. The corresponding reduction in our interim annual effective income tax rate is recognized at the beginning of the fiscal year.

Therefore, period-over-period changes in revenues and income tax expense may not be offset with interim periods that will substantially offset by the end of the fiscal year. Excluding the impact of these excess deferred tax liability refunds, operating income increased $16 million over the prior-year quarter. Slide 5 summarizes the key performance drivers for each year operating segments. Rate increases in both of our operating segments, driven by increased safety reliability capital spending totaled $47 million.

Continued robust customer growth and our distribution segment increase operating income by $4 million. In the 12 months ended December 31st, we added 55,000 new customers, which represents a 1.7% increase. These increases are partially offset by a $20 million increase in consolidated O&M expense. As a reminder, in the prior-year quarter, we deferred non-compliant spending to fight in the fiscal year.

As we evaluated our customer load during that time period. Therefore, the period-over-period variance partially reflects this time indifference. The first quarter increase is primarily driven by increased pipeline maintenance activities. Consolidated capital spending increased to $684 million, a $227 million period-over-period increase reflecting an increased system of modernization spending in our distribution segment.

Spending to close out Phase 1 of APT's Line X and Line X2 projects and project timing. We remain on track to spend $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion of capital expenditures this fiscal year with more than 80% of the spending focused on modernizing the distribution and transmission network, which also reduces methane emissions. We're also on track with our regulatory filings. To date, we have implemented $73 million in annualized regulatory outcomes excluding refunds of excess deferred tax liabilities.

And currently, we have about $36 million in progress. Slides 17 through 24 summarize these outcomes. And Slide 16 outlines our planned filings for the remainder of this fiscal year. To date, we have completed over $1 billion of long-term financing.

Following the completion of the $600 million 30-year senior note issuance in October, we executed four sales rates under our ATM program for approximately 2.7 million shares for $260 million, and we settled forward agreements on 2.7 million shares or approximately $262 million. As of December 31st, we were probably $295 million in net proceeds available under existing forward sale agreements. As a result of this activity, we've now priced a substantial portion of fiscal '22 equity needs and anticipate satisfying remaining equity needs through our ATM program. As a result of this financing activity, direct recapitalization excluding the $2.2 billion of winter storm financing, was 59% as of December 31st.

Additionally, we finished the quarter with approximately $3.1 billion of liquidity. In January, we completed the issuance of $200 million of long-term debt through [Inaudible] our existing 10-year 2.625% notes due September 2029. The net proceeds were used to pay off or $200 million term loan that was scheduled to mature in April. Following this offering, excluding the interim winter storm financing, a weighted average cost of debt decreased to 3.81% and our weighted average maturity increased 19.23 years, which further strengthens our financial profile.

Additional details for financing activities or equity forward arrangements, as well as our financial profile, can be found on Slides 7 through 10. And we continue to make progress on securitization. Yesterday, the Texas Railroad Commission unanimously issued a financing order authorizing the Texas Public Financing Authority to issue custom rate relief bonds to securitize costs associated with winter storm Uri over a period not to exceed 30 years. We currently anticipate the securitization transaction will be completed by the end of our fiscal year.

Upon receipt of the securitization funds, we will repay the $2.2 billion of winter storm financing we issued last March. And in Kansas, we started our securitization proceedings at the Kansas Corporation Commission in late January. Based on the current procedural schedule, we are anticipating a financing order by the end of our fiscal third quarter. Our first quarter performance was a solid start in the fiscal year, the execution of our operational, financial, regulatory plans is on track, which positions us well to achieve our fiscal '22 earnings per share guidance of $5.40 to $5.60.

Details around our guidance can be found in Slides 12 and 13. Thank you for your time this morning. I'll now turn the call over to Kevin for his closing remarks. Kevin?

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you, Chris, and good morning, everyone. Before I begin my update today, I want to take this opportunity to recognize and say thank you to all 4,700 Atmos Energy employees. It is through your dedication, your focus, and the effort that we safely provide natural gas sales to 3.2 million customers in 1,400 communities across our eight states. Thank you for all you do every day for Atmos Energy.

I also want to take this time to thank our hometown heroes, our first responders, and emergency responders for their continued dedication and support for all of us. And as you just heard, we're off to a great start. The results, Chris summarized, reflect the commitment of all 4,700 Atmos Energy employees as we work together to continue modernizing our natural gas distribution, transmission, and storage systems on our journey to be the safest provider of natural gas services. During the first quarter, we achieved several project milestones to further enhance the safety, reliability, versatility, and supply diversification of our system.

For example, at APT, we placed into service Phase 1 of a 2-phase pipeline integrity project that will replace 125 miles of Line X. As a reminder, Line X runs from Waha to Dallas and is key to providing reliable service to the local distribution companies behind the APT system. Phase 1 replaced 63 miles of 36-inch pipeline. Phase 2 includes an additional 62 miles of 36-inch pipeline and is anticipated to be completed late this calendar year.

Additionally, we completed the first of a 3-phase project to replace our existing Line S2. This 91-mile 36-inch project will provide additional supply from the Haynesville and Conn Valley shale plays to the east side of the growing Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. Phase 1 replaces 21 miles of this line and Phase 2 will replace an additional 18 miles and is expected to be completed late this calendar year. Phase 3, which will replace the remaining 52 miles is expected to be in service in 2023.

During the completion of Phase 1 for Line X and Phase 1 for Line S2 our teams used recompression practices to avoid venting or flaring over 70,000 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent. This is an excellent example of how Atmos Energy's environmental strategy is being integrated into our daily operations. APT's third salt-dome cavern project at Bethel is now approximately 80% complete and remains on track to be placed in service late this calendar year. As a reminder, this project is anticipated to provide an additional five to six Bcf of Cavern storage capacity.

As I mentioned during our November call, we have started work on a 22-mile 36-inch line that will connect the southern end of the APT system with a 42-inch Kinder Morgan Permian Highway line that runs from Waha to Katy. This new line will support the forecasted growth and increased supply diversity to the north of Austin in both Williston and Travis County in Texas. This line is expected to be in service in late December of this year. In addition to those system modernization projects, we continue to make progress in advancing our comprehensive environmental strategy that is focused on reducing Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions and reducing our environmental impact from our operations in the following five key areas, operations, fleet, facility, gas supply, and customers.

For example, across our storage facilities, we utilize advanced methane detection technologies, including gas, cloud imaging, acoustic monitoring, forward-looking infrared handheld cameras, and laser-based remote methane leak detectors. At APT storage fields, we are making progress with the installation of the remaining gas cloud imaging cameras for continuous methane monitoring and anticipate completion by the end of this fiscal year. Our RNG strategy focuses on identifying opportunities to transport RNG for our customers. We currently transport approximately eight Bcf a year and anticipate another four projects to come online within the next 12 to 18 months.

Those four projects are expected to provide an additional Bcf a year of RNG capacity. Furthermore, we are evaluating approximately 20 opportunities that could further expand our RNG transportation. Two, zero net energy homes are underway in Texas, one in Taylor and the other in Dallas. The home in Taylor is being developed through our partnership with the Williamson County Habitat for humanity, and we estimate the home to be completed in late March.

And in Dallas, we are working with the Dallas habitat humanity and estimate construction of this zero net energy home to begin mid-March. These homes use high-efficiency natural gas appliances doubled with rooftop solar panels and insulation to minimize the home's carbon footprint. The zero net energy homes demonstrate the value and the vital role natural gas plays in helping customers reduce their carbon footprint in an affordable manner. Providing these families with a natural gas home that is environmentally friendly and cost-efficient is just one-way Atmos Energy fuels safe and thriving communities.

And finally, over the next five years, we will invest $13 billion to $14 billion in capital support, the replacement of 5,000 to 6,000 miles of our distribution transmission pipe, or about 6% to 8% of our total system. We will also replace 100 to 150 steel service lines, which is expected to reduce our inventory by approximately 20%. This level of replacement work is expected to reduce methane emissions from our system by 15% to 20% over the next five years. Our first quarter activities and initiatives reflect the continued successful execution of our strategy to modernize our natural gas distribution, transmission, and storage systems as we continue our journey to be the safest provider of natural gas services.

These efforts, along with the strength of our balance sheet, our strong liquidity, have atmos energy well-positioned to continue serving the vital role we play in every community that is delivering safe, reliable, efficient, and abundant natural gas to homes, businesses, and industries to fuel our energy needs now and in the future. We appreciate your time and interest this morning. We'll now open the call for questions.

Questions & Answers:


Operator

Thank you. At this time, we will be conducting a question-and-answer session. [Operator instructions] Our first question is from Richard Sunderland of J.P. Morgan.

Please proceed with your question.

Richard Sunderland -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Hi, good morning, thanks for taking my questions. Maybe just starting on O&M, how is the balance of work and timing tracking versus expectations? Just curious if you have any early sense here, I guess directionally where expenses are putting you in the guidance range.

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. Sure, Richard. This is Chris, good morning. Really, the O&M spending was still in line with our expectations as I mentioned in my prepared remarks.

When you look at our current year compared to the prior-year quarter, the prior-year quarter was a bit of a low mark. So when you look at where we are now, it's roughly a 15% increase quarter over quarter. But when you look to the midpoint of our guidance compared with last year's O&M levels, that's about a 3% increase. So right now, we're still seeing O&M trending in that $6 million to $7 million, or $10 million range.

And we believe that that's at least where we are, as we said today that that spending will continue to be in line with those expectations.

Richard Sunderland -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks for the color there. And then maybe just at a high level, could you outline the expected timing of major base rate cases over the next, say, two to three years, including the APT system?

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure, I mean, again, we typically execute 18 to 20, 22 annual regulatory filings, the fiscal second quarter is our busiest filing period. So we're making a number of GRIP filings at APT as well as in our Mid-Tex and West Texas divisions. We'll also be making a regulatory filing, an annual regulatory filing in Mississippi in early March as well as Louisiana, and a secondary filing in July in Mississippi. So live activity becoming over the next several months.

Much of this will be implemented by the end of the fiscal year. We will also file our West Texas and Mid-Tex RRM filings generally at the end of March, the first part of April, and those are scheduled to become implemented around October 1 of -- so that really at the start of the next fiscal year. With respect to APT, the general rate case is scheduled to begin in our fiscal 2023-time period. So we've factored that into our five-year plan.

So the GRIP filing that we'll make here in mid-February will be the last GRIP filing before that annual rate proceeding next year.

Richard Sunderland -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks for outlining all of that. Thank you for the time today.

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you, Richard.

Operator

Our next question is from Julien Dumoulin-Smith of Bank of America. Please proceed with your question.

Julien Dumoulin-Smith -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Hey, good morning, team. Thanks for the time. Congratulations and everything here. Just following up here.

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Good Morning.

Julien Dumoulin-Smith -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Good morning. Just following up in Kansas here. Obviously, the process kicking off here. Just talk a little bit about the expectations on the tenor, ultimately on that proceeding.

And frankly, is anything else that you think is relevant that we should be talking about in terms of parameters? Obviously, kudos on getting the ROC is finalized here.

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Thank you so on Kansas. As I said, we're having in the early stages right now and we're getting the securitization proceedings. The terms of tenors it will depend upon what market conditions look like. We're obviously going to be looking to seek a AAA rating on that.

And we will be working with our banking partners as well as with the staff to determine the appropriate period to make these securitization costs, if you will, as affordable as you can for our Kansas customers. But it's still too early to tell where we are at this point.

Julien Dumoulin-Smith -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Got it, understood. And actually related -- especially considering the progress that you've made with the ROC. I mean, how are you thinking about the rating agencies moving forward here on removing the outlook here? Removing the negative outlook specifically?

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah. The dialog we've had with both Moody's and S&P has been basically been telling us we're going to wait to see what the Texas Railroad Commission financing looks like, that was issued yesterday. I'm sure they had a copy of that elsewhere, anticipating that conversations with those rating agencies are hopefully here this second fiscal quarter.

Julien Dumoulin-Smith -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Got it, and a quick last one here, just on the tax rate. Obviously depressed here, just the comments in the transcript here. To the extent to which that you should expect to continue to see this, this rate going forward, the lower rate has just given the tax liability.

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure. So our effective tax rate for the first quarter was about 5.9% that we're anticipating, including the excess deferred tax liabilities in income -- the effective income tax rate in the 7% to 9%. Given that we are refunding these excess deferred tax liabilities over the next three to five years, that effective tax rate should be in place in that in that general range over that time period. But when you back out the impact of the excess deferred tax liability refunds, the marginal effective income tax rate is in the 22% to 24% range.

Julien Dumoulin-Smith -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Right? Yeah, indeed. Thank you for clarifying that. Sorry, actually, if I can clarify the last question on APT.

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure.

Julien Dumoulin-Smith -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

I mean how are you seeing customer growth trend here? I mean some of your peers are talking pretty robustly of late. Just curious to see what you're seeing, especially as it impacts some of your other jurisdictions here like APT?

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Are you talking about, particularly here in the Metroplex, Julien, as we -- as Chris mentioned in his opening remarks, we've been growing just a little bit north of that 1.7% here in the Metroplex. Probably in the 40,000 to 45,000 customer range per year. It's a lot of residential growth. And as you get those rooftops, you'll have supporting commercial businesses as well.

We do have a few industrial customers that come in in the Metroplex area. A lot of this is also showing up in residential rooftops down in the Austin corridor as well. Again, that's why we're putting in that Permian Connector lying down their forecast to grow the forecasted demand expansion down there, with all of the people moving in from various locations across the country. That's what we're seeing, at least here in Texas, across other jurisdictions.

As we've talked about, it's been a really good, diverse mix of not only residential but as well as industrial growth as well. I reported I think at our fourth quarter call that we added 45 industrial customers last year. So we anticipate once they're fully online or utilized somewhere between 12 and 14 Bcf of natural gas, that equates to around 200,000 residential customers. And these are customers that are in the metals, they're in the healthcare, in the auto industry, a good variety distilling.

So we're getting a good mix of natural gas demand and response for the product across all sectors, whether that's Kentucky, Tennessee, Mississippi, good industrial growth. We continue to see good residential growth in our Colorado properties of people coming from the West Coast into Colorado and then again outside of the Kansas property.

Julien Dumoulin-Smith -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Got it. Excellent. Thank you, guys. appreciate it.

I'll pass it on.

Operator

Our next question is from Insoo Kim of Goldman Sachs. Please proceed with your question.

Insoo Kim -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Yeah. Thank you. My first question is just on costs overall. I think you recorded in the first fiscal quarter, the distribution gas cost of over $7 per Mcf versus, I think, $4 is range last year.

And thinking about that and other potential inflationary factors, whether it's labor or other commodities for capex. Any -- when you do the math, any concern there in your ability to achieve your -- whether it's a '22 or beyond capex while managing the bill impact?

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah. Insoo, I'll start out and then hand it over to Chris. The short answer is no on that. As you've heard us talk about at the end of last quarter when we kind of rolled out our five-year plan and forward look there, we did have some of this contemplated in our O&M projection that Chris just talked about as well.

You've heard us also talk about -- we've worked very hard to have a procurement team to stay ahead of some of our needs. We try and keep at least a six-month inventory. We're trying to increase that now, whether that's at our supplier or in our own warehouses. And as you may have heard us say before, all of our steel pipe needs for this fiscal year, all of those projects that we just talked about, all that pipe is on-site at that location.

So we feel like we're in really good shape. We stay ahead of our needs to our vendors. So at this point, I think given the work for a procurement team, given that we've got our pipe needs at least are still quite needs to be covered at this point, we anticipate that the O&M levels that we have baked in right now should be able to handle what we're seeing right now and should not have any impact on our capital spend going forward in the short-range.

Insoo Kim -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. Thanks for that reminder. That's a good color. My second question is kind of related to that.

Maybe on the other side, you've -- I think we've seen, the gas bases and in your Texas region kind of widen out again given talks about, take away capacity concerns. You're obviously working on a line to connect with the kinder line there. But any views on, future gas cost forecasts in your Texas jurisdiction and any opportunity to potentially take advantage of that spread in the near or longer-term, acknowledging that, from a hedging perspective, I know you're limited on the kind of what you can do.

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, I'll start out, and again, we'll take Chris wants to add anything here. I'm looking at Waha prices this morning, cash prices, and we're sitting at $3.60 out there. The forwards for Waha, if you're taking a look at that for the April off period, is around $3.45, something like that. So no crystal ball here, obviously.

But I think when you look at the rig count that we're seeing just last week of well over 600 rigs in the US working about half those in the Permian know we're seeing production levels that are now in the 14 to 14.25 Bcf a day range with projections. I think by the end of this calendar year, the first of '23 and the 16 Bcf per day range. I would hope that kind of supply pushes these prices down even further. But we'll have to wait and see on that piece of it.

But very encouraged again by the number of rigs, the supply that's coming online. And just one last comment there on the basis differential. Remember, that's part of our RIDER FF mechanism we have on APT and 75% of that goes directly back to the customer to reduce those rates. So that is a sharing mechanism there for those customers' benefit.

Insoo Kim -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Right.

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Chris, anything additional?

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah, I think the RIDER FF comment is spot on, Kevin. We don't -- we certainly think about that in our planning process, but just not a material portion of APT's business.

Insoo Kim -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. But at least it would help with the bill headroom. So I guess, an indirect benefit on that front.

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Yeah.

Insoo Kim -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Got it. Thank you so much.

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

[Operator instructions] Our next question is from Ryan Levine of Citi. Please proceed with your question.

Ryan Levine -- Citi -- Analyst

Good morning.

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Good morning.

Ryan Levine -- Citi -- Analyst

And just to follow up on the APT expansion to Permian Express. Can you elaborate on that kind of timeline in terms of executing that project? And if you're seeing any other commercial development opportunities for APT that are gaining more traction?

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, as I said in my opening remarks there, this is going to be a 22-mile line, 36-inch certainly will help us meet the forecasted growth in that Austin quarter, both in Williamson and Travis County down there. And we anticipate this line to be in service late this calendar year, which could be the first of next year. We're well on our way with all the necessary aspects to get that project rolling forward. So right now, those are the projects outlined in Phase 2, X2, Phase 2, and Phase 3 of S2, and then this project here are the major projects we have untapped for APT along with the finalization of that third cavern there.

And those all again will bring that diversity, reliability, and versatility to the APT system. Many areas to bring supply in and increase capacity.

Ryan Levine -- Citi -- Analyst

And do you have all the right ways and supplies already procured to help execute that project?

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Yeah, we have the majority of what we need to begin work on that at this time.

Ryan Levine -- Citi -- Analyst

OK. And switching gears in terms of the financing plan, you outlined your maturity schedule. Looks like there is a bigger maturity due next year with some floating rate that is curious how you're thinking about staggering your debt maturities going forward. And also in the context of the recent decision from yesterday.

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Sure, Ryan. So the big maturity that you see next year is the $2.2 billion interim winter storm financing we executed last March. We're anticipating with the completion of the Texas securitization process by the end of the fiscal year that we would use the net proceeds received from that securitization process to repay that $2.2 billion. So again, setting aside the $2.2 billion when you look at it, our weighted average maturity of 19.23 years, we're in a very, very good spot.

And as we continue to execute the five-year financing plan, Dan is here and his team is looking at all the options that are on the table in terms of laddering maturity schedules are all in with the idea of trying to minimize costs for our customers

Ryan Levine -- Citi -- Analyst

OK. And then the last question for me. There continues to be the talk of LDC assets in the market for sale. Curious if there's any change in how you're looking at deals and if you're spending any more time contemplating acquisitions.

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Well, Ryan, as we've said before, we're we certainly don't have our heads in the sand here. We're always got our eyes and ears open on the market and what's going on. But we believe we have the best properties out there and we're in very supportive natural gas states, communities. We have very supportive regulatory and legislative jurisdictions, as with six of our eight states having all fuels bills, another one Virginia.

I believe, has something in the Legislature this year along the lines of an all fuels bill, so that could move us to seven of our eight jurisdictions. As we talked about this morning, these communities are growing, they're expanding both residential, commercial, and industrial. And as we've talked about before, we don't need an acquisition to meet the 6% to 8% earnings-per-share growth that we've talked about in our plan. So at this point, we remain focused on executing our system modernization strategy as we continue our journey to be the safest provider of natural gas sources.

Ryan Levine -- Citi -- Analyst

Appreciate the time. Thank you.

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Thank you.

Operator

We have reached the end of the question-and-answer session. I will now turn the call back over to Dan Meziere for closing remarks.

Dan Meziere -- Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer

We appreciate your interest in Atmos Energy, and again, thank you for joining us. A recording of this call is available for replay on our website through March 31, 2022. Have a good day.

Duration: 34 minutes

Call participants:

Dan Meziere -- Vice President of Investor Relations and Treasurer

Chris Forsythe -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

Kevin Akers -- President and Chief Executive Officer

Richard Sunderland -- J.P. Morgan -- Analyst

Julien Dumoulin-Smith -- Bank of America Merrill Lynch -- Analyst

Insoo Kim -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

Ryan Levine -- Citi -- Analyst

More ATO analysis

All earnings call transcripts

This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.

The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

Paid Post: Content produced by Motley Fool. The Globe and Mail was not involved, and material was not reviewed prior to publication.

More from The Globe