ALLETE staged for limitless opportunities, shareholders told

ALLETE President Bethany Owen.

ALLETE is poised for earnings growth because there are seemingly limitless opportunities in the nation’s growing renewable energy sector, corporate executives said at the company’s 2019 annual meeting of shareholders Tuesday. 

More than 900 people attended the annual meeting at the DECC, where they elected 10 directors, approved compensation-related resolutions and ratified the selection of ALLETE's accounting firm. After conducting business, they heard from ALLETE President Bethany Owen, Chairman and CEO Al Hodnik and two other leaders of the Duluth-based firm. 

“Minnesota’s call for a carbon-free energy future is being echoed throughout the country,” Owen said. “With many states furthering renewable standards and goals, and federal tax policy fueling growth, ALLETE is well positioned to continue leading the change to cleaner, more sustainable energy solutions, all while creating opportunities for our employees, building shareholder value and delivering the energy future our customers expect.” 

Hodnik said a Goldman Sachs study of domestic and Canadian energy companies ranked ALLETE the second-largest investor in wind and solar energy relative to those companies’ market capitalizations. The ranking is up from fourth largest one year ago. He said ALLETE’s recent $270 million sale of U.S. Water Services provided an influx of cash that already was being redeployed into more renewable energy investments. 

“At 113 years young, our company remains well positioned as the contours of a new and exciting decade begin to emerge,” Hodnik said. “Each of us remains committed to our shared purpose, answering the call to transform the nation’s energy landscape, while growing ALLETE.” 

He reported ALLETE earned $3.38 per share in 2018 on net income of $174.1 million, and ALLETE's market capitalization is now roughly $4.3 billion, up from $3.8 billion one year ago. The company's board of directors recently increased the dividend 5 percent to $2.35 per share on an annual basis, and Hodnik said the three-year shareholder return through the end of 2018 was 65.1 percent, ranking eighth of 42 companies within an industry peer group. 

Much of its growth can be attributed to ALLETE Clean Energy’s renewable projects, with three being developed this year in North Dakota, Montana and Oklahoma. ALLETE Clean Energy President Al Rudeck said technology advancements and public policy were bringing the clean energy future society demands to fruition.