On April 10 Otter Tail Corporation hosted 214 shareholders and guests at its Annual Meeting of Common Shareholders at the Bigwood Event Center in Fergus Falls. This was the corporation's 107th annual meeting. Represented by proxy or present in person were shareholders who held 81% of the corporation's total shares outstanding.
Chairman of the Board Nathan Partain conducted the business meeting, during which shareholders reelected John D. Erickson, Nathan I. Partain, and James B. Stake to serve three-year terms on the Board of Directors. Shareholders also approved the appointment of Deloitte & Touche LLP as auditors for the company.
During the meeting Partain noted, "The 2016 results demonstrate that the corporation's strategies are delivering long-term value for shareholders." Chief Executive Officer Chuck MacFarlane emphasized the strong position of the corporation. "We have a committed Board, a skilled and cohesive Executive Team, and engaged employees at all levels of the organization." After addressing highlights from each platform, MacFarlane told shareholders, "Our strategic objectives remain the same. We will grow the business, achieve operational excellence, and continue to develop talented employees at all of our companies."
Shareholders watched two videos. The first video highlighted Otter Tail Power Company’s commitments to environmental, economic, and community stewardship. The second video highlighted the transition of Impulse Manufacturing to BTD-Georgia.
Also during the meeting, Chief Financial Officer Kevin Moug (pictured above) presented the corporation's financial report to shareholders and guests. Moug reported that 2016 was a year of strong performance. "We delivered strong results across all meaningful financial measures last year," he said.
The corporation expects capital expenditures for 2017–2021 to be $862 million for the electric utility and $74 million for the manufacturing platform. "This capital plan provides the basis from which we are confident in our ability to grow our earnings," said Moug.
Moug told shareholders that the common dividend the corporation has paid for the last 78 years is an important piece of its strategy to return value to shareholders. "Our 2017 outlook and the long-term earnings growth prospects of our businesses allowed the Board of Directors to increase our indicated annualized dividend rate from $1.25/common share to $1.28/common share," he said.
In his final comments, Moug explained that the corporation's current mix of companies reflects its strategy of having a corporation that is able to produce steady and predictable growth. "We expect to grow both platforms," he said. "Over time, we expect the electric utility will provide approximately 75% of our overall earnings, while our manufacturing platform will provide up to 25% of our earnings.
Moug concluded his presentation by thanking "the employees of Otter Tail Corporation and its operating companies for working constantly to improve our company" and thanking shareholders for their continued support.