Evergy Affirms Board and Management’s Focus on Delivering
Long-Term Value Creation and Serving Stakeholders’ Best Interests
Updates Stakeholders Regarding Dialogue with Elliott Management
KANSAS CITY, Mo. – January 21, 2020 – Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG), a vertically integrated, regulated, investor-owned electric utility created by the merger of Westar Energy and Great Plains Energy in June of 2018, today issued the following statement regarding the dialogue the Company has had with Elliott Management Corporation (Elliott):
In October 2019, we were approached by Elliott, which proposed two alternative paths for the Company to consider:
- Evergy should immediately initiate a process to explore the sale of the Company or some other business combination;
- Evergy should significantly increase its capex over the Company’s current plan, cut investments in operations and maintenance (O&M) to help offset this increase, and halt its existing share repurchase program.
Since October, we have engaged in good faith with Elliott to fully understand and evaluate their proposals. As a part of this process, we have engaged Morgan Stanley as financial advisor and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP as legal counsel to assist management and the Board with an evaluation of Elliott’s proposals and our strategic plan.
We are open to evaluating opportunities that may create greater value and recognize that Elliott has different views regarding our strategic plan. At the same time, there are various considerations that we believe are important when evaluating the conclusions that Elliott has asserted in its letter.
As expressed to Elliott, we are confident in our ability to deliver long-term growth and shareholder value creation through the execution of our strategic plan. This plan includes maximizing operational savings from our 2018 merger, the share repurchase program we committed to when this merger was completed, paying a competitive dividend and making capital investment that will drive value.
- We are executing on our operating plan and are achieving substantial cost savings. We are on track to exceed the $550 million of cumulative net cost savings targeted through 2023 in connection with the merger. These savings include $110 million of savings in 2019 alone – $80 million above our 2018 target. Notably, these savings are being achieved while protecting jobs; there have been no involuntary layoffs at the Company.
- Merger savings, share repurchases, dividends and infrastructure investments are contributing to sustainable earnings growth and competitive shareholder returns. At this time, given the regulatory considerations in Missouri and Kansas, we believe the greatest return opportunities for Evergy’s capital beyond our current investment plan are share repurchases and growing the Company’s dividend. Together with the Company’s merger savings and incremental infrastructure investments utilizing plant in-service accounting in Missouri, we expect to deliver compounded annual earnings growth of 5% to 7% through 2023.
- Evergy’s third quarter results demonstrate the strength of the Company and the value opportunity we offer to Evergy shareholders. We delivered another solid quarter, despite regulatory headwinds. Our confidence in the business and our financial strength is reflected in the confirmation of our 2019 adjusted EPS guidance of $2.80 to $3.00 and the 6.3% increase to our dividend, also consistent with our long-term guidance.
We remain open to continuing our dialogue with Elliott. As we consider any opportunity, we are resolute in our commitment to serving the best interests of all Evergy stakeholders, including our shareholders, employees, customers and the communities we serve.
The support of our regulators is very important, and we will maintain an open, collaborative dialogue with them as we – and they – consider Elliott’s views.
Morgan Stanley is acting as financial advisor and Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP is acting as legal advisor to the Company.
About Evergy, Inc.
Evergy, Inc. (NYSE: EVRG) provides clean, safe and reliable energy to 1.6 million customers in Kansas and Missouri. The 2018 combination of Kansas City Power and Light Company and Westar Energy to form Evergy created a leading energy company that provides value to shareholders and a stronger company for customers.
Evergy’s mission is to empower a better future. Today, half the power supplied to homes and businesses by Evergy comes from emission-free sources, creating more reliable energy with less impact to the environment. We will continue to innovate and adopt new technologies that give our customers better ways to manage their energy use.
For more information about Evergy, Inc., visit us at www.evergy.com.