Liveblogging the Constellation-Exelon conference call
11:00: Analyst: Are there change in control agreements furnishing merger bonsues to Constellation execs? Shattuck: There are no change in control agreements and no employment contracts.
10:50: Analyst: Who will be in charge of the combined company? Shattuck will be "executive chairman" and Chris Crane will be CEO. Who's the boss?
Shattuck: "I can answer that. Chris is in charge. He's the CEO, and I'm going to help him any way I can."
10:47: Several questions about Constellation's joint nuclear venture with the French EDF Group. Execs said several times there are no plans to change that.
10:43: Rowe: "We think long-run value lies in being greener and cleaner."
Shattuck: "More diversification among the regulated territories is nice... I think that's a plus for us." -- referring to the combined company having regulated utilities in Illinois and Pennsylvania, not just BGE in Maryland.
Shattuck: "Each of us coveted what the other had" -- Constellation was trying to add generation, Exelon was interested in Constellation's energy marketing.
10:35: Analysts are concerned about whether the Maryland PSC will approve the deal, given how it dragged its feet on Shattuck's attempt to merge with FPL in 2006. Analyst says to Shattuck: "The history there, particularly for your company, has been a challenged one."
Shattuck responds by saying it's a different environment, with a stable commission and falling BGE prices, in contrast to the spike in BGE prices in 2006.
Shattuck: "We have had now a sitting commission for five years. Across the board we felt like they have dealt with these cases to the letter of the law. Six years ago the status of that commission was less stable. We're also dealing with an environment that is substanatially different," not least because BGE prices are going down.
Shattuck says he thinks the package of benefits, including the $100 BGE rebate, will be attractive to Maryland officials.
In Maryland, he said, "they care about renewables. They care about efficiency projects. They care about electric vehicle infrastructure" and programs for low-income customers. "The combination of these things is meant to respond to five years worth of observations here, and I think what we've done is hopefully doing to be well received."
10:23: Chris Crane, Exelon president: Corporate consolidation will lead to an annual reduction in costs of $260 million per year.
10:18: Shattuck: To satisfy the antitrust cops, the companies expect to have to sell off 2,600 megawatts worth of generation plants within the PJM, midatlantic grid.
10:15: Constellation Chairman & CEO Shattuck:
Refers to "the benefits of this transaction to Constellation shareholders and to Maryland."
Shattuck: "We are maintining a significant employee and headquarters presence here in Baltimore."
For BGE employees: "No involuntary merger related job reductions" within two years after deal closes.
10:10: Rowe: "We believe the transaction can be executed. We expect to close in early 2012."
10:08: John Rowe, Exelon CEO and Chairman, belabors the benefits for Exelon shareholders. "The combination gives us the scope and scale we want.... It's not just about bigger. It's about a sustainable platform for smarter growth." Reduces collateral requirements for both companies moreso than either company could do on its own.
Rowe is quick to bat down speculation that the Constellation acquisition will revive the Calvert Cliffs 3 nuclear reactor project that Constellation abandoned last year.
"That is simply not the case," he says. "At today's gas prices you can't build a new nuclear plant in a competitive marketplace." (Cheap natural gas, he's saying, makes new nuclear uncomptitive.)
9:55: They're not letting reporters ask questions: "Media representatives are invited to participate on a listen-only basis."