Address: 702 N Franklin St., Tampa, FL 33601; (813) 228-1111; www.tecoenergy.com
Business: Holding company that owns regulated utilities Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas, plus coal mining and transport operations in West Virginia and interests in a power station and a distribution network in Guatemala
Ticker symbol, market: TE, NYSE
Market capitalization: $2.4 billion, down from $3.29 billion
CEO: Sherrill W. Hudson
Employees: 4,400, up from 4,267
Revenue: $3.4 billion, down 2 percent
Net income: $162 million, down 61 percent
Per share: 77 cents, down 61 percent
Return on equity: 8 percent
Biggest challenge: Utilities are supposed to do well even in bad times, but the Tampa Bay area's stunted economy held down TECO Energy in 2008. The state helped TECO by okaying rate increases for Tampa Electric and Peoples Gas this spring. Plus there's promise of federal renewable energy incentives. John Ramil, president and chief operating officer, said there are some positive economic indicators "but we won't get back to the customer growth we enjoyed for some time."
Mom would approve of 'achievement with urgency' mantra
In recent years, TECO Energy Inc. has embodied some of your mother's best advice: stay healthy, pay off debt and study hard. The company paid off $765-million in debt in 2007. Last year, the company unloaded its TECO Transport subsidiary for $405-million. It offers at least five different education programs for employees, from help for line workers looking for an associate's degree to an executive training program.
The business strategy reflects the company's "core values," rolled out in 2004: safety, integrity, respect for others, achievement with urgency and customer service. Employees learn these values at orientation, and they have become a part of the company's culture.
"Achievement with urgency" has become especially important in the wake of the company's disastrous foray into merchant power several years ago.
"I think most people would agree that we took too long to get out of that," said spokeswoman Laura Duda. John Ramil, president and chief operating officer, calls the experience "tuition," Duda said.
The lesson taught TECO to speed its response to market conditions. That's the reason why the company quickly pulled new "clean coal" plans off the table last year and turned to natural gas. TECO saw carbon regulation coming, and responded with "increasing agility." "Everything we do has a values component to it," Duda said.
—Times Staff Writer
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