Laclede Gas Company is primarily a regulated natural gas distribution utility serving the Missouri portions of the St. Louis Metropolitan area and several nearby counties in Southeastern Missouri. We also make selective investments in non-regulated businesses. Our mission is to maintain and enhance our leadership position as a prominent gas distribution utility in an increasingly competitive national energy market and to manage, operate and continue to build a strong, forward-looking and growing corporation by addressing the needs of...
We seek to provide an adequate, reliable and cost-efficient supply of natural gas and other energy services to meet the current and future needs of our customers. We desire to maintain gas rates and charges at as low a level as possible consistent with safety, supply reliability and an appropriate return on investment. Further, we recognize and embrace our responsibility to serve our customers promptly and courteously, and to provide them with a broad range of related services. Laclede recognizes its special, regulated role as the provider of energy services vital to the well-being of residential consumers and to the economic success of commercial and industrial customers. All of the above reinforces our own strongly held conviction as to the importance of our obligations to our customers.
We seek continually to increase shareholder value by maintaining strong long-term earnings growth, good cash flow, and generous dividend levels consistent with our growth objective. We intend to maintain a strong capital structure and to earn as high a return on equity as possible in our regulated environment. Laclede will raise and invest capital as required to meet its customers' utility needs, and we will also invest available capital and management efforts in other areas that will enhance earnings growth and stability. We will aggressively seek and carefully examine expansion and diversification opportunities which are a logical extension of our existing strengths. In all of our investment undertakings, we will strive to protect shareholder investments and maintain our high level of financial integrity.
We seek to hire capable, conscientious employees and provide them with good working conditions, good pay and good benefits. We will provide a work environment, including appropriate training resources, which encourages and rewards employee productivity and creativity and which provides our employees the opportunity for their fullest practical personal and professional growth. At all times we will comply with the letter and spirit of all laws regarding equality of opportunity.
We seek aggressively to fulfill our civic and charitable responsibilities, and to enhance the vitality of our service area, maintaining our role as a leading corporate citizen in the community, with an outstanding reputation for integrity and public spiritedness.
Finally, in all our efforts, we will conduct ourselves and our business in accordance with the highest ethical principles.
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