) not surprisingly posted a solid first quarter 2014 performance.
Its first quarter 2014 earnings from continuing operations of 40
cents per share beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8 cents.
Quarterly earnings were also substantially higher than the year-ago
figure of 22 cents by 81.8%.
The year-over-year upside was due to a severe winter season which
boosted demand for electric transmission service. Again,
infrastructure investments, lower interest expenses and higher
Illinois electric delivery service earnings also gave a boost to
the company's overall bottom line.
Ameren's total operating revenue in the reported quarter was up
8.1% year over year to $1,594 million. Reported revenue also
surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,438 million by 10.8%.
The year-over-year improvement was due to better electric and
natural gas revenues. Electric revenues increased 1.7% while gas
revenues shot up 26.1%.
Highlights of the Release
Ameren's total electricity sales in the reported quarter increased
5.3% to 21,086 million kilowatt hours from 20,026 million kilowatt
hours in the prior-year quarter. Similarly gas volumes also
increased to 86,467 thousand decatherms from 73,140 thousand
decatherms in the prior-year quarter.
Total operating expenses in the first quarter were $1,348 million,
increasing 4.5% from the prior-year period.
Interest expenses were $92 million versus $101 million in the
Ameren Missouri Segment:
Segmental earnings were $47 million in the first quarter, up from
$40 million earned in the year-ago period on the back of a severe
winter. Additionally, a decrease in interest expense and efficient
cost management also acted as catalysts.
Ameren Illinois Segment:
Segmental earnings stood at $53.0 million versus $31.0 million in
the year-ago quarter, also attributable to the harsh winter.
Parent Company and Other:
The segment narrowed its loss to $3 million from continuing
operations in the quarter, from a loss of $17 million in the
Ameren reported cash and cash equivalents of $26.0 million at
quarter end, compared with $30.0 million at 2013 end.
Long-term debt (including current maturities) as of Mar 31, 2014
was $5,874 million versus $6,038 million as of Dec 31, 2013.
Cash generated from operating activities by Ameren in the first
quarter were $239 million compared with $379 million in the
Capital expenditure in the first quarter was $442 million versus
$275 million a year ago.
Ameren lifted its 2014 earnings guidance to the range of $2.30 to
$2.50 per share from its earlier expectation of $2.25 to $2.45 per
Ameren expects positive returns from its infrastructure investments
in FERC-regulated transmission projects. Also, Illinois energy
delivery services will help its earnings to grow at a 7% to 10%
compound annual rate through 2018 using 2013 as the base year.
Other Company Releases
American Electric Power Company Inc.
) reported first quarter 2014 operating earnings of $1.15 per
share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 91 cents by 26.4%.
The quarterly figure also improved a whopping 43.8% from the
year-ago adjusted profit of 80 cents per share. The upbeat
performance was supported by favorable weather and high power
CMS Energy Corp.
) posted first-quarter 2014 earnings per share of 75 cents,
surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 64 cents by 17.2%.
) reported first-quarter 2014 earnings of $2.29 per share, beating
the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8.5%.
Ameren presently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
With a market cap of $9.94 billion, this St. Louis based company
generates and distributes electricity and natural gas to
residential, commercial, industrial and wholesale end markets in
Missouri and Illinois.
With its recent exit from the merchant generation business - Ameren
Energy Resources Company - Ameren is now more focused on its
rate-regulated utilities. Now that the divestiture is complete, we
expect Ameren to witness modestly rising earnings at its core
utilities, primarily in Illinois, over the long term.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research?
Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days.
Click to get this free report
AMEREN CORP (AEE): Free Stock Analysis Report
AMER ELEC PWR (AEP): Free Stock Analysis Report
CMS ENERGY (CMS): Free Stock Analysis Report
ENTERGY CORP (ETR): Free Stock Analysis Report
To read this article on Zacks.com click here.