Before the bell,
) reported first quarter 2013 earnings from continuing operations
of 22 cents per share, below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 26
cents. However, the quarterly result jumped 46.7% from the
year-earlier earnings of 15 cents. Higher contribution from the
company's Ameren Missouri and Ameren Illinois units drove the
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Total operating revenue in the reported quarter inched up 4.5% to
$1,475.0 million. However, revenue failed to meet the Zacks
Consensus Estimate of $1,633.0 million. Electric revenue surged
2.3% to $1,088.0 million while gas revenue increased more than
11%, on a year-over-year basis. A harsh winter generated higher
electric and natural gas sales volumes.
On Mar 2013, Ameren entered into an agreement to offload its
merchant generation business, Ameren Energy Resources Company or
AER, to an affiliate of
). AER consists primarily of Ameren Energy Generating Company or
Genco, including Genco's 80% ownership interest in Electric
Energy, Inc.; AmerenEnergy Resources Generating Company or AERG;
and Ameren Energy Marketing Company.
Ameren Missouri Segment:
Segmental earnings were $40 million, compared with $21.0 million
in the year-ago quarter. The improvement mainly reflects higher
electric and natural gas sales volumes owing to normal winter
weather in the reported quarter as against a very mild winter
last year. New electric service rates, which got effective in Jan
2013, also contributed to the improvement. However, higher
non-fuel operations and maintenance expenses partially offset the
Ameren Illinois Segment:
Segmental earnings boosted 14.8% year over year to $31.0 million
in the quarter. The increase in earnings reflects higher electric
and natural gas sales volumes owing to normal first quarter 2013
winter temperatures, relative to warmer-than-normal first quarter
2012 temperatures. Additionally, new rates for electric
transmission and the absence in 2013 of a required donation
related to the implementation of formula rates in Illinois also
benefitted earnings. However, the results were partially tempered
by a fall in electric delivery service revenues due to variation
in the timing and amount of expected full-year recoverable costs
under formula ratemaking.
Ameren reported cash and cash equivalents of $161.0 million in
the first quarter 2013, compared with $184.0 million at 2012 end.
Long-term debt increased slightly to $5,803.0 million from
$5,802.0 million at year-end 2012. The debt-to-capitalization
ratio stood at 47.1% in the reported quarter. The company
generated cash of approximately $379.0 million from operating
activities compared with $383.0 million generated in the year-ago
Ameren anticipates earnings from continuing operations in the
range of $2.00 to $2.20 per share for 2013.
Ameren presently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
Stocks worth accumulating now are
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), both carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).