Portland General Electric Blows Out EPS Forecasts

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Portland General Electric ( POR ) declared a new quarterly dividend on Wednesday, holding steady at 27.5 cents a share. The dividend is payable April 15 to shareholders of record March 25.

It's the fourth straight quarter Portland has paid that dividend. The company, which is growing with the population of the Pacific Northwest, targets its payout ratio at 50% to 70% and has been slowly raising its dividend. It was 22.5 cents in 2006.

The dividend announcement comes on the heels of the Feb. 14 earnings report that was surprisingly good. Sleepy utilities rarely blow out earnings, but Portland did this time. The company said cooler weather increased demand for electricity.

The company said its Q4 2013 earnings amounted to 59 cents a share, a 55% increase over the year-ago period. Revenue rose 8% to $499 million. Both numbers beat estimates, which called for 49 cents EPS and $476.8 million in revenue.

Wall Street liked the report. The stock was up 8% for the week and the stock poked above a long, tight consolidation.

Portland General Electric serves 830,000 customers in northwest Oregon.

It traces its roots to 1889 with a generating plant at Willamette Falls in Oregon City. It ran a 14-mile transmission line that served 55 street lamps in Portland.

The company says it was the first long-distance transmission line in the nation.

It generates electricity through 13 power plants it wholly or partly owns with a capacity of 2,781 megawatts of electricity.

It produces power from hydroelectric, natural gas, coal and wind sources.

From 2011, earnings fell from $1.95 a share to $1.87 in 2012 and to $1.84 a share last year. But analysts are forecasting EPS will rise 12% to $2.07 a share in 2014. The company has raised 2014 guidance to $2 to $2.15.



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Personal Finance , Investing Ideas

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