Great Plains Energy Inc. ( GXP ) reported third-quarter 2014 earnings of 95 cents per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 97 cents by 2.1%.
On a year-over-year basis, the bottom line improved 2.2% primarily on the back of the release of uncertain tax positions associated with Kansas City Power & Light Company (KCP&L) Greater Missouri Operations Company's (GMO) former non-regulated operations and new retail rates in Kansas, and a decrease in utility operating and maintenance expenses.
Great Plains Energy released its third-quarter results on Nov 6, after the market close. On Nov 7, the share price edged up 0.3% to $27.00 from previous day's closing. Despite lagging estimates, the year-over-year improvement in earnings led to the rise in share prices.
In the quarter under review, Great Plains Energy's operating revenues was $782.5 million, well ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate and surpassed the prior-year figure of $765 million by 2.3%. Operating revenues benefited from an increase in Wholesale revenues and improvement in both Commercial and Industrial sales.
Highlights of the Release
At the end of the third quarter, Great Plains Energy's total electricity generation volumes stood at 7,513 megawatt hours (MWh), down 5.9% year over year.
The company's total operating expenses increased 5.3% year over year to $519.3 million in the reported quarter, primarily due to the increase in costs of purchased power, and transmission, depreciation and amortization expenses.
The company's operating income was $263.2 million, down 3.1% from $271.7 million in the year-ago quarter.
Interest expenses during the quarter decreased 10.8% year over year to $43.6 million due to lower long-term debt level.
Great Plains Energy's cash and cash equivalents, as of Sep 30, 2014, were $12.8 million versus $10.6 million as of Dec 31, 2013.
Long-term debt, as of Sep 30, 2014, was $3,488.1 million compared with $3,515.7 million as of Dec 31, 2013.
In the first nine months of 2014, the company's net cash from operating activities was $562 million, down from $583.2 million in the prior-year period.
Great Plains Energy spent $553.3 million during the first three quarters of 2014 as utility capital expenditures, compared with $486.2 million a year ago.
Great Plains Energy lowered its guidance for 2014 earnings to the range of $1.52-$1.62 per share from previous projection in the band of $1.60-$1.75 per share, considering the mild summer this year.
Other Earnings Releases
Ameren Corp. ( AEE ) posted third-quarter 2014 earnings from continuing operations of $1.20 per share, lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 3.2%.
OGE Energy Corp. ( OGE ) reported third-quarter earnings of 94 cents per share, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Wisconsin Energy Corporation ( WEC ) reported third-quarter 2014 adjusted earnings of 57 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 11.8%.
Great Plains Energy currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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