WEC Energy GroupWEC reported fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings of 61 cents per share, a penny lower than both the Zacks Consensus Estimate and the year-ago figure of 62 cents.
GAAP earnings in the quarter came in at 61 cents per share, compared with 57 cents recorded a year ago.
2016 operating earnings were $2.64 per share, down 11.1% from the 2015 level of $2.97 per share. Again, reported earnings were lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.94.
WEC Energy's total revenue amounted to $1,963 million, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3,355 million by 41.5%. Reported revenues, however, surpassed the year-ago figure of $1,848.3 million by 6.2%.
For 2016, total revenue of $7.47 billion increased 25.9% from the prior-year tally of $5.93 billion. However, the top line was lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $8.64 billion.
Highlights of the Release
Residential use of electricity in fourth-quarter 2016 climbed 4.1% year over year. Electricity used by small commercial and industrial customers increased 2.3%. Electricity used by large commercial and industrial customers - excluding the iron ore mines in Michigan's Upper Peninsula - remained unchanged.
Total operating expenses in the quarter under review increased nearly 9.1% year over year to $1,601.3 million, mainly due to higher operation and maintenance expenses, and cost of sales.
Operating income in the reported quarter was $361.7 million, down 4.9% from $380.2 million a year ago.
WEC Energy Group, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
The company's interest expenses in the fourth quarter decreased 4.1% year over year to $102.6 million.
At the end of the fourth quarter, WEC Energy's utilities expanded the customer base by 35,000. Wisconsin utilities added about 7,000 electric and 12,000 natural gas customers. Its natural gas utilities in Illinois, Michigan and Minnesota increased the customer count by nearly 16,000.
As of Dec 31, 2016, WEC Energy had cash and cash equivalents of $37.5 million, compared with $49.8 million as of Dec 31, 2015.
As of Dec 31, 2016, WEC Energy had long-term debts of $9.1 billion, almost flat with the 2015-end level.
In 2016, cash flow from operating activities was $2,103 million, up 62.6% from $1,293.6 million in the year-ago period.
WEC Energy's capital expenditure in 2016 was $1,423.7 million, up 12.4%.
American Electric Power Co., Inc. AEP reported fourth-quarter 2016 operating earnings of 67 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents by 21.8%.
NextEra Energy, Inc. NEE reported fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings of $1.21 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.29 by 6.2%. Reported earnings were, however, up 3.4% year over year.
PPL Corporation PPL reported fourth-quarter 2016 operating earnings of 60 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 52 cents by 15.4%.
WEC Energy currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here .
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