Southern Co. (SO: Quote) on Wednesday reported a 13 percent decline in profit for the first quarter, as warmer-than-normal weather negatively impacted residential and commercial energy sales.
Thomas Fanning, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Southern Co. said, "Despite the effects of an unusually warm winter, we continue to see positive indications of economic growth in our service territory."
Fanning cited stronger-than-expected residential customer growth as the latest indicator of the ongoing economic recovery. Southern's traditional operating companies added about 15,000 new residential customers during the latest quarter, up sharply from the 2,000 customers added during the same period a year ago.
However, kilowatt-hour sales to retail customers in the company system's four-state service area decreased 5.1 percent in the quarter from last year.
Residential and commercial energy sales - both of which were negatively affected by warmer-than-normal weather - decreased 13.7 percent and 3.1 percent, respectively. But industrial energy sales increased 1.9 percent.
Total energy sales to customers, including wholesale sales, decreased 7.3 percent in quarter compared to the year-ago period.
The Atlanta-based utility's net earnings for the first quarter were $368 million or $0.42 per share, down from $422 million or $0.50 per share in the year-ago period.
On average, 15 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report earnings of $0.47 per share. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Revenues for the quarter declined 10 percent to $3.60 billion from $4.01 billion in the same period last year. Analysts had a consensus revenue estimate of $4.05 billion for the quarter.
In Wednesday's regular session, SO is trading at $45.63, down $0.24 or 0.53 percent on a volume of 1.02 million shares.
by RTT Staff Writer
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