Electric utility Entergy Corp. (ETR) Friday reported a higher fourth-quarter profit, reflecting mainly an increase in Utility segment earnings, benefited by lower income tax expense and a rise in net revenues. Operational earnings, excluding special items, topped analysts' expectations, while revenues declined and missed view. The company also affirmed its full-year 2013 earnings guidance.
Utility earnings in the quarter were $279.7 million or $1.57 per share on an as-reported basis and $290.5 million or $1.63 per share on an operational basis, compared to $169.7 million, or $0.96 per share, on both as-reported and operational bases in fourth quarter 2011. The increase in earnings reflected lower income tax expense and higher net revenue, the company noted.
Meanwhile, Entergy Wholesale Commodities segment earnings decreased from last year.
In the fourth quarter, net income attributable to the company increased to $296.27 million, or $1.66 per share from $154.14 million or $0.87 per share in the previous year.
On an operational basis, excluding special items, earnings were $1.72 per share, while the company posted $0.94 per share a year earlier. On average, 12 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $1.40 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
Total operating revenues for the quarter declined to $2.44 billion from $2.49 billion in the prior-year quarter. Four analysts had consensus revenue estimate of $3.13 billion for the quarter.
Leo Denault, chairman and chief executive officer of the company said, "Looking ahead to 2013, we will remain focused on safety and operational excellence in all aspects of our business as well as successful execution of key initiatives such as our effort to join the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator, a regional transmission organization, and our proposal to spin off and merge the transmission business with ITC Holdings Corp.,..."
In December 2011, Entergy and ITC boards of directors approved a definitive agreement under which Entergy will spin off and then merge its electric transmission business with a subsidiary of ITC. The deal is expected to close in 2013.
For full-year 2013, the company still expects earnings to be in the range of $4.60 to $5.40 per share on both an as-reported basis and an operational basis.
Entergy currently expects to be in the lower half of the operational guidance range due to updated pension and post-retirement cost estimates. Analysts expect the company to report earnings of $4.93 per share for the full year.
ETR closed Thursday's regular trading at $64.96 on the NYSE.
by RTT Staff Writer
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