Public utility company PG&E Corp. (PCG) on Thursday reported a loss for the fourth quarter, hurt by natural gas matters and environmental costs associated with historic operations at the company's natural gas compressor station in Hinkley, California. However, adjusted earnings per share matched analysts' expectations.
Looking ahead, the company forecast adjusted earnings for fiscal 2013 below analysts' estimates.
The San Francisco, California-based energy holding company, which conducts business through Pacific Gas and Electric Co., reported consolidated net loss for the fourth quarter of $13 million or $0.03 per share, compared to earnings of $83 million or $0.20 per share in the prior-year quarter.
The latest quarter's results include net costs of $0.62 per share in connection with natural gas matters and environmental costs associated with historic operations at the company's natural gas compressor station in Hinkley, California.
Excluding special items, earnings from operations were $253 million or $0.59 per share compared to $366 million or $0.89 per share in the year-ago quarter. On average, thirteen analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.59 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.
PG&E noted that $0.11 per share of the decrease in adjusted earnings was due to planned incremental spending on operational improvements being made across the utility, while employee compensation accounted for $0.09 of the decrease. An additional $0.05 per share of the decrease was due to a greater number of common shares outstanding, while storm costs, litigation, and other items accounted for a combined $0.10 decrease.
The company has incurred total costs of about $1.4 billion on a pre-tax basis for natural gas pipeline-related actions since the September 2010 San Bruno pipeline accident, all of which have been incurred at shareholders' expense.
For fiscal 2012, PG&E's net income declined to $816 million or $1.92 per share from $844 million or $2.10 per share in the previous year. Excluding items, earnings from operations were $1.37 billion or $3.22 per share, compared with earnings from operations of $1.44 billion or $3.58 per share in the prior year.
Operating revenues for the year rose 4 percent to $12.09 billion from $11.61 billion last year.
Analysts expected the company to earn $3.20 per share for the year on revenues of $15.29 billion.
Looking ahead to fiscal 2013, PG&E forecasts reported earnings in a range of $1.66 to $2.22 per share and adjusted earnings from operations in a range of $2.55 to $2.75 per share. Street expects the company to earn $2.78 per share for the year.
The company noted that the guidance is based on various assumptions, including a lower authorized return on equity and additional equity issuances of $1.0 billion to $1.2 billion.
PG&E is targeting 2014 to significantly recover from the uncertainties of the past several years, pending resolution of the San Bruno investigations and the company's 2014 general rate case. Its future gas pipeline work is expected to be addressed in the company's 2015 gas transmission rate case.
In Thursday's regular session, PCG is trading at $42.22, down $0.90 or 2.09 percent on a volume of 95,192 shares.
by RTT Staff Writer
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