Electric utility Southern Co.'s (SO) first-quarter 2014 earnings jumped significantly to $351 million, or $0.39 per share, from $81 million, or $0.09 per share, last year. The company said the latest results included a $235 million after-tax charge related to an increased construction estimate for Mississippi Power's Kemper integrated gasification combined cycle or IGCC project; while the prior-year quarter's results included a $333 million after-tax charge for the Kemper IGCC project and a $16 million after-tax charge related to the restructuring of a leveraged lease investment.
Excluding these items, the company earned $586 million, or $0.66 per share, during the first quarter of 2014. On average, 14 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings per share of $0.56 for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.
According to the company, quarterly earnings were positively influenced by colder-than-normal winter weather, residential and industrial sales growth and retail revenue effects at all four of its traditional operating companies.
First-quarter 2014 operating revenues were $4.6 billion, compared with $3.9 billion for the same period in 2013, up 19.2 percent. Six analysts estimated revenues of $4.03 billion for the quarter.
"Winter storms contributed to the Southeast's coldest January in 20 years, driving energy demand and demonstrating the resilience of our system and the commitment of our employees," said Southern Company's Chairman, President and Chief Executive.
by RTT Staff Writer
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