Sempra Energy Q2 Profit Nearly Quadruples, But Misses View

Utility company Sempra Energy (SRE) on Tuesday reported a profit for the second quarter that almost quadrupled from last year on higher revenues that include additional revenues for fiscal 2012 as well as the preceding first quarter from a rate case decision. The prior-year quarter's results include higher one-time charges. However, adjusted earnings missed analysts' estimates.

The company's second-quarter net earnings were $245 million or $0.98 per share, up from $62 million or $0.25 per share in the year-ago period.

On May 9, the California Public Utilities Commission or CPUC issued a final General Rate Case decision for San Diego Gas & Electric or SDG&E and Southern California Gas Co. or SoCalGas that included a revenue increase for the full year 2012 and the first quarter 2013.

Due to the rate case decision, the latest quarter's results include $77 million or $0.31 per share for the 2012 operations of SDG&E as well as SoCalGas; and $29 million or $0.11 per share for the first quarter 2013 operations of SDG&E and SoCalGas.

The latest quarter's results also include a charge of $119 million or $0.48 per share, related to Southern California Edison's decision in June to permanently retire the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station or SONGS. SDG&E owns a 20 percent stake in SONGS.

The prior-year's results included a non-cash charge of $179 million or $0.73 per share related to a write-down on the company's investment in the Rockies Express Pipeline.

Excluding the charges in both years and the benefits from the General Rate Case related to 2012 and first-quarter 2013 operations, adjusted earnings for the quarter were $258 million or $1.04 per share, compared to $241 million or $0.98 per share in the same period last year.

On average, eight analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected the company to earn $1.31 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

Total revenues for the quarter rose 27 percent to $2.65 billion from $2.09 billion in the prior year quarter.

Sempra Energy said its fiscal 2013 guidance of $4.30 to $4.60 continues to include a benefit of $0.31 per share benefit for the retroactive impacts from the General Rate Case, but excludes the charge of $0.48 per share related to the announced closure of SONGS. Analysts expect the company to report earnings of $4.45 per share for the year.

Earlier this year, the company forecast 2013 earnings-per-share guidance of $4.30 to $4.60, which included the anticipated retroactive impacts from the California utilities' General Rate Case.

In Tuesday's regular session, SRE is trading at $87.83, up $0.38 or 0.43 percent on a volume of 91,455 shares.

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