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Edison International (EIX - Analyst Report) reported adjusted earnings of 81 cents per share for the fourth quarter of 2013, ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 65 cents by 24.6%. However, earnings for the quarter were below the year-ago figure of $1.79 per share.

Taking into account earnings of 11 cents per share from discontinued operations, the GAAP number for the quarter was 92 cents per share.

On a yearly basis, Edison reported earnings of $3.80 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.63 by 4.7% but lagging 2012 earnings of $3.92 per share. Earnings decreased primarily due to lower income tax benefits in 2013, partially offset by growth in rate base earnings.

Total Revenue

Edison International's fourth quarter revenues were $2.9 billion, down 3.8% year over year. The top line exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.5 billion by 14.3%.

Revenues for 2013 were $12.6 billion, higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $11.9 billion and up 6.1% from the 2012 figure.

Operational Highlights

In the reported quarter, operations and maintenance expenses were down 4.1% year over year to $971.0 million. Total input cost including fuel and power purchase was $1.1 billion in the fourth quarter compared with $870.0 million in the year-ago period.

Total operating expenses were $2.4 billion in the fourth quarter, up 6.2% year over year. Interest expense stood at $143.0 million compared with $131.0 million in the fourth quarter of 2012, primarily due to an increase in long term debts.

Segment Results

Southern California Edison’s (SCE) fourth quarter adjusted earnings fell 57.3% to 79 cents per share from $1.85 earned in the year-ago quarter. The downtrend was due to the delay in rate case decision by California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) and higher taxes.

Edison International parent company and the other segment reported a profit of 2 cents per share in the fourth quarter compared with a loss of 6 cents in the year-ago period.    

Recently, Edison Mission Energy (“EME”) filed a request with the bankruptcy court for its plan for reorganization. The implementation of this plan will allow EME with the sale of its assets to NRG Energy (NRG - Analyst Report), bringing the agreement to a close.

Financial Update

As of Dec 31, 2013, cash and cash equivalents were $146.0 million, down from $170.0 million as of Dec 31, 2012. Long-term debt was $9.8 billion, up from $9.2 billion at the end of Dec 31, 2012.

Net cash provided by operating activities during the year was $3.2 billion versus $3.3 billion at the end of Dec 31, 2013.

Total capital expenditure during the year was $3.6 billion compared with $4.1 billion in 2012. Free cash flow in 2013 stood at a negative $396.0 million, a function of Edison International's ongoing infrastructure investments to improve operational efficiency.

Guidance

The company provided its core earnings per share guidance in the range of $3.60–$3.80 for 2014.

Peer Comparison

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. (PEG - Analyst Report) announced fourth quarter 2013 earnings of 49 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.3% and moving up 19.5% year-over-year.

American Electric Power Co., Inc. (AEP - Analyst Report) posted fourth quarter 2013 earnings from continuing operations of 19 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 58.3%. The quarterly earnings were substantially higher than the year-ago earnings of 5 cents by 116.7%.

Zacks Rank

Edison International presently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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