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Alliant Energy Corporation (LNT - Snapshot Report) reported fourth-quarter 2013 operating earnings of 55 cents per share, 5.8% above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 52 cents. Earnings were however 11.3% lower than the year-ago figure.

GAAP earnings were 59 cents per share taking into consideration an income of 4 cents per share arising from regulatory-related credit at Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL).

For 2013, earnings were reported at $3.31 per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.24 by 2.2%. Earnings were also up 8.5% from 2012.

Higher earnings in 2013 can be attributed to lower purchased power capacity costs related to the Riverside Energy Center, higher tax benefits from IPL’s revenue adjustments and lower expenses incurred for energy conservation.

Alliant’s earnings beat was a function of favorable weather patterns. Taking that out, it could well have been a miss. Hence, the stock showed a negative movement in the share price in spite of the higher-than-expected earnings.

Total Revenue

Total revenue at the end of the fourth quarter was $832.6 million, up 10.9% from $750.9 million in the year-ago period. Revenues were also 7.7% higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $773.0 million.

Yearly revenues stood at $3.3 billion, reflecting an increase of 5.9% from the prior year due to higher weather-normalized electric and gas sales. The increase in weather-normalized sales was mainly on account of industrial expansion at IPL and Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL).

Operational Highlights

Total operating expenses were $724.0 million in the reported quarter, up 11.5% from $649.3 million incurred in the year-ago period. Expenses increased in relation to fuel and energy purchase and electric transmission.

Operating income was $108.6 million, up 6.9% from $101.6 million in the year-ago quarter.

Interest expenses increased to $45.2 million from $40.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

Financial Highlights

Cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 31, 2013, were $9.8 million versus $21.2 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

Long-term debt (excluding current portion) was nearly $3.0 billion as of Dec 31, 2013, compared with $3.1 billion as of Dec 31, 2012.

Cash flow from operating activities at year-end 2013 was $731.0 million versus $841.1 million at the end of 2012.

Guidance

Alliance Energy reiterated its consolidated earnings per share guidance for 2014 in the band of $3.25 to $3.55. For Utilities and Corporate Services, expectations lies in the range of $3.20 to $3.40 and for Non-regulated and Parent, the company expects earnings in the range of 5 cents to 15 cents per share.

The company plans to issue long-term debt at IPL and WPL worth $300.0 million in the second half of 2014 and common equity worth $150.0 million in 2015 and 2016.

Other Company Releases

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%.

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%.

DTE Energy Company (DTE - Analyst Report) reported fourth-quarter 2013 operating earnings per share of $1.01, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 4.1%.

Zacks Rank

Alliant Energy currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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