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Sempra Energy’s (SRE - Analyst Report) first quarter 2013 earnings per share of 97 cents per share missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.02 per share. Earnings were flat year over year.

Including a one-time charge of 26 cents per share for income tax expense related to reorganization in connection with the initial public offering of Sempra Energy's Mexican subsidiary, the company reported earnings of 72 cents versus 97 cents per share in the first quarter of 2012.

Total Revenue

Total revenue of Sempra Energy in the first quarter of 2013 was $2,334 million, up 11.6% year over year. However, the top-line missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $50 million.

Segment Update

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E): Quarterly earnings for San Diego Gas & Electric were $91 million compared with $105 million in the year-ago quarter.

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas): The segment generated earnings of $46 million, up from $66 million in first quarter 2012.

Sempra South American Utilities: The segment recorded earnings of $37 million, down from $40 million in the prior-year period. The decline reflects impairment charge on its investment in Argentine utilities. However, these were partially offset by higher earnings in Chilean and Peruvian operations.   
 

Sempra Mexico: The segment recorded earnings of $31 million, down from $33 million in first quarter 2012.

During the quarter, Sempra Mexico completed separate debt and equity offerings and thereby succeeded in raising approximately $1 billion of external capital.  The Mexican operating company was renamed "IEnova."  

Sempra Renewables: The segment recorded earnings of $4 million, down from $10 million in first quarter 2012. The decline reflects lower tax benefits from solar projects.

Sempra Natural Gas: The segment recorded earnings of $53 million, up from $1 million in the prior-year period.

Financial Update

As of Mar 31, 2013, cash and cash equivalents were $1,471 million, up from $475 million as of Dec 31, 2012. Long-term debt was $10,680 million, down from $11,621 million at 2012 end. During the quarter, cash flow from operating activities was $835 million, up from $699 million in first quarter 2012.

Guidance

Sempra does not plan to revise its 2013 earnings guidance until the California Public Utilities Commission issues a final decision in the General Rate Case for SDG&E and SoCalGas. Currently, even if the General Rate Case draft decision is adopted in the final decision, the company expects 2013 earnings to remain at the low end of the guidance range of $4.30 to $4.80 per share.

At the Peer

Edison International (EIX - Analyst Report) reported adjusted earnings of 77 cents per share for the first quarter of 2013, comfortably surpassing both the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 64 cents and the year-ago quarterly earnings of 54 cents per share.

Zacks Rank

Sempra Energy presently retains a short-term Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). Other stocks worth considering are The Laclede Group, Inc. (LG - Snapshot Report) and National Fuel Gas Company (NFG - Snapshot Report), both with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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