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Alliant Energy Corporation (LNT - Snapshot Report) reported first-quarter 2013 operating earnings of 72 cents per share, up 16.1% from the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 62 cents. Earnings were 22 cents higher than the year-ago figure of 50 cents.

Earnings benefited from a harsh winter, which cast a positive impact on the demand for electricity and natural gas. In addition, higher income from Interstate Power and Light Company's (IPL) tax benefit riders also benefited the bottom line.
 
Total Revenue

Total revenue at the end of the first quarter were $859.6 million, up 12.3% from $765.7 million in the year-ago period.

Revenues were also 15.4% higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $745 million.

Highlights of the Release

Total operating expenses were $738.9 million, up 10.3% from $670.1 million incurred in the year-ago period. The increase in expenses was primarily due to higher electric production fuel and energy purchases, escalation in electric transmission service costs and an increase in cost of goods sold.

Operating income was $120.7 million, up 26.2% from $95.6 million in the year-ago quarter. Operating income benefited from the growth in the top line.

Interest expenses increased to $42.6 million from $38.9 million in the year-ago quarter.

Financial Highlights

The cash position of the company improved from prior-year levels. Cash and cash equivalents as of Mar 31, 2012 were $53.4 million versus $21.2 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

Long-term debt was $3.12 billion as of Mar 31, 2013 compared with $3.14 billion as of Dec 31, 2012.

Cash flow from operating activities in first quarter 2013 was $198.6 million versus $215 million in first quarter 2012.

Guidance

Alliance Energy reiterated its earnings per share guidance for 2013 in the band of $2.95 to $3.25.  

Other Company Releases

Entergy Corporation (ETR - Analyst Report) reported earnings of 94 cents per share in the first quarter, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

CMS Energy Corp. (CMS - Analyst Report) reported first-quarter 2013 operating earnings of 53 cents per share, 15.2% higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 46 cents.

Northeast Utilities (NU - Analyst Report) reported earnings of 73 cents in the first quarter of 2013, up 12.3% from the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 65 cents.

Our View

Alliant Energy reported solid results in the reported quarter, surpassing our expectation. The company’s ability to increase its retail electricity and gas customers is commendable.

Based in Madison, Wis., Alliant Energy Corporation was founded in 1917. The company provides services to one million electric and 415,000 natural gas consumers located in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota. With a market cap of $5.84 billion the company has 4,055 full time employees. Alliant Energy retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
 

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