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Southern Company (SO) Q1 Earnings & Revenues Top Estimates

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Power supplier The Southern Company (SO - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2021 earnings per share (excluding certain one-time items) of 98 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 85 cents and above the year-ago adjusted profit of 78 cents. The outperformance primarily stemmed from favorable weather impact as well as positive effects of rates, usage and pricing changes.

The utility reported revenues of $5.9 billion, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 8.6% and was 17.8% higher than first-quarter 2020 sales.

The firm is still guiding for earnings per share of $3.25-$3.35 this year, while for the June quarter it is 78 cents.

Southern Company The Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Southern Company The Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Southern Company The price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Southern Company The Quote


Vogtle Updates

Per Southern Company’s latest earnings presentation, it continues to progress toward completing the Units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle nuclear project by hitting several milestones over the past few months. At the same time, the firm increased the share of its Georgia Power subsidiary in capital costs for the units by $48 million, primarily due to the impacts of the pandemic.

Southern Company recently announced the commencement of the hot functional test for its nearly-finished Vogtle Unit 3 turbine system, while for Vogtle Unit 4, a 750,000-gallon water tank has been installed on top of the containment vessel and shield building roof.

Overall Sales Breakup

Southern Company’s wholesale power sales jumped 15.2%. There was also a rise in retail electricity demand.

Consequently, there was an upward movement in overall electricity sales and usage. In fact, total electricity sales during the first quarter were up 4.9% from the same period last year.

Southern Company’s total retail sales improved 1.8%, with residential sales surging 10.8% though commercial and industrial sales went down by 1.8% and 3%, respectively.

Expenses Summary

The power supplier’s operations and maintenance cost fell 5.9% year-over-year to $1.4 billion but the utility’s total operating expense for the period — at $4.3 billion — was up 14.8% from the prior-year level.

Zacks Rank & Stock Picks

Southern Company — one of the largest generators of electricity in the nation along with the likes of Exelon Corporation (EXC - Free Report) and Duke Energy Corporation (DUK - Free Report) — carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Meanwhile, investors interested in the utility space could look at a better option like CMS Energy Corporation (CMS - Free Report) that carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). The firm has an expected earnings growth rate of 8.61% for the current year.

You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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