Ameren Corporation’s ( AEE Quick Quote AEE - Free Report) second-quarter 2021 earnings of 80 cents per share from continuing operations exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 78 cents by 2.6%. However, the reported figure declined 18.4% from 98 cents reported in the year-ago quarter.
The year-over-year bottom-line deterioration can be attributed to lower earnings contribution from Ameren Missouri and Ameren Transmission segments.
Total revenues came in at $1,472 million in the reported quarter, which improved 5.3% year over year due to higher electric as well as natural gas revenues. Revenues also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,414 million by 4.1%.
Highlights of the Release
Ameren’s total electricity sales volumes dropped 1.1% to 16,779 million kilowatt-hours (kWh) compared with 16,967 million kWh witnessed in the year-ago quarter. However, gas volumes remained flat at 35 million dekatherms.
Total operating expenses were $1,186 million, up 13.6% year over year.
The company’s interest expenses in the second quarter were $96 million compared with the prior-year quarter’s $108 million.
Ameren Missouri segment reported operating income of $111 million in second-quarter 2021 compared with $152 million recorded in the prior-year quarter. This year-over-year decline was due to a change in seasonal rate design, which decreased earnings by approximately $45 million.
Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution segment reported operating income of $41 million for second-quarter 2021 compared with $36 million registered in second-quarter 2020. The year-over-year improvement can be attributed to increased earnings on infrastructure investments and a higher allowed return on equity due to a higher projected average 30-year U.S. Treasury bond yield in 2021 compared with 2020.
Ameren Illinois Natural Gas segment reported operating income of $8 million for second-quarter 2021 compared with $9 million generated in the prior-year quarter. This year-over-year decline was on account of a change in rate design, which decreased earnings by $3 million.
Ameren Transmission segment reported operating income of $55 million in second-quarter 2021, compared with $59 million in the prior-year quarter. The decline can be attributed to the absence of the benefit from the May 2020 FERC order addressing the MISO allowed base return on equity that more than offset increased earnings on infrastructure investments. Financial Condition
Ameren reported cash and cash equivalents of $99 million as of Jun 30, 2021, compared with $139 million registered at 2020-end.
As of Jun 30, 2021, long-term debt totaled $12,492 million compared with $$11,078 million as of Dec 31, 2020.
During the first half of 2021, cash flow from operating activities amounted to $436 million compared with $694 million generated in the prior-year quarter.
Ameren has reissued its 2021 guidance. The company continues to expect its earnings in the range of $3.65-$3.85 per share. Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for 2021 earnings is pegged at $3.78 per share, higher than the midpoint of the guidance.
Ameren currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see
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