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Southern (SO) Q1 Earnings Beat, Keeps Vogtle Timeline Intact

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Power supplier The Southern Company (SO - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2022 earnings per share (excluding certain one-time items) of 97 cents, 6 cents ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate. The outperformance primarily stemmed from the positive effects of rates, usage and pricing changes.

However, the bottom line compared unfavorably with the year-ago quarter’s adjusted profit of 98 cents due to uptick in operations and maintenance costs.

The utility reported revenues of $6.6 billion. This beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6 billion and was 12.5% higher than first-quarter 2021 sales.

The firm is guiding for earnings per share of $3.50-$3.60 this year and 80 cents for the June quarter.
 

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 expects to maintain the timelines to complete the Units 3 and 4 of the Vogtle nuclear project. The utility’s in-service dates for the facilities are Q4’22-Q1’23 (unit 3) and Q3’23-Q4’23 (unit 4). At the same time, Southern Company’s share of its Georgia Power subsidiary in capital costs for the units remain unchanges.

Overall Sales Breakup

Southern Company’s wholesale power sales rose 15.3%, which was complemented by a rise in retail electricity demand.

Overall, there was an upward movement in overall electricity sales and usage. In fact, total electricity sales during the fourth quarter were up 5% from the same period last year.

Southern Company’s total retail sales moved up 1.5%, with residential, industrial and commercial sales increasing 0.5%, 1.7% and 2.3%, respectively.

Expenses Summary

The power supplier’s operations and maintenance cost rose 10.5% year-over-year to $1.5 billion, while the utility’s total operating expense for the period — at $5.3 billion — was up 22.1% from the prior-year level.

Zacks Rank & Stock Picks

Southern Company carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Meanwhile, investors interested in the utility space could look at better options like Ameren Corporation (AEE - Free Report) , NiSource Inc. (NI - Free Report) and Consolidated Edison (ED - Free Report) . All the firms carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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

Ameren Corporation: Ameren is valued at around $24.3 billion. For 2022, AEE has a projected earnings growth rate of 6%.

Ameren delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 3.9%. Headquartered in Saint Louis, MO, AEE shares have gained around 15.7% in a year.

NiSource Inc.: NiSource is valued at around $12.2 billion. For 2022, NI has a projected earnings growth rate of 5.8%.

NiSource delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 1.4%. Headquartered in Merrillville, IN, NI shares have gained around 21.7% in a year.

Consolidated Edison: Consolidated Edison is valued at around $33.6 billion. For 2022, ED has a projected earnings growth rate of 2.3%.

Consolidated Edison delivered a four-quarter average earnings surprise of 1.4%. Headquartered in New York, NI shares have gained around 29.3% in a year.