Ameren Corporation (AEE - Free Report) posted first-quarter 2016 earnings from continuing operations of 43 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 41 cents by 4.9%. Earnings, however, declined 4.4% year over year.
The decline in earnings was primarily due to lower retail electric sales as winter temperatures remained mild in its service territories. Additionally, lower sales to Ameren Missouri's once largest customer, Noranda Aluminum, Inc., added to the negatives.
Total revenues of $1,434 million in the first quarter of 2016 were down 7.8% year over year due to lower electric and gas sales volume.
Highlights of the Release
Ameren’s total electricity sales in the reported quarter decreased by nearly 9.5% to 18,690 million kilowatt hours from 20,649 million kilowatt hours in the prior-year quarter. Gas volumes were down 13.5% to 68,930 thousand dekatherms from 79,733 thousand dekatherms in the prior-year quarter.
Total operating expenses in the first quarter were $1,214 million, down 6.6% year over year.
Interest expenses were $95 million, up 8% from the year-ago figure.
Ameren reported cash and cash equivalents of $13 million as of Mar 31, 2016, compared with $292 million at 2015 end.
Long-term debt as of Mar 31, 2016, was $6,881 million compared with $6,880 million as of Dec 31, 2015.
Cash from operating activities in the first quarter was $349 million compared with $312 million in the prior-year period.
Capital expenditure in the quarter was $496 million, up from $417 million in the year-ago period.
Ameren maintained the 2016 diluted earnings per share guidance of $2.40 to $2.60.
The company had earlier said that diluted earnings per share will likely grow at a 5% to 8% compound annual rate from 2016 through 2020, excluding the expected temporary net effect of lower sales to Noranda in 2016.
Other Company Releases
CMS Energy Corp. (CMS - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings per share of 59 cents, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 68 cents by 13.2%. Quarterly earnings also plunged 19.2% from the year-ago figure of 73 cents.
DTE Energy Company (DTE - Free Report) reported first-quarter 2016 operating earnings per share of $1.52, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Reported earnings, however, dropped 7.9% from the year-ago figure of $1.65.
Consolidated Edison Inc. (ED - Free Report) posted first-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings of $1.18 per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.22 by 3.3%. Reported earnings also decreased 5.6% from the year-ago figure of $1.25 per share due to lower sales.
Ameren Corp. currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).
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