Atmos Energy Corporation (ATO - Free Report) posted first-quarter fiscal 2020 earnings of $1.47 per share, which lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.49 by 1.3%.
However, the reported earnings improved 6.5% from the prior-year figure. The year-over-year improvement in earnings was due to positive rate outcomes.
Total revenues of $875.6 million decreased 0.3% from the year-ago figure of $877.8 million. The year-over-year decline in revenues was due to lower contribution from the distribution segment.
Distribution: Revenues from the segment decreased 1.2% to $828.5 million from $838.8 million in the prior-year quarter.
Pipeline and Storage: Revenues from the segment increased 10.2% to $148.2 million from $134.5 million in the year-ago quarter. The improvement was driven by increase in rates, marginally offset by increase in operation and maintenance expenses.
Total expenses in the reported quarter decreased 2.9% from the year-ago level to $622.8 million due to lower purchased gas cost, offset by higher operation and maintenance expenses, as well as depreciation and amortization costs.
Operating income in the reported quarter was up 6.9% year over year to $252.8 million.
The company incurred interest expenses of $27.3 million, down 2.2% from the year-ago period.
As of Dec 31, 2019, Atmos Energy had cash and cash equivalents of $189.3 million compared with $24.6 million on Sep 30, 2019.
Long-term debt was $4.3 billion as of Dec 31, 2019, up from $3.53 billion on Sep 30, 2019.
The company’s cash flow from operating activities in first-quarter fiscal 2020 was $172.5 million, up from $164.7 million recorded in the year-ago period.
It invested $529.2 million in fiscal first-quarter 2020 compared with $414.4 million in fiscal first-quarter 2019. The increase in capital spending was due to continued spending for infrastructure replacements and enhancements.
Atmos Energy reiterated its fiscal 2020 earnings guidance in the range of $4.58-$4.73 per share. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2020 earnings is $4.68 per share. Capital expenditure is expected in the range of $1.85-$1.95 billion for fiscal 2020.
Atmos Energy currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
National Fuel Gas Company (NFG - Free Report) posted first-quarter fiscal 2020 operating earnings of $1.01 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 95 cents by 6.3%.
Plains All American Pipeline (PAA - Free Report) posted fourth-quarter 2019 operating earnings of 63 cents per unit, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 49 cents by 28.6%.
MDU Resources Group Inc. (MDU - Free Report) reported fourth-quarter 2019 earnings of 47 cents per share, which improved from the year-ago figure by 20.5%.
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