Ameren Corporation’s (AEE - Free Report) first-quarter 2020 earnings of 59 cents per share from continuing operations lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents by 16.9%. The bottom line also declined 24.4% from the year-ago quarter’s 78 cents.
Total revenues came in at $1,440 million in the reported quarter, which declined 7.5% year over year due to lower electric sales and natural gas volumes. The top line also lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1,585 million by 9.1%.
Highlights of the Release
Ameren’s total electricity sales volume declined 2.8% to 18,671 million kilowatt hours (kWh) compared with 19,217 million kWh in the year-ago quarter. Moreover, gas volumes declined 12.2% to 72 million dekatherms.
Total operating expenses summed $1,199 million, down 5.4% year over year. Interest expenses were $93 million compared with $97 million a year ago.
The company’s operating income fell 16.3% to $241 million from $288 million in the year-ago quarter.
Ameren Missouri segment reported an operating loss of $10 million in the first quarter against a $39-million income in the year-ago quarter. The decline was primarily due to milder winter temperatures compared to colder-than-normal temperatures in the year-ago period as well as the absence of energy efficiency performance incentives compared to the year-ago period.
Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution segment reported operating income of $37 million in the first quarter compared with $36 million in the year-ago quarter, led by increased year-over-year earnings on infrastructure investments.
Ameren Illinois Natural Gas segment reported operating income of $55 million compared with $57 million in the year-ago quarter. The decline was primarily due to higher other operations and maintenance expenses incurred.
Ameren Transmission segment reported operating income of $47 million in the first quarter compared with $44 million in the year-ago quarter, led by increased earnings from infrastructure investments.
Ameren Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
The company reported cash and cash equivalents of $42 million as of Mar 31, 2020, compared with $16 million at 2019-end.
As of Mar 31, 2020, long-term debt totaled $9,378 million compared with $8,915 million as of Dec 31, 2019.
In the first quarter of 2020, cash from operating activities amounted to $290 million compared with $387 million in the first quarter of 2019.
Ameren reaffirms its 2020 guidance. The company expects earnings of $3.40-$3.60 per share, which is projected to grow at a 6-8% compound annual rate from 2020 through 2024. Currently, the Zacks Consensus Estimate for the company’s 2020 earnings is pegged at $3.41 per share, lower than the midpoint of its guided range.
Ameren currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Recent Utility Releases
FirstEnergy Corporation (FE - Free Report) , a Zacks Rank #3 company, delivered first-quarter 2020 operating earnings of 66 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 64 cents by 3.13%.
NextEra Energy (NEE - Free Report) , a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company, reported first-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings of $2.38 per share, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.21 by 7.7%.
CMS Energy Corporation (CMS - Free Report) , a Zacks Rank #3 company, reported first-quarter 2020 adjusted EPS of 86 cents, which surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 77 cents by 11.7%.
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