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Ameren (AEE) Misses on Q4 Earnings, Provides 2017 Outlook

Zacks

Ameren Corporation AEE posted fourth-quarter 2016 earnings from continuing operations of 13 cents per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 15 cents by 13.3%. Earnings also increased 8.3% year over year.

For 2016, the company reported adjusted EPS of $2.68, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.70 by 0.7%. However, year over year, this figure improved 4.7% from $2.56 in 2015.

The bottom-line improvement was primarily driven by increased 2016 electric transmission and distribution infrastructure investments made by Ameren Transmission Company of Illinois (ATXI) and Ameren Illinois under modern, constructive regulatory frameworks. Again, higher summer 2016 electric sales to residential and commercial customers was driven by warmer temperatures, higher Illinois natural gas distribution rates and 2016 tax impacts associated with share-based compensation added to the company’s quarterly earnings.

Total Revenue

Total revenue of $1,095 million in the fourth quarter of 2016 was up 0.7% year over year on the back of higher electric and gas sales volumes.

For 2016, the company generated total revenue of $5,196 million, which improved 0.3% from $5,180 billion in 2015.

Highlights of the Release

Ameren’s total electricity sales in the reported quarter inched up 0.3% to 18,235 million kilowatt hours (kWh) from 18,172 million kWh in the prior-year quarter. Gas volumes were up 17.4% to 54 million dekatherms from 46 million dekatherms in the prior-year quarter.

Total operating expenses in the fourth quarter were $1,211 million, up 3.7% year over year.

Interest expenses were $95 million, up 4.4% from the year-ago figure.

Ameren Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise


Ameren Corporation Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Ameren Corporation Quote

Financial Condition

Ameren reported cash and cash equivalents of $9 million as of Dec 31, 2016, compared with $292 million at 2015 end.

Long-term debt as of Dec 31, 2016 was $6,595 million, compared with $6,880 million as of Dec 31, 2015.

Cash from operating activities in 2016 was $2,123 million, compared with $2,031 million in the prior-year period.

Guidance

Ameren expects 2017 diluted earnings per share to be in a range of $2.65−$2.85. It continues to expect diluted earnings per share to grow at a 5%−8% compound annual rate from 2016, through 2020.

Zacks Rank

Ameren currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Peer Releases

American Electric Power Co., Inc. AEP reported fourth-quarter 2016 operating EPS of 67 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents by 21.8%.

NextEra Energy, Inc. NEE reported fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted EPS of $1.21, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.29 by 6.2%. Nonetheless, reported earnings were up 3.4% year over year.

CMS Energy Corp. CMS reported fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted EPS of 29 cents, in line with the Zacks Consensus Estimate. Quarterly earnings, however, tanked 23.7% year over year.

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