Southern Company Earnings: Profit Rises for Second Straight Quarter

Falling revenue did not prevent S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Southern Company (NYSE:SO) from reporting a profit boost in the third quarter. Southern Company, through its operating companies, provides electric service in four Southeastern states.

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Southern Company Earnings Cheat Sheet

Results: Net income for Southern Company rose to $993 million ($1.11 per share) vs. $933 million ($1.06 per share) in the same quarter a year earlier. This marks a rise of 6.4% from the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue: Fell 7% to $5.05 billion from the year-earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: Southern Company fell short of the mean analyst estimate of $1.14 per share. It beat the average revenue estimate of $4.74 billion.

Quoting Management: “After a promising first six months of 2012, the economy has slowed due to uncertainty around the elections, the fiscal cliff and the slowing world economy,” said Thomas A. Fanning, Southern Company chairman, president and CEO. “Until these issues are resolved, the near-term outlook for the national economy will be unclear. We continue to believe that the long-term prospects for the Southeast remain strong relative to other portions of the country.”

Key Stats:

Revenue has dropped for four quarters in a row. Revenue declined 7.5% to $4.18 billion in the second quarter. The figure fell 10.2% in the first quarter from the year earlier and dropped 2% in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year from the year-ago quarter.

The company fell short of estimates last quarter after beating the mark the quarter before with net income of 69 cents versus a mean estimate of net income of 68 cents per share.

Net income has increased 14.5% year-over-year on average across the last five quarters. The biggest gain came in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, when income climbed 63.4% from the year-earlier quarter.

Looking Forward: For next quarter, analysts have a more positive outlook about the company’s expected results. The average estimate for the fourth quarter is 39 cents per share, up from 38 cents ninety days ago. The average estimate for the fiscal year has seen a bump from $2.64 per share sixty days ago to $2.65.

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(Company fundamentals provided by Xignite Financials. Earnings estimates provided by Zacks)

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