Ameren Earnings: Profit Streak Snapped by a Loss

S&P 500 (NYSE:SPY) component Ameren Corporation (NYSE:AEE) reported its results for the first quarter. Through its subsidiaries, Ameren operates rate-regulated electric generation, transmission, and distribution businesses; rate-regulated natural gas transmission and distribution businesses; and non-rate-regulated electric generation businesses.

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Ameren Earnings Cheat Sheet for the First Quarter

Results: Reported a loss of $403 million ($1.66 per diluted share) in the quarter. Ameren Corporation had a net income of $71 million or 29 cents per share in the year-earlier quarter.

Revenue: Fell 12.9% to $1.66 billion from the year-earlier quarter.

Actual vs. Wall St. Expectations: Ameren Corporation reported adjusted net income of 22 cents per share. By that measure, the company fell in line with the mean estimate of 22 cents per share. It fell short of the average revenue estimate of $1.7 billion.

Quoting Management: “While first quarter results were negatively affected by unusually warm winter weather, we continue to expect that core earnings will be in the range of $2.20 to $2.50 per share for the year,” said Thomas R. Voss, chairman, president and CEO of Ameren Corporation. “Our first quarter 2012 GAAP results included a noncash write down of our Duck Creek merchant generating energy center as a result of the sharp first quarter 2012 decline in market prices for electricity,” added Voss.

Key Stats:

AEE ended a three-quarter streak of profits when it reported a loss in the latest quarter. The company reported a profit of $25 million in the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, a profit of $285 million in the third quarter of the last fiscal year and $138 million in the second of the last fiscal year.

The company met estimates last quarter after falling short of forecasts in the previous quarter with net income of 14 cents versus a mean estimate of net income of 15 cents per share.

Revenue has fallen in the past two quarters. In the fourth quarter of the last fiscal year, revenue declined 10.5% to $1.58 billion from the year-earlier quarter.

Looking Forward: Expectations for the company’s next-quarter performance are higher than they were ninety days ago. Over the past three months, the average estimate for the second quarter has risen to 55 cents per share from 50 cents. The average estimate for the fiscal year is $2.33 per share, a rise from $2.32 ninety days ago.

Competitors to Watch: CenterPoint Energy, Inc., Integrys Energy Group, Inc., The Empire District Electric Co., NorthWestern Corporation, CMS Energy Corporation, NiSource Inc., CH Energy Group, Inc., Dominion Resources, Inc., Wisconsin Energy Corp., and DTE Energy Company.

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

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