Ameren (NYSE: AEE) Announces 2013 Results And Issues Earnings Guidance
Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE) announced 2013 net income from continuing operations of $512 million, or $2.10 per diluted share, compared to 2012 net income from continuing operations of $516 million, or $2.13 per diluted share. As a result of Ameren's divestiture of its merchant generation business, the results of this business are classified as discontinued operations in the financial statements.
The decrease in 2013 earnings from continuing operations, compared to 2012, reflected 2013 nuclear refueling outage expenses, versus the prior year when there was no refueling outage, and milder summer weather. The earnings comparison was positively affected by increased rates for Missouri electric and Illinois transmission service and increased Illinois electric delivery earnings under formula ratemaking. Additional factors negatively affecting the earnings comparison included charges in 2013 related to Missouri and Illinois regulatory decisions and the absence in 2013 of a benefit related to a 2012 Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) decision.
"With the divestiture of our merchant generation business now complete, we are solely focused on our rate-regulated utilities. In 2013, these continuing operations delivered improved earnings on a weather-normalized basis despite a Callaway refueling outage and two regulatory charges," said Thomas R. Voss, chairman and CEO of Ameren Corporation. "Looking ahead, our FERC-regulated transmission and Illinois energy delivery businesses are making significant new investments to improve reliability and customers' ability to manage their energy usage. Our capability to make such investments is supported by modern, constructive regulatory frameworks in these jurisdictions, and we expect these investments to lead to solid earnings growth. In addition, we continue our work to enhance the Missouri regulatory framework to better support investment in that state's aging energy infrastructure for the benefit of customers while managing the business in a disciplined fashion, including aligning spending with the existing regulatory framework."
Ameren recorded earnings from continuing operations of $48 million, or 19 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2013, compared to $12 million, or 5 cents per share, for the fourth quarter of 2012. The improvement in earnings reflected increased rates for Missouri electric and Illinois transmission service; greater electric and gas sales volumes primarily resulting from colder winter temperatures; and increased Illinois electric delivery earnings under formula ratemaking. These positive factors were partially offset by a fourth quarter 2013 charge related to the Illinois Commerce Commission's (ICC) disallowance of certain debt redemption costs.
Earnings from Continuing Operations Guidance
Ameren expects 2014 earnings to be in a range of $2.25 to $2.45 per share. Further, it expects earnings per share to grow at a 7% to 10% compound annual rate through 2018 using 2013 results from continuing operations as the base. This growth is expected to be driven primarily by infrastructure investments in FERC-regulated transmission and Illinois energy delivery services.
Ameren's earnings guidance assumes normal temperatures and is subject to the effects of, among other things, changes in 30-year U.S. Treasury bond yields; regulatory decisions and legislative actions; energy center operations; energy, economic, capital and credit market conditions; severe storms; unusual or otherwise unexpected gains or losses; and other risks and uncertainties outlined, or referred to, in the Forward-looking Statements section of this press release.
Ameren Missouri Segment Results
Ameren Missouri segment 2013 earnings were $395 million, compared to 2012 earnings of $416 million. The decrease in earnings reflected 2013 Callaway refueling outage expenses, compared to 2012 when there was no refueling outage, and milder summer weather. The earnings comparison was positively affected by an increase in rates for electric service, effective in January 2013, and disciplined cost management. Additional factors negatively affecting the earnings comparison included a 2013 charge resulting from a Missouri Public Service Commission decision related to the fuel adjustment clause and the absence in 2013 of a benefit related to a 2012 FERC decision.
Ameren Illinois Segment Results
Ameren Illinois segment 2013 earnings were $160 million, compared to 2012 earnings of $141 million. The increase in earnings reflected higher electric delivery earnings recognized under formula ratemaking resulting from increased infrastructure investment; a higher allowed return on equity due to higher 30-year Treasury bond yields; and the absence in 2013 of a 2012 contribution required to implement formula ratemaking. The earnings comparison also benefited from increased rates for transmission service, effective in January 2013. These positive factors were partially offset by a fourth quarter 2013 charge for the ICC's disallowance of certain debt redemption costs.
Parent Company and Other
The parent company and other loss from continuing operations was $43 million for 2013, compared to $41 million for 2012. Parent company and other results include interest expense and certain other costs which were previously allocated to the merchant generation business, as well as costs historically not allocated to Ameren's business segments.
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