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Ameren (AEE) Tops Q4 Earnings Estimates, Issues '18 View

Ameren Corporation AEE posted fourth-quarter 2017 adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 39 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 34 cents by 14.7%. The bottom line also surged 200% year over year, primarily due to a change in the timing of interim period revenue recognition at Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution.

For 2017, Ameren Corporation reported adjusted earnings of $2.83 per share, compared with earnings of $2.68 in the prior year. Full-year earnings surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2.79 by 1.4%.

Total Revenues

Total revenues of $1,402 million in the quarter were up 3.4% year over year owing to higher electric as well as natural gas sales volumes.

For 2017, the company generated revenues worth $6,177 million that lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6,330 million. However, on a year-over-year basis, revenues rose 1.7% from $6,076 million in the prior year.

Highlights of the Release

Ameren’s total electricity sales volumes in the quarter decreased 2.1% to 17,854 million kilowatt hours (kWh) from 18,235 million kWh in the prior-year quarter. Gas volumes improved 11.3% 59 million dekatherms.

Total operating expenses were $1,177 million, down 2.8% year over year.

Interest expenses were $96 million compared with $95 million with 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 $10 million as of Dec 31, 2017 compared with $9 million at 2016 end.

Long-term debt as of Dec 31, 2017 was $7,094 million compared with $6,595 million as of Dec 31, 2016.

Cash from operating activities as on Dec 31, 2017 was $2,104 million compared with $2,123 million in the prior-year period.

Guidance

Ameren expects 2018 earnings per share to be in a range of $2.95-$3.15.

Zacks Rank

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

Recent Peer Releases

Exelon Corp EXC reported fourth-quarter 2017 operating earnings of 55 cents per share, which lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 62 cents by 11.3%.  However, quarterly earnings were 25% higher than the year-ago figure of 44 cents.

Dominion Energy D reported fourth-quarter 2017 operating earnings of 91 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 88 cents by 3.4%. However, operating earnings decreased 8.1% from 99 cents reported a year ago.

American Electric Power AEP reported fourth-quarter 2017 operating earnings per share of 85 cents, exceeding the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 81 cents by 4.9%. The bottom line also improved 4.9% from 67 cents per share reported a year ago.

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