AEP 2Q net income falls 24 pct, misses forecast

American Electric Power's 2Q earnings drop as cool weather, storm costs hurt utilities' profit

Associated Press

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- American Electric Power Co. said Thursday that its second-quarter net income fell 24 percent, as weaker demand, plant outage costs and higher storm expenses dragged down profits at its utilities.

"Despite signs of economic recovery in some states, we continue to experience load decline in portions of our service area primarily due to lagging industrial demand," said Nicholas K. Akins, AEP president and CEO, said in a statement. He noted that commercial demand fell slightly and residential usage was flat year-over-year. The company's region also had somewhat cooler weather than the record-breaking temperatures of the summer of 2012, which affected air conditioning use.

"We remain focused on controlling costs and improving our performance," Akins said. "Although our second-quarter results reflect higher operations and maintenance expenses related to storms and plant outages, much of this is timing. We are on track to keep our operations and maintenance expenses, net of offsets, at essentially the same level as last year."

The power company earned $338 million, or 69 cents per share, down from $362 million, or 75 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2012. Excluding one-time items, AEP said it posted an operating profit of 73 cents per share for the recent quarter. AEP also cited the transition to competitive power markets in Ohio as weighing on the quarter.

Revenue was flat at $3.6 billion.

The results fell slightly short of Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 74 cents per share on $3.64 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

AEP did back its forecast for full-year adjusted profit of $3.05 to $3.25 per share, bracketing analysts' expectations of $3.14 per share.

Shares of Columbus, Ohio-based AEP fell 32 cents to $46.06 in afternoon trading.

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