Alliant Saves Costs, Beats EPS

Zacks

Alliant Energy Corporation (LNT) reported fourth-quarter 2012 operating earnings of 64 cents per share, up 10.3% from the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 58 cents. The results of the company were 6 cents lower than the year-ago earnings of 58 cents.

2012 operating earnings of Alliant Energy were $3.05 per share, up 3.4% from the prior year and 2.7% from the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

2012 earnings benefited from lower operation and maintenance expenses, and higher retail fuel cost recovery, offset partially by higher depreciation expenses.
 
Total Revenue

Total revenues at the end of the fourth quarter were $750.9 million, down 1.3% from $760.8 million in the year-ago period. The results were also lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $804 million.

2012 revenues were $3.1 billion, down 3.9% from the prior year and 2.3% from the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Highlights of the Release

Total operating expenses were $2.6 billion, down 4.9% from $2.7 billion incurred in the year-ago period. The 3.7% decline in input costs and 6.3% decline in the operation and maintenance cost led to the overall decline.

The decline in total expenses in 2012 boosted the margins while operating income was up by $6.3 million to $519.7 million.

Interest expenses decreased marginally to $156.7 million from $158.3 million in 2011.

Financial Highlights

Cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 31, 2012 were $21.2 million versus $11.4 million as of Dec 31, 2011.

Long-term debt was $3.1 billion as of Dec 31, 2012 compared with $2.7 billion as of Dec 31, 2011.

Cash flow from operating activities in 2012 was $841.1 million versus $702.7 million in 2011.

Guidance

Alliance Energy expects earnings per share in 2013 in the band of $2.95 to $3.25.  Earnings are expected to benefit from rate base growth and cost cutting initiatives.

Other Company Releases

Pike Electric Corporation (PIKE) reported earnings of 67 cents per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2013, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 25 cents by 168%. Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (BIP) announced fourth-quarter 2012 operating earnings of 25 cents per unit, 56.9% lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 58 cents. Otter Tail Corporation (OTTR) announced fourth-quarter 2012 operating earnings of 47 cents per share, 56.7% higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 30 cents.

Our view

Alliant Energy reported mixed results in the reported quarter. However, the ability of the company to increase its retail electricity and gas customers is commendable.

Like any other utility in the U.S. Alliant Energy too had to cope with fluctuations in the weather pattern, particularly the mild weather in the first quarter of 2012, which had a negative impact on full year performance.  Alliant Energy retains a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Based in Madison, Wisconsin, Alliant Energy Corporation is an electric and natural gas service provider. The company provides services to one million electric and 413,000 natural gas consumers located in Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
 

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