Wisconsin Energy Corporation (WEC) posted first-quarter 2014 net operating earnings of 91 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9.6% as well as the year-ago earnings by 19.7%.
The earnings growth reflects sharp increase in retail electricity and natural gas sales driven by higher demand due to harsh winter weather during the quarter.
Wisconsin Energy reported total revenues of $1,695.0 million, outpacing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 29.1%. On a year-over-year basis, revenues surged 32.9% on account of an increase in both electric and natural gas customers.
Total operating expenses climbed 38% year over year to $1,316.7 million attributable to a whopping 119% rise in cost of gas sold.
The increase in operating expenses overshadowed the revenue upturn. Operating margin was 22.5% in the first quarter compared with 25.2% in the year-ago period.
Cash and cash equivalents as of Mar 31, 2014 were $27.6 million versus $26 million as of Dec 31, 2013.
Long-term debt decreased to $4,348.8 million as of Mar 31, 2014 from $4,363.2 million as of Dec 31, 2013.
Cash from operating activities during the quarter was $385.1 million versus $330.3 million in the year-ago comparable period.
Capital expenditures were ($129.2) million, down from ($133.6) million incurred in the prior-year quarter.
Other Company Releases
NRG Energy Inc. (NRG) is slated to release its first quarter earnings on May 6, 2014. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is pegged at a loss of 12 cents per share.
Calpine Corp. (CPN) is slated to release its first quarter earnings on May 1, 2014. The Zacks Consensus Estimate stands at a loss of 7 cents per share.
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (BIP) is slated to release its first quarter earnings on May 5, 2014. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is 88 cents per share.
Wisconsin Energy retained its positive earnings streak by reporting healthy earnings beat in the first quarter of 2014. The company’s infrastructure investments paid off as it was able to offer uninterrupted power service to its customers even in severe weather conditions.
Going forward, Wisconsin Energy’s Oak Creek and Port Washington facilities will continue to add to the company’s generation capacity. In addition, its large-scale biomass-plant in Rothschild attained full commercial operability in Nov 2013. These assets collectively will allow Wisconsin Energy to effectively meet the rising power demand which in turn will boost the company’s revenue stream.
Wisconsin Energy Corporation currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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