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Alliant Energy (LNT) Up 3.2% Since Last Earnings Report: Can It Continue?

Zacks Equity Research

A month has gone by since the last earnings report for Alliant Energy (LNT). Shares have added about 3.2% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Alliant Energy due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

Alliant Energy's Q3 Earnings Improve Y/Y, Guidance Up

Alliant Energy Corporation reported third-quarter 2019 operating earnings of 94 cents per share, increasing from the year-ago figure of 85 cents by 10.6%.

The year-over-year growth in earnings was attributable to increasing rate base at Interstate Power and Light Company (IPL) and Wisconsin Power and Light Company (WPL), along with timing of income tax expenses.

Total Revenues

Total revenues in the third quarter came in at $990.2 million, improving 6.6% year over year.

Operational Highlights

Total operating expenses were $700 million in the reported quarter, increasing 4.1% from $672.5 million in the year-ago period. The increase was due to higher operation and maintenance, and depreciation expenses.

Operating income was $290.2 million, up 13.3% from $256.1 million in the year-ago quarter.

Interest expenses were $68.3 million, increasing 12.9% from $63.3 million in the prior-year quarter.

During the third quarter, the company’s retail electric and gas utility customers grew 0.5% and 0.4% year over year, respectively. The increase in its customer count had a positive impact on electric and natural gas volumes sold, which improved 3.6% and 4% year over year, respectively.

Financial Update

Cash and cash equivalents were $193.7 million as of Sep 30, 2019, up from $20.9 million on Dec 31, 2018.

Long-term debt (excluding current portion) was $5,535.1 million as of Sep 30, 2019, higher than $5,246.3 million on Dec 31, 2018.

In the first nine months of 2019, cash flow from operating activities was $509.2 million compared with $442.2 million in the comparable year-ago period.

Guidance

Alliant Energy raised its 2019 consolidated earnings per share guidance to the range of 2.27-$2.33 from $2.17-$2.31. The revision in guidance takes into consideration the benefits of weather in the first nine months of the year.

The company also initiated its 2020 earnings guidance in the range of 2.34-$2.48 per share. The guidance takes into account positive regulatory outcome at IPL, stable economy and normal temperatures in its service territories.

The company expects to invest $6.7 billion within the 2019-2023 time frame to strengthen and expand the generation and distribution business.
 

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Analysts were quiet during the last two month period as none of them issued any earnings estimate revisions.


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