FirstEnergy forecasts 2023 earnings above Wall Street estimates

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Feb 13 (Reuters) - U.S. electric utility company FirstEnergy Corp on Monday forecast higher-than-expected earnings for 2023, but reported a loss in the fourth quarter due to taxes associated with the sale of a minority stake in one of its units.

Large U.S. electric utilities are investing on low carbon projects to move away from fuel-powered generation and on modern grids, a plan that requires a large influx of capital.

The White House had announced in November that it was soliciting grant applications for $13 billion in new financing under the bipartisan infrastructure bill for the expansion and modernization of the U.S. electric grid, and highlighted other initiatives such as expediting approval of new transmission lines.

The Akron, Ohio-based company forecast 2023 operating profit in the range of $2.44 or $2.64 per share, the midpoint of which is higher than analysts' estimate of $2.47 per share, according to Refinitiv data.

In the fourth quarter, however, the company reported a quarterly loss as it was dealt with non-cash tax charges related to a minority stake sale in the holding company of its regulated transmission utility units. It had divested the unit even further earlier this month.

FirstEnergy said its earnings were further offset by higher operating expenses such as maintenance work and storm restoration costs.

The company reported a net loss of $403 million, or 71 cents per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $427 million, or 77 cents per share, a year earlier. (Reporting by Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)