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Sempra Energy (SRE) Beats on Q4 Earnings, Lifts '17 View

Zacks Equity Research

Sempra Energy’s SRE fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) came in at $1.52, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.42 by 7%. Earnings also improved 3.4% from the prior-year quarter figure.

GAAP earnings were $1.51 per share in the quarter, compared with $1.47 a year ago.

During 2016, the company’s adjusted EPS of $5.05 exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.85 by 4.1%. On a year-over-year basis, full-year earnings however decreased 2.3%.

Total Revenue

In the quarter under review, total revenue was $2,870 million, up 6.3% year over year on higher contributions from both the energy-related businesses (up 43.7%) and utilities (3%). However, total revenue missed the consensus mark of $2,899 million by 1%.

During 2016, the company’s total revenue of $10.18 billion fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $10.36 billion by 1.7%. Revenues also dropped 0.5% year over year.

Sempra Energy Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Sempra Energy Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | Sempra Energy Quote

Segment Update

San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E): Quarterly earnings were $151 million, compared with the year-ago figure of $144 million. The upside was driven by a higher California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) base margin and lower operating expenses.

Southern California Gas Company (SoCalGas): The segment registered earnings of $151 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, compared to the year-ago earnings of $143 million. This improvement was driven by a higher CPUC base margin and lower operating expenses as well as increased earnings from the pipeline safety and advanced meter programs.

Sempra South American Utilities: The segment recorded earnings of $29 million in the fourth quarter, down from $46 million in the prior-year quarter. The downside can be attributed to a $14-million increase in deferred income-tax expenses related to the Peruvian tax reform. 

Sempra Mexico: The segment recorded earnings of $56 million, up from $53 million recorded in the prior-year quarter.

Sempra Renewables: The segment recorded quarterly earnings of $12 million, down from $16 million in the prior-year quarter. The decline was due to a $5-million gain received from the sale of the Rosamond Solar project in the fourth quarter 2015.

Sempra LNG & Midstream: The segment reported loss of $3 million, as against the year-ago quarter’s earnings of $1 million.

Financial Update

As of Dec 31, 2016, Sempra Energy’s cash and cash equivalents were $349 million, compared with $403 million as of Dec 31, 2015.

Long-term debt was $1,779 million as of Dec 31, 2016, compared with $622 million at 2015-end.

Cash flow from operating activities was $2,319 million at the end of of 2016, down from $2,905 million at the end of 2015.

In 2016, the company’s capital expenditures and investments were $5,796 million, compared with $3,356 million in the prior year.

Guidance

Sempra Energy raised its 2017 earnings per share expectation to the band of $4.85 to $5.25, from the prior range of $4.80 to $5.20.

Zacks Rank

Sempra Energy currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Recent Utility Releases

FirstEnergy Corp. FE announced fourth-quarter 2016 operating earnings of 38 cents per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 39 cents by 2.6%.Quarterly earnings were down 34.5% year over year.

Entergy Corp. ETR reported fourth-quarter 2016 operational earnings of 31 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 11 cents by 181.8%. The reported number, however, declined 80.4% year over year.

Public Service Enterprise Group Inc. PEG or PSEG reported fourth-quarter 2016 adjusted operating earnings of 54 cents per share, which exceeded the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 52 cents by 3.8%. Earnings also rose 8% on a year-over-year basis.

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