Story URL: http://news.medill.northwestern.edu/chicago/news.aspx?id=177196
Story Retrieval Date: 5/24/2013 9:04:05 PM CST
Chicago utility Exelon Corp. said Wednesday that fourth-quarter earnings dropped 10 percent, although its revenues increased by 9 percent from the same time last year. The results came in below Wall Street estimates. Exelon executives attributed the profit drop to one-time expenses, such as retiring a nuclear plant in New Jersey and a money-losing hedging program.
In the quarter ending Dec. 31, Exelon earned $524 million, or 79 cents per diluted share, compared with $581 million, or 88 cents per diluted share, in the same period last year.
In a conference call, CEO John Roe said he was “very pleased” with the fourth-quarter results. He said the company met its goals for operational earnings and increased customer satisfaction at subsidiaries PECO and Commonwealth Edison, which provides electricity to Chicago.
Exelon and ComEd executives said they expect ComEd profits to remain flat in 2011 due to the weak economy.
“We’re seeing generally the Chicago economy lagging. Foreclosures are higher, personal bankruptcies are up,” said Anne Pramaggiore, chief operating officer at ComEd. She also said fourth-quarter earnings were down because customers were conserving energy due the high cost of utility bills during Chicago’s hottest summer in 15 years.
Despite continued slow growth at ComEd, Exelon expects first-quarter 2011 earnings to come in around $1 to $1.10 per diluted share.
Exelon’s outlook is still positive, said analyst Lasan Johong of RBC Capital Markets.
“The value of the company has changed very little from what we saw previously,” he said. “The 2011 numbers ought to be slightly better, and the company’s forward-looking guidance is somewhat conservative.”
For all of 2011, Exelon expects to earn between $3.90 and $4.20 per share.
During 2010, Exelon posted a profit of $2.56 billion, or $3.87 per diluted share, down 5.3 percent from $2.71 billion, or $4.09 per share, in 2009. Revenue rose 7.7 percent to $18.64 billion, up from $17.31 billion.
Exelon is the largest nuclear power provider in the United States and is a full or majority owner of 10 nuclear power plants and 17 nuclear reactors. ComEd provides power to 3.8 million customers in Illinois, approximately 70 percent of the state’s population.
Exelon stock closed at $43.03 Wednesday, down 17 cents.