DTE Energy profits down, but top forecasts

DTE earnings and revenue were both down in the latest quarter.

By Kaitlin Schuler

DTE Energy Holding Co., hurt by weakness in its non-utility operations, reported fourth quarter earnings which, while down from last year, nonetheless slightly topped analyst forecasts.

In the latest quarter, Detroit-based DTE Energy posted net income of $80 million or 45 cents per diluted share, down from $299 million or $1.68 per share in the year ago quarter.

Operating earnings, which exclude a variety of one-time items, declined 13 percent to $180 million or $1.01 per diluted share, from $207 million or $1.17 per share. These earnings slightly topped the analysts’ consensus forecast of 99 cents per share, as reported by Yahoo! Finance.

The company finished 2015 “with strong results,” Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Gerard M. Anderson told analysts during a conference call.

Revenues decreased 10 percent to $1.51 billion from $1.68 billion a year ago, as growth in the company’s natural gas division was offset by declines in its electric division and non-utility operations; the non-utility segment includes an energy trading group, power and industrial projects and gas storage and pipelines.

“I was surprised to see gas segment earnings up in the fourth quarter,” said KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc. analyst Paul Ridzon in the earnings conference call. The gas unit is affected by weather conditions, and DTE’s service area has seen a relatively mild winter.

DTE Energy officials reaffirmed 2016 operating EPS guidance of $4.80 to $5.05, which the company first provided in a September early outlook statement. Analysts currently predict a mid-range operating EPS of $4.95.

Net income of full-year 2015 decreased 20 percent to $727 million or $4.05 per diluted share from $905 million or $5.10 per share.

Revenues decreased to $10.34 billion from $12.30 billion in 2014.

In New York Stock Exchange trading, DTE shares closed Wednesday down $1.06, or 1.2 percent, at $85.79.

Photo at top: DTE earnings and revenue were both down in the latest quarter. Source: DTE Energy earnings release (Kaitlin Schuler/MEDILL)