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PPL Corp.' s (PPL) Q1 Earnings & Revenues Miss the Mark

PPL Corporation PPL reported first-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings of 67 cents per share, falling short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 75 cents by 10.7%.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported earnings per share of 71 cents in the quarter compared with 96 cents a year ago. The difference between GAAP and operating earnings in the reported quarter was due to 4 cents of special after-tax benefits.

Total Revenues

PPL Corp.’s total revenues of $2,011 million missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,213 million by 9.1%. Revenues also decreased 9.8% year over year.

Segment Results

UK Regulated: Adjusted earnings decreased by 11 cents on a year-over-year basis to 39 cents per share. The decrease was attributable to the beginning of the new eight-year price control period (RIIO-ED1), lower sales volumes due to unfavorable weather, and the effect of changes in British pound sterling to U.S. dollar exchange rates.

Kentucky Regulated: Adjusted earnings were on par with the prior year. This was primarily due to higher base electricity rates effective Jul 1, 2015, and lower operation and maintenance expense, offset by lower sales volumes due to unfavorable weather and higher financing costs. 
          
Pennsylvania Regulated: Adjusted earnings in the reported quarter increased by 1 cent per share to 14 cents, driven primarily by higher base electricity rates for distribution effective Jan 1, 2016, and higher transmission margins, partially offset by lower sales volumes due to unfavorable weather and higher operation and maintenance expense.

Corporate and Other: It includes unallocated corporate-level financing and other costs and was flat year over year.

Operational Highlights

PPL Corp.’s total operating expenses decreased 11.3% year over year to $1,188 million in the reported quarter.

The company reported an operating income of $823 million, down 7.5% from $890 million a year ago.

Interest expenses rose 7.2% to $224 million from $206 million a year ago.

Financial Position

As of Mar 31, 2016, PPL Corp. had cash and cash equivalents of $814 million compared with $836 million as of Dec 31, 2015.
 
Long-term debt (excluding debts due within one year) was $18,074 million as of Mar 31, 2016, compared with $18,563 million at the end of 2015.

In the first three months of 2016, net cash flow from operating activities (continuing operations) was $557 million compared with $673 million in the prior-year period.

Guidance

PPL Corp. reaffirmed its 2016 adjusted earnings guidance in the range of $2.25 to $2.45 per share with the midpoint at $2.35.

The midpoints of the adjusted earnings guidance for UK Regulated, Kentucky Regulated and Pennsylvania Regulated are pegged at $1.43, 57 cents and 47 cents, respectively, for the year.

The company expects annual earnings growth of 5–6% through 2018, off a 2014 base.

Upcoming Peer Releases

Pinnacle West Capital Corporation PNW is slated to release first quarter results on Apr 29, 2016. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is 13 cents.

Consolidated Edison, Inc. ED is slated to release first quarter results on May 5, 2016. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is $1.22.

Pattern Energy Group Inc. PEGI is slated to release first quarter results on May 5, 2016. The Zacks Consensus Estimate is 3 cents.

Our View

PPL Corporation’s earnings per share and revenues were lower than expectation, as unfavorable weather adversely impacted demand in its service territories.

However, the significant investments planned by the company to strengthen its existing infrastructure will help it to provide reliable services to its customers and at the same time boost its performance over the long term.

PPL Corp. currently has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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PATTERN ENERGY (PEGI): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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