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Ameren tops Street estimates with higher core earnings for Q4, FY'17

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Ameren tops Street estimates with higher core earnings for Q4, FY'17

Ameren Corp. on Feb. 16 reported fourth-quarter 2017 core earnings of $94 million, or 39 cents per diluted share, surpassing the S&P Capital IQ normalized EPS estimate for the quarter of 34 cents per share. In the comparable period in 2016, the company booked core earnings of $32 million, or 13 cents per diluted share.

The company attributed the year-over-year increase in core earnings to the change in the timing of interim period revenue recognition at Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution, new Ameren Missouri electric service rates, increased infrastructure investments made at Ameren Transmission and a lower effective income tax rate.

On a GAAP basis, Ameren booked a fourth-quarter net loss attributable to common shareholders of $60 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, compared to $32 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, in the same quarter in 2016. The results include a charge of $154 million, or 63 cents per diluted share, for the revaluation of deferred taxes as a result of the recently signed Tax Cuts and Jobs Act.

Operating revenues for the quarter totaled $1.40 billion, up from $1.36 billion, while operating income was $225 million, rising from $145 million, in the last quarter of 2016.

In 2018, Ameren will target achieving diluted earnings per share in a range of $2.95 to $3.15, and to grow at a 5% to 7% compound annual rate from 2017 through 2022, using 2017 core results as a base.

For full year 2017, the company posted core earnings of $691 million, or $2.83 per diluted share. The S&P Capital IQ normalized EPS estimate for 2017 was $2.79. Net income attributable to common shareholders totaled $523 million, or $2.14 per diluted share, compared to $653 million, or $2.68 per diluted share, in 2016.

The 2017 GAAP earnings included non-cash charges that decreased earnings by a combined $168 million, or 69 cents per diluted share, reflecting the revaluation of deferred taxes as a result of changes in Illinois and federal income tax rates.

Operating revenues for 2017 amounted to $6.18 billion, up from $6.08 billion, while operating income totaled $1.46 billion, an increase from $1.38 billion, in 2016.