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Southern Co. beats analyst estimates with Q4'17 net income

Southern Co. on Feb. 21 reported fourth-quarter 2017 net income, excluding certain items, of $509 million, or 51 cents per share, up from $295 million, or 30 cents per share, in the comparable quarter of 2016.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate for the most recent quarter was 46 cents per share.

The result for the 2017 excludes a $211 million estimated loss on the Plant Ratcliffe integrated gasification combined-cycle project in Kemper County, Miss., $16 million in costs related to the acquisition and integration of Southern Co. Gas, and $105 million related to the wholesale gas services business, among others.

Southern Co. posted GAAP net income attributable to the company of $496 million, or 49 cents per share, compared to $197 million, or 20 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

The company said its books were positively impacted by retail revenue effects and lower operations and maintenance costs at its traditional electric operating companies and results from Southern Co. Gas.

The company generated $5.63 billion in fourth-quarter operating revenues, an increase of 8.6% from $5.18 billion in the same quarter of 2016. Total operating expenses rose to $4.84 billion from $4.59 billion a year earlier. Operating income for the quarter was up to $794 million, compared with $587 million in the 2016 quarter.

On a full-year basis, Southern Co. reported net income excluding items of $3.02 billion, or $3.02 per share, in 2017, compared to $2.76 billion, or $2.90 per share, in 2016.

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate was $2.96 per share.

The company's GAAP net income slipped to $842 million, or 84 cents per share, in 2017, compared with $2.45 billion, or $2.57 per share, in 2016.

Southern said earnings for full year 2017 were negatively influenced by milder weather and lower customer usage.

Operating revenues for the full-year 2017 were $23.03 billion, a 15.8% increase from $19.90 billion in 2016, with Southern Co. Gas accounting for $2.27 billion of the increase in operating revenues for 2017.