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New rates, lower O&M expenses drive Ameren Q2 earnings higher

Ameren Corp. booked $193 million, or 79 cents per share, in second-quarter 2017 net income attributable to common shareholders, up from $147 million, or 61 cents per share, in the comparable quarter of 2016.

The S&P Capital IQ normalized consensus EPS estimate for the second quarter was 74 cents.

The company said its books were positively impacted by new service rates at Ameren Missouri, the absence of a nuclear refueling and maintenance outage at the Callaway Energy Center, which reduced O&M expenses, according to an Aug. 4 earnings release.

Ameren Missouri, which is legally known as Union Electric Co., contributed $120 million toward second-quarter earnings, compared to $92 million in the same quarter of 2016. Ameren Illinois Co.'s electric distribution segment contributed $33 million, compared to $18 million in the 2016 quarter, and its gas segment contributed $5 million during the most recent period, compared to $7 million a year ago.

Ameren generated $1.54 billion in revenues, up from $1.43 billion in the second quarter of 2016, and recorded a $73 million year-over-year increase in second-quarter operating income to $398 million, from $325 million in the corresponding quarter of 2016.

Ameren continues to target full-year 2017 EPS in the range of $2.65 to $2.85, which now includes an expected third-quarter noncash estimated charge of 6 cents per share for revaluation of deferred taxes resulting from an increase in the Illinois corporate income tax rate effective July 1.

Excluding that charge, the company expects 2017 core EPS to be in a range of $2.70 to $2.90, a 5-cent-per-share improvement over the prior guidance range. The S&P Capital IQ normalized consensus EPS estimate for the year is $2.77.