So, the Wheels Came Off UIL Holdings's Bus

UIL Holdings (NYSE: UIL  ) reported earnings on Feb. 21. Here are the numbers you need to know.

The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), UIL Holdings missed estimates on revenues and whiffed on earnings per share.

Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue expanded. GAAP earnings per share grew significantly.

Gross margins dropped, operating margins grew, net margins expanded.

Revenue details
UIL Holdings booked revenue of $420.8 million. The three analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ expected to see net sales of $442.7 million on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 13% higher than the prior-year quarter's $373.9 million.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

EPS details
EPS came in at $0.56. The four earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.63 per share. GAAP EPS of $0.56 for Q4 were 37% higher than the prior-year quarter's $0.41 per share.

Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.

Margin details
For the quarter, gross margin was 34.2%, 60 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 16.0%, 390 basis points better than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 6.9%, 120 basis points better than the prior-year quarter.

Looking ahead
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $635.7 million. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $1.05.

Next year's average estimate for revenue is $1.58 billion. The average EPS estimate is $2.29.

Investor sentiment
The stock has a five-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 72 members out of 75 rating the stock outperform, and three members rating it underperform. Among 27 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 26 give UIL Holdings a green thumbs-up, and one give it a red thumbs-down.

Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on UIL Holdings is outperform, with an average price target of $36.86.

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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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  • Report this Comment On February 22, 2013, at 1:43 PM, kurtdabear wrote:

    If estimates are consistently wrong, is that a problem with the company or with the estimator? UIL has had consistently rising quarterly results as they emerge from a year that was one of the warmest on record in their service area, they're proceeding smoothely with integrating their recent gas acquisitions, they're ahead of plan on adding gas-heat conversions in their service areas, and they're increasing their stake in electric transmission investments, which are generally a high return area for utilties. What's not to like? (Long UIL)

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