AES Misses on Top Line, Beats on Bottom Line, Increases Dividend 25%

The AES Corporation (NYSE: AES  ) reported Q3 earnings today, missing on the top line, but beating on the bottom.

The utility's third-quarter revenue clocked in at just over $4 billion, $350 million shy of last year's Q3 and a full 20% below analyst expectations. But AES Corporation seems to have made more from less, with adjusted EPS of $0.39. That's eons ahead of Q3 2012's $0.04 adjusted EPS, and a full nickel above analyst expectations.

According to the report, the quarter's earnings increase came from a lower effective tax rate, operational improvements, as well as debt repayments and share buybacks. However, the company's international investments were a mixed bag. While the U.S. and Andes (Chile, Colombia, and Argentina) are flying higher in 2013, its other worldwide assets have felt a pre-tax contribution crunch.

"We are pleased with our results for the quarter which, despite the severe drought in much of Latin America, put us on track to meet our full year guidance," said President and CEO Andrés Gluski in a statement today. Citing strong cash flow, Gluski announced a 25% increase in distributions to $0.05 per share per quarter, starting in Q1 2013 .

AES has been in downsize and simplification mode as it attempts to whittle down its overstretched assets. The company divested three subsidiaries for a total $236 million and is partnering up on two major projects totaling $500 million, which should bring some stability from their larger scale.

Looking ahead, the company reaffirmed its 2013 guidance. CFO Tom O'Flynn noted that AES expects to be at the high end of its target range for Parent Free Cash Flow, a welcome accompaniment to any dividend increase.

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