The Southern Company Q4 Earnings Beat on Top and Bottom Lines

Southern Company (NYSE: SO  ) reported Q4 2013 earnings today, beating on both top and bottom line estimates.

The utility's fourth quarter operating revenue clocked in at $3.93 billion, 6% above Q4 2012 levels and slightly higher than analysts' $3.87 billion estimate.

On the bottom line, Southern Company managed to translate its better-than-expected sales to better-than-expected profit. Q4 2013 adjusted earnings per share (EPS) came in at $0.47, three cents above last year's fourth quarter and a penny above analyst predictions.

For fiscal 2013 overall, Southern snagged $17.09 billion in sales and EPS of $1.88.

"Southern Company remained focused on the fundamentals in 2013, delivering excellent reliability -- including record transmission and distribution reliability -- the best customer satisfaction among peer utilities and our safest year ever," said Southern Company Chairman, President, and CEO Thomas Fanning in a statement today. "We continued to raise the bar while experiencing one of the mildest summers in the past 20 years, the highest rainfall in nearly 100 years and slower-than-expected economic growth, especially during the first half of the year."

According to the utility, economic growth and closer-to-normal weather helped push Q4 earnings above Q4 2012's numbers. But 2013 earnings still fell short of 2012's $2.70 EPS due to milder weather, despite an uptick in sales from new generation capacity.

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