TECO Energy Beats Q4 Estimates, but 2014 Guidance Fails to Impress

TECO Energy  (NYSE: TE  ) reported Q4 earnings today, squeaking ahead of earnings expectations.

The utility's adjusted earnings per share (EPS) clocked in at $0.20, beating analyst predictions by a penny. For fiscal 2013, earnings came in at $0.92 per share, down from $0.99 in 2012. 

"I am very proud of our team's work to exceed expectations this past year," said TECO Energy President and CEO John Ramil in a statement today. "This quarter Tampa Electric realized the initial benefits of its September rate case settlement. The agreement provides strong visibility to our utility earnings through 2017, when we expect to have the Polk conversion project in service, and it provides the opportunity for our utilities to earn their allowed returns over the period. Our Florida utilities are experiencing good customer growth as the state and local economies continue to strengthen. At the same time, we are making progress on the regulatory approval required for our acquisition of New Mexico Gas, and we look forward to welcoming them to the TECO Energy family." 

For the fourth quarter, TECO Energy's regulated Tampa Electric business saw a $10 million boost in sales due to a rate case settlement, but $6 million knocked off from depreciation. Tampa Electric enjoyed 1.5% customer growth in Q4, while regulated natural gas subsidiary Peoples Gas increased its customer base by 1.2%. 

But despite solid regulated earnings, TECO's future guidance failed to impress analysts. TECO Energy expects consolidated EPS between $0.95 and $1.05 for fiscal 2014, putting predicted profit at least $0.03 below estimates of $1.08. 

While TECO expects to reap revenue from its recent New Mexico Gas Company acquisition, it continues to deal with its TECO Coal business, which it hopes will break even on earnings and have positive cash flow in the coming year. 

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