For Q1 2014, PPL Corporation saw operating revenue shrink to just $1.2 billion, a far cry from Q1 2013's $2.46 billion and this quarter's expectations of $3.33 billion. But the drop came primarily from a $1.43 billion draw from its unregulated wholesale energy business, which suffered commodity contract losses from the "unusually cold weather." That same cold weather helped push real utility and energy sales significantly higher this quarter.
While PPL's top line plummeted, the utility managed to make more out of its bottom lined. Adjusted earnings per share (EPS) clocked in at $0.80. Analysts had expected Q1 2014 earnings of $0.71 per share, the same as last year's first quarter.
"Our 15% increase in earnings from ongoing operations was driven by strong operational performance at all of the business segments, along with the positive effect of weather across our domestic regulated utilities and competitive generation business," said William Spence, PPL chairman, president, and CEO. "All three regulated businesses outperformed 2013 results, as our capital investments in regulated infrastructure continue to provide benefits to customers and shareowners...In the U.K., we benefited from higher rates and bonus revenues that we earned through best-in-class performance."
Looking ahead, PPL is pushing up its 2014 guidance due to this quarter's outperformance. The company added a dime to its bottom- and top-line estimates, putting the new ranged at $2.15 to $2.30 per share.