Duke Energy Corporation Beats on Top and Bottom Lines

Duke Energy  (NYSE: DUK  ) reported Q1 2014 earnings today, beating both top- and bottom-line estimates.

Duke Energy Corporation's first-quarter operating revenue clocked in at $6.62 billion, a solid $220 million above analyst estimates and significantly stronger than Q1 2013's $5.90 billion. On the bottom line, Duke managed to turn more sales into more earnings. The utility's adjusted earnings per share (EPS) clocked in at $1.17, $0.05 above estimates and a full $0.15 more than last year's first quarter.

While Duke Energy's financial figures look good for this quarter, President and CEO Lynn Good pointed out that Q1 was far from picture-perfect. "I am proud of the way our team responded to challenging events in the first quarter -- the severe winter weather and the Dan River coal ash release," said Lynn in today's press release. "For the third consecutive quarter, we experienced improved economic growth throughout our service territories," she added. "We remain on track with our strategic initiatives to maximize value from our commercial businesses and to develop investment opportunities that underpin our financial objectives."

Duke Energy decided this quarter to take a pretax impairment charge of $1.4 billion ($1.23 per share) to readjust the fair value of its Midwest Generation business. The charge is designed to keep Duke Energy's asset valuation in line with reality as it prepares to sell off this subsidiary.

The utility's adjusted earnings received a boost from its regulated utilities earnings, pushed higher by rate hikes and larger retail volumes. The company's International Energy business also benefited from strong prices and high spot volumes in Latin America.

Looking ahead, Duke Energy Corporation reaffirmed its 2014 guidance, saying it remains on track to pull in between $4.45 and $4.60 in adjusted EPS.


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