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FirstEnergy Q1 GAAP earnings $222 million

Staff writer |
FirstEnergy Corp. reported first quarter 2015 operating (non-GAAP) earnings of $0.62 per basic share of common stock, excluding the impact of the special items.

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GAAP earnings in the quarter were $222 million, or $0.53 per basic and diluted share of common stock, on revenue of $3.9 billion.

In the first quarter of 2014, operating (non-GAAP) earnings were $0.39 per basic share of common stock, while GAAP earnings were $208 million, or $0.50 per basic share of common stock ($0.49 diluted), on revenue of $4.2 billion.

FirstEnergy also reaffirmed full-year 2015 operating (non-GAAP) earnings guidance of $2.40 to $2.70 per basic share, and provided a second quarter 2015 guidance range of $0.42 to $0.50 per basic share.

First quarter 2015 operating earnings in the Regulated Distribution business decreased slightly compared to the same period in 2014, as increased benefit costs and depreciation expenses offset higher distribution revenues.

Total distribution deliveries increased less than 1 percent compared to the first quarter of 2014, reflecting colder weather and growth in customer base, offset by the impact of lower average residential customer use associated with energy efficiency. Residential sales were flat compared to the first quarter of 2014, while commercial and industrial deliveries each increased by less than 1 percent.

In the Regulated Transmission business, first quarter 2015 operating earnings increased as a result of higher transmission revenues related to the company's Energizing the Future transmission investment program, including rate base recovery associated with the new forward-looking rate structure at the company's American Transmission Systems, Incorporated, subsidiary, which began in January.

Revenue growth was partially offset by higher depreciation, tax and interest expense.

Stronger operating earnings in the company's Competitive Energy Services segment compared to the first quarter of 2014 were driven by higher commodity margin. In the second quarter of 2014, the company began to implement a more conservative strategy in this business, which includes reducing exposure to weather-sensitive load and more effectively hedging its generation.

First quarter 2015 commodity margin reflects the benefits of this repositioning, as well as improved plant availability and higher capacity revenues. Operating results also benefited from lower general taxes, partially offset by higher depreciation costs.

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