Southern Company reports first-quarter 2018 earnings

ATLANTA, May 2, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company today reported first-quarter 2018 earnings of $938 million, or 93 cents per share, compared with earnings of $658 million, or 66 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2017. 

Southern Company

Excluding the items described in the "Net Income – Excluding Items" table below, Southern Company earned $893 million, or 88 cents per share, during the first quarter of 2018, compared with $652 million, or 66 cents per share, during the first quarter of 2017.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures




Three Months Ended March

Net Income - Excluding Items (in millions)




2018

2017

Net Income - As Reported




$938

$658

Estimated Loss on Kemper IGCC




44

108

  Tax Impact




(11)

(41)

Loss on Plant Scherer Unit 3




-

33

  Tax Impact




-

(13)

Acquisition, Integration, and Disposition Costs




62

4

       Tax Impact




(5)

(1)

Wholesale Gas Services




(139)

(114)

  Tax Impact




35

46







Earnings Guidance Comparability Items:






Equity Return Related to Kemper IGCC

    Schedule Extension




-

(23)

       Tax Impact




-

(5)

Adoption of Tax Reform




(31)

-

Net Income – Excluding Items




$893

$652

Average Shares Outstanding – (in millions)                                        




1,011

993

Basic Earnings Per Share – Excluding Items




$0.88

$0.66







NOTE: For more information regarding these non-GAAP adjustments, see the footnotes accompanying the Financial Highlights page of the earnings package.

Earnings drivers year-over-year for the first quarter of 2018 were positively influenced by revenue effects primarily driven by weather at our state-regulated electric utilities and by infrastructure investments at Southern Company Gas, as well as the optimization of Southern Power's state tax positions. These impacts were partially offset by increased depreciation and amortization.

"Each of our major business units had a tremendous start to the year," said Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning. "Our premier, state-regulated electric and gas utilities, as well as our other businesses, have performed exceptionally well and are on track to deliver on their targets for 2018."

First quarter 2018 operating revenues were $6.37 billion, compared with $5.77 billion for the first quarter of 2017, an increase of 10.4 percent.

Southern Company's first quarter earnings slides with supplemental financial information are available at http://investor.southerncompany.com.

Southern Company's financial analyst call will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern Time today, during which Fanning and Chief Financial Officer Art P. Beattie will discuss earnings and provide a general business update. Investors, media and the public may listen to a live webcast of the call and view associated slides at http://investor.southerncompany.com/webcasts. A replay of the webcast will be available on the site for 12 months.

About Southern Company

Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is America's premier energy company, with 46,000 megawatts of generating capacity and 1,500 billion cubic feet of combined natural gas consumption and throughput volume serving 9 million customers through its subsidiaries. The company provides clean, safe, reliable and affordable energy through electric operating companies in four states, natural gas distribution companies in seven states, a competitive generation company serving wholesale customers across America and a nationally recognized provider of customized energy solutions, as well as fiber optics and wireless communications. Southern Company brands are known for excellent customer service, high reliability and affordable prices that are below the national average. Through an industry-leading commitment to innovation, Southern Company and its subsidiaries are creating new products and services for the benefit of customers. We are building the future of energy by developing the full portfolio of energy resources, including carbon-free nuclear, advanced carbon capture technologies, natural gas, renewables, energy efficiency and storage technology. Southern Company has been named by the U.S. Department of Defense and G.I. Jobs magazine as a top military employer, recognized among the Top 50 Companies for Diversity and the number one Company for Progress by DiversityInc, and designated as one of America's Best Employers by Forbes magazine. Visit our website at www.southerncompany.com.

Cautionary Note Regarding Forward-Looking Statements:
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning performance targets. Southern Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such suggested results will be realized. The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, and subsequent securities filings, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory changes, including environmental laws and regulations governing air, water, land, and protection of other natural resources, and also changes in tax and other laws and regulations to which Southern Company and its subsidiaries are subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; the uncertainty surrounding the federal tax reform legislation, including implementing regulations and Internal Revenue Service interpretations, actions that may be taken in response by regulatory authorities, and its impact, if any, on the credit ratings of Southern Company and its subsidiaries; current and future litigation or regulatory investigations, proceedings, or inquiries; the effects, extent, and timing of the entry of additional competition in the markets in which Southern Company's subsidiaries operate; variations in demand for electricity and natural gas, including those relating to weather, the general economy, population and business growth (and declines), the effects of energy conservation and efficiency measures, including from the development and deployment of alternative energy sources such as self-generation and distributed generation technologies, and any potential economic impacts resulting from federal fiscal decisions; available sources and costs of natural gas and other fuels; limits on pipeline capacity; transmission constraints; effects of inflation; the ability to control costs and avoid cost overruns during the development, construction, and operation of facilities, which include the development and construction of generating facilities with designs that have not been previously constructed, including changes in labor costs and productivity, adverse weather conditions, shortages, increased costs or inconsistent quality of equipment, materials, and labor, including any changes related to imposition of import tariffs, contractor or supplier delay, non-performance under construction, operating, or other agreements, operational readiness, including specialized operator training and required site safety programs, unforeseen engineering or design problems, start-up activities (including major equipment failure and system integration), and/or operational performance; the ability to construct facilities in accordance with the requirements of permits and licenses (including satisfaction of U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission ("NRC") requirements), to satisfy any environmental performance standards and the requirements of tax credits and other incentives, and to integrate facilities into the Southern Company system upon completion of construction; investment performance of the Southern Company system's employee and retiree benefit plans and nuclear decommissioning trust funds; advances in technology; ongoing renewable energy partnerships and development agreements; state and federal rate regulations and the impact of pending and future rate cases and negotiations, including rate actions relating to fuel and other cost recovery mechanisms; the ability to successfully operate the electric utilities' generating, transmission, and distribution facilities and Southern Company Gas' natural gas distribution and storage facilities and the successful performance of necessary corporate functions; legal proceedings and regulatory approvals and actions related to Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, including Georgia Public Service Commission approvals and NRC actions; if certain adverse events were to occur, a decision by more than 10% of the owners of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4 not to proceed with construction upon the occurrence of certain adverse events; litigation related to the Kemper County energy facility; the inherent risks involved in operating and constructing nuclear generating facilities, including environmental, health, regulatory, natural disaster, terrorism, and financial risks; the inherent risks involved in transporting and storing natural gas; the performance of projects undertaken by the non-utility businesses and the success of efforts to invest in and develop new opportunities; internal restructuring or other restructuring options that may be pursued; potential business strategies, including acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, including the proposed disposition by a wholly-owned subsidiary of Southern Company Gas of Elizabethtown Gas and Elkton Gas, the proposed disposition by Southern Company Gas of Pivotal Home Solutions, and the potential sale of a 33% equity interest in substantially all of Southern Power's solar assets, which cannot be assured to be completed or beneficial to Southern Company or its subsidiaries; the possibility that the anticipated benefits from the acquisition of Southern Company Gas cannot be fully realized or may take longer to realize than expected and the possibility that costs related to the integration of Southern Company and Southern Company Gas will be greater than expected; the ability of counterparties of Southern Company and its subsidiaries to make payments as and when due and to perform as required; the ability to obtain new short- and long-term contracts with wholesale customers; the direct or indirect effect on the Southern Company system's business resulting from cyber intrusion or physical attack and the threat of physical attacks; interest rate fluctuations and financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts; changes in Southern Company's and any of its subsidiaries' credit ratings, including impacts on interest rates, access to capital markets, and collateral requirements; the impacts of any sovereign financial issues, including impacts on interest rates, access to capital markets, impacts on foreign currency exchange rates, counterparty performance, and the economy in general, as well as potential impacts on the benefits of the U.S. Department of Energy loan guarantees; the ability of Southern Company's electric utilities to obtain additional generating capacity (or sell excess generating capacity) at competitive prices; catastrophic events such as fires, earthquakes, explosions, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes and other storms, droughts, pandemic health events such as influenzas, or other similar occurrences; the direct or indirect effects on the Southern Company system's business resulting from incidents affecting the U.S. electric grid, natural gas pipeline infrastructure, or operation of generating or storage resources; impairments of goodwill or long-lived assets; and the effect of accounting pronouncements issued periodically by standard-setting bodies. Southern Company expressly disclaims any obligation to update any forward‐looking information.

 

 

Southern Company

Financial Highlights

(In Millions of Dollars Except Earnings Per Share)








Three Months Ended
March

Net Income–As Reported (See Notes)


2018


2017






  Traditional Electric Operating Companies


$

612



$

432


  Southern Power


121



70


 Southern Company Gas


279



239


  Total


1,012



741


  Parent Company and Other


(74)



(83)


  Net Income–As Reported


$

938



$

658







  Basic Earnings Per Share1


$

0.93



$

0.66







  Average Shares Outstanding (in millions)


1,011



993


  End of Period Shares Outstanding (in millions)


1,012



995







Non-GAAP Financial Measures


Three Months Ended
March

Net Income–Excluding Items (See Notes)


2018


2017






 Net Income–As Reported


$

938



$

658


Estimated Loss on Kemper IGCC2


44



108


Tax Impact


(11)



(41)


Loss on Plant Scherer Unit 33




33


Tax Impact




(13)


Acquisition, Integration, and Disposition Costs4


62



4


Tax Impact


(5)



(1)


Wholesale Gas Services5


(139)



(114)


Tax Impact


35



46


Earnings Guidance Comparability Items:





Equity Return Related to Kemper IGCC Schedule Extension6




(23)


Tax Impact




(5)


 Adoption of Tax Reform7


(31)




  Net Income–Excluding Items


$

893



$

652







  Basic Earnings Per Share–Excluding Items


$

0.88



$

0.66







-See Notes on the following page.

 


Southern Company

Financial Highlights










Notes










(1) For the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017, dilution does not change basic earnings per share by more than 1 cent and is not material.


(2) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 include charges related to Mississippi Power Company's integrated coal gasification combined cycle facility project in Kemper County, Mississippi (Kemper IGCC) that significantly impacted the presentation of earnings and earnings per share. Additional pre-tax cancellation costs of up to $50 million are expected to occur during the remainder of 2018 and 2019.










(3) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2017 include a $32.5 million write-down ($20 million after tax) of Gulf Power Company's ownership of Plant Scherer Unit 3 as a result of its 2017 retail rate case settlement. Further charges are not expected to occur.










(4) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 include costs related to the acquisition and integration of Southern Company Gas and earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 include costs related to the pending dispositions of Elizabethtown Gas, Elkton Gas, and Pivotal Home Solutions. The costs associated with the Pivotal Home Solutions transaction include a goodwill impairment charge of $42 million. Further costs are expected to continue to occur in connection with integration activities and closing the dispositions; however, the amount and duration of such expenditures is uncertain.










(5) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 include the Wholesale Gas Services business of Southern Company Gas. Presenting earnings and earnings per share excluding Wholesale Gas Services provides investors with an additional measure of operating performance that excludes the volatility resulting from mark-to-market and lower of weighted average cost or current market price accounting adjustments.










(6) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2017 include allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC) equity as a result of extending the Kemper IGCC construction schedule beyond November 30, 2016, as assumed when Southern Company issued its 2017 guidance. As a result, Southern Company believes presentation of earnings per share excluding these amounts provides investors with information comparable to guidance. Management also used such measures to evaluate Southern Company's 2017 performance. AFUDC equity ceased in connection with the project's suspension in June 2017.










(7) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 include additional net tax benefits as a result of implementing federal tax reform legislation, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017. During the current period, Southern Company obtained and analyzed additional information that was not initially available or reported as provisional amounts at December 31, 2017. Additional adjustments are expected until Southern Company's 2017 federal income tax return is complete and provisional estimates are actualized during the measurement period ending December 31, 2018. Southern Company believes presentation of earnings per share excluding these amounts provides investors with information comparable to guidance. Management also uses such measures to evaluate Southern Company's performance.










 


Southern Company

Significant Factors Impacting EPS










Three Months Ended
March



2018


2017


Change

Earnings Per Share–







As Reported1 (See Notes)


$

0.93



$

0.66



$

0.27









 Significant Factors:







 Traditional Electric Operating Companies






$

0.18


Southern Power






0.05


Southern Company Gas






0.04


Parent Company and Other






0.01


Increase in Shares






(0.01)


 Total–As Reported






$

0.27











Three Months Ended
March

Non-GAAP Financial Measures


2018


2017


Change

Earnings Per Share–







Excluding Items (See Notes)


$

0.88



$

0.66



$

0.22









 Total–As Reported






$

0.27


Kemper IGCC Impacts2






(0.02)


Loss on Plant Scherer Unit 33






(0.02)


Acquisition, Integration, and Disposition Costs4






0.05


Wholesale Gas Services5






(0.03)


Adoption of Tax Reform6






(0.03)


 Total–Excluding Items






$

0.22









- See Notes on the following page.

 


Southern Company

Significant Factors Impacting EPS














Notes














(1) For the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017, dilution does not change basic earnings per share by more than 1 cent and is not material.


(2) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 include charges related to Mississippi Power Company's integrated coal gasification combined cycle facility project in Kemper County, Mississippi (Kemper IGCC) that significantly impacted the presentation of earnings and earnings per share. Additional pre-tax cancellation costs of up to $50 million are expected to occur during the remainder of 2018 and 2019.

       
Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2017 include allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC) equity as a result of extending the Kemper IGCC construction schedule beyond November 30, 2016, as assumed when Southern Company issued its 2017 guidance. As a result, Southern Company believes presentation of earnings per share excluding these amounts provides investors with information comparable to guidance. Management also used such measures to evaluate Southern Company's 2017 performance. AFUDC equity ceased in connection with the project's suspension in June 2017.














(3) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2017 include a $32.5 million write-down ($20 million after tax) of Gulf Power Company's ownership of Plant Scherer Unit 3 as a result of its 2017 retail rate case settlement. Further charges are not expected to occur.














(4) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 include costs related to the acquisition and integration of Southern Company Gas and earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 include costs related to the pending dispositions of Elizabethtown Gas, Elkton Gas, and Pivotal Home Solutions. The costs associated with the Pivotal Home Solutions transaction include a goodwill impairment charge of $42 million. Further costs are expected to continue to occur in connection with integration activities and closing the dispositions; however, the amount and duration of such expenditures is uncertain.


(5) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 include the Wholesale Gas Services business of Southern Company Gas. Presenting earnings and earnings per share excluding Wholesale Gas Services provides investors with an additional measure of operating performance that excludes the volatility resulting from mark-to-market and lower of weighted average cost or current market price accounting adjustments.














(6) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 include additional net tax benefits as a result of implementing federal tax reform legislation, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017. During the current period, Southern Company obtained and analyzed additional information that was not initially available or reported as provisional amounts at December 31, 2017. Additional adjustments are expected until Southern Company's 2017 federal income tax return is complete and provisional estimates are actualized during the measurement period ending December 31, 2018. Southern Company believes presentation of earnings per share excluding these amounts provides investors with information comparable to guidance. Management also uses such measures to evaluate Southern Company's performance.

 

 



Southern Company

EPS Earnings Analysis

Three Months Ended March 2018 vs. March 2017



Cents

Description



Retail Sales



Retail Revenue Impacts, Excluding Tax Reform Changes



Weather



(1)¢

Non-Fuel O&M



(3)¢

Depreciation and Amortization



(1)¢

Taxes Other Than Income Taxes



Dividends on Preferred and Preference Stock



Impacts of Tax Reform (Ongoing Basis), Net of Amounts to be Returned to Customers



Income Taxes, Excluding Tax Reform



12¢

Total Traditional Electric Operating Companies



Southern Power



Southern Company Gas



(1)¢

Increase in Shares



22¢

Total Change in EPS (Excluding Items)



Kemper IGCC Impacts1



Loss on Plant Scherer Unit 32



(5)¢

Acquisition, Integration, and Disposition Costs3



Wholesale Gas Services4



Adoption of Tax Reform5



27¢

Total Change in EPS (As Reported)



- See Notes on the following page.

 


Southern Company

EPS Earnings Analysis

Three Months Ended March 2018 vs. March 2017

Notes


(1) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 include charges related to Mississippi Power Company's integrated coal gasification combined cycle facility project in Kemper County, Mississippi (Kemper IGCC) that significantly impacted the presentation of earnings and earnings per share. Additional pre-tax cancellation costs of up to $50 million are expected to occur during the remainder of 2018 and 2019.


Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2017 include allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC) equity as a result of extending the Kemper IGCC construction schedule beyond November 30, 2016, as assumed when Southern Company issued its 2017 guidance. As a result, Southern Company believes presentation of earnings per share excluding these amounts provides investors with information comparable to guidance. Management also used such measures to evaluate Southern Company's 2017 performance. AFUDC equity ceased in connection with the project's suspension in June 2017.


(2) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2017 include a $32.5 million write-down ($20 million after tax) of Gulf Power Company's ownership of Plant Scherer Unit 3 as a result of its 2017 retail rate case settlement. Further charges are not expected to occur.


(3) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 include costs related to the acquisition and integration of Southern Company Gas and earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 include costs related to the pending dispositions of Elizabethtown Gas, Elkton Gas, and Pivotal Home Solutions. The costs associated with the Pivotal Home Solutions transaction include a goodwill impairment charge of $42 million. Further costs are expected to continue to occur in connection with integration activities and closing the dispositions; however, the amount and duration of such expenditures is uncertain.



(4) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 and 2017 include the Wholesale Gas Services business of Southern Company Gas. Presenting earnings and earnings per share excluding Wholesale Gas Services provides investors with an additional measure of operating performance that excludes the volatility resulting from mark-to-market and lower of weighted average cost or current market price accounting adjustments.



(5) Earnings for the three months ended March 31, 2018 include additional net tax benefits as a result of implementing federal tax reform legislation, which was signed into law on December 22, 2017. During the current period, Southern Company obtained and analyzed additional information that was not initially available or reported as provisional amounts at December 31, 2017. Additional adjustments are expected until Southern Company's 2017 federal income tax return is complete and provisional estimates are actualized during the measurement period ending December 31, 2018. Southern Company believes presentation of earnings per share excluding these amounts provides investors with information comparable to guidance. Management also uses such measures to evaluate Southern Company's performance.

 

 

Southern Company

Consolidated Earnings

As Reported

(In Millions of Dollars)










Three Months Ended

March



2018


2017


Change

Income Account-







Retail Electric Revenues-







Fuel


$

1,027



$

928



$

99


Non-Fuel


2,541



2,466



75


Wholesale Electric Revenues


619



531



88


Other Electric Revenues


165



175



(10)


Natural Gas Revenues


1,607



1,530



77


Other Revenues


413



141



272


Total Revenues


6,372



5,771



601


Fuel and Purchased Power


1,368



1,175



193


Cost of Natural Gas


720



719



1


Cost of Other Sales


289



88



201


Non-Fuel O & M


1,451



1,383



68


Depreciation and Amortization


769



716



53


Taxes Other Than Income Taxes


355



330



25


Estimated Loss on Kemper IGCC


44



108



(64)


Total Operating Expenses


4,996



4,519



477


Operating Income


1,376



1,252



124


Allowance for Equity Funds Used During Construction


30



57



(27)


Earnings from Equity Method Investments


41



39



2


Interest Expense, Net of Amounts Capitalized


458



416



42


Other Income (Expense), net


60



48



12


Income Taxes


113



315



(202)


Net Income


936



665



271


Less:







Dividends on Preferred and Preference Stock of Subsidiaries


4



11



(7)


Net Income Attributable to Noncontrolling Interests


(6)



(4)



(2)


NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO SOUTHERN COMPANY


$

938



$

658



$

280









Notes














- Certain prior year data may have been reclassified to conform with current year presentation.

 

Southern Company

Kilowatt-Hour Sales and Customers

(In Millions of KWHs)












Three Months Ended March

As Reported


2018


2017


Change


Weather
Adjusted
Change

Kilowatt-Hour Sales-









Total Sales


50,844



46,198



10.1

%












Total Retail Sales-


38,390



35,504



8.1

%


1.6

%

Residential


12,967



10,916



18.8

%


1.1

%

Commercial


12,287



11,768



4.4

%


1.2

%

Industrial


12,931



12,606



2.6

%


2.6

%

Other


205



214



(4.3)

%


(4.7)

%










Total Wholesale Sales


12,454



10,694



16.5

%


N/A




























(In Thousands of Customers)












Period Ended March





2018


2017


Change



Regulated Utility Customers-









Total Utility Customers-


9,306



9,226



0.9

%



Total Traditional Electric


4,652



4,608



1.0

%



Southern Company Gas


4,654



4,618



0.8

%












 

Southern Company

Financial Overview

As Reported

(In Millions of Dollars)










Three Months Ended

March



2018


2017


% Change

Southern Company –







Operating Revenues


$

6,372



$

5,771



10.4

%

Earnings Before Income Taxes


1,049



980



7.0

%

Net Income Available to Common


938



658



42.6

%








Alabama Power –







Operating Revenues


$

1,473



$

1,382



6.6

%

Earnings Before Income Taxes


311



304



2.3

%

Net Income Available to Common


225



174



29.3

%








Georgia Power –







Operating Revenues


$

1,961



$

1,832



7.0

%

Earnings Before Income Taxes


445



420



6.0

%

Net Income Available to Common


352



260



35.4

%








Gulf Power –







Operating Revenues


$

348



$

350



(0.6)

%

Earnings Before Income Taxes


55



34



61.8

%

Net Income Available to Common


42



18



133.3

%








Mississippi Power –







Operating Revenues


$

302



$

272



11.0

%

Earnings (Loss) Before Income Taxes


(11)



(47)



N/M

Net Income (Loss) Available to Common


(7)



(20)



N/M








Southern Power –







Operating Revenues


$

509



$

450



13.1

%

Earnings Before Income Taxes


16



14



14.3

%

Net Income Available to Common


121



70



72.9

%








Southern Company Gas –







Operating Revenues


$

1,639



$

1,560



5.1

%

Earnings Before Income Taxes


383



389



(1.5)

%

Net Income Available to Common


279



239



16.7

%








N/M - not meaningful














Notes














- See Financial Highlights pages for discussion of certain significant items occurring during the periods presented.

 

 

SOURCE Southern Company

For further information: Media Contact: Southern Company Media Relations, 404-506-5333 or 1-866-506-5333, Investor Relations Contact: Aaron Abramovitz, 404-506-0780, apabramo@southernco.com

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