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Duke Energy Holds 2021 Outlook Steady After Mixed First-Quarter Earnings, Sales

05/10/2021 05:53

09:37 AM EDT, 05/10/2021 (MT Newswires) -- Duke Energy (DUK) maintained its outlook for 2021 earnings after reporting first-quarter results that were higher than a year before, but mixed against Wall Street's expectations.

The Charlotte, North Carolina-based utility company said adjusted earnings rose to $1.26 a share from $1.14 a share previously, better than the consensus on Capital IQ for $1.21 a share. Operating revenue increased to $6.15 billion compared with $5.95 billion previously, while the Street was looking for $6.21 billion.

"We are positioned to deliver sustainable long-term value as we accelerate our clean energy transformation by investing in renewables, battery storage and in our delivery system," said Lynn Good, Duke's chief executive.

Retail electricity volumes were down 1.1% in the quarter, the company said in a presentation, as a drop in commercial volumes amid COVID-19 effects on businesses were partly offset by a rise in residential as people continued to work and learn from home.

Regulated electric revenue rose to $5.22 billion from $5.12 billion previously, while regulated natural gas revenue was $749 million, up from $638 million a year before.

Higher base rates, timing of operations and maintenance expenses and bad weather a year earlier helped lift income in electric utilities and infrastructure to $820 million from $705 million in the 2020 period.

Gas income dipped to $245 million from $249 million previously as Duke saw more exit obligations from the Atlantic Coast Pipeline project that was scrapped last year amid mounting costs. On an adjusted basis, income was $250 million in the most recent quarter.

Good said the company was affirming 2021 adjusted earnings of $5 to $5.30 a share, a range that straddles the current Capital IQ view for $5.17 a share. The long-term growth rate in adjusted EPS is seen between 5% and 7% off the 2021 midpoint, the CEO said.

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