Duke Reports Tough Q2, Hopeful for 2013

Duke Reports Tough Q2, Hopeful for 2013

Duke Energy reported earnings this morning, beating on the top line but missing on the bottom line.

On the top line, Q2 2013 revenue clocked in at $5.88 billion, 64% above 2012's Q2 and $150 million above analysts' expectations. On the bottom line, the utility didn't fare so well. Duke registered adjusted EPS of $0.87, $0.15 below last year's second quarter and a sizable $0.07 below analysts' consensus prediction.

This quarter's results served to both reassure and worry investors. The Duke-Progress merger has generally gone according to plan, allowing the company to reaffirm its 2013 adjusted earnings guidance range of $4.20 to $4.45 per share. The company's regulated utilities were the stalwart subsidiaries, raking in $253 million in adjusted income due to higher volumes, bigger margins, and the addition of Progress' regulated assets.

But Duke's other divisions point to some trouble spots from this last quarter. Its generation subsidiaries knocked $35 million off due to lower gas and coal results, while Duke's international investments shaved off another $18 million. And even with debt dirt cheap, interest expense squeezed an additional $39 million from adjusted income numbers.

Looking ahead, Duke already announced many of its major plans late last week. With stable regulated earnings, the company is pushing ahead to whip its energy division into shape. The utility is taking a $382 million hit to retire a faulty Florida nuclear power station, and also scrapped plans for a new $25 billion reactor (for now, at least). The company is considering retiring more coal to cut environmental compliance costs, and will be looking increasingly toward natural gas to power its profits.

Duke CEO Lynn Good said in an interview today that she expects the company's results to improve in the second half of the year as higher rates in several of the states Duke services come into effect. Duke, based in Charlotte, N.C., serves 7.2 million customers in North Carolina, South Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio, and Kentucky.

Demand for electricity rises and falls with economic activity, and can offer clues to the pace of economic growth. Good said demand is on pace to grow 0.4% this year, compared with the company's original forecast for growth of 0.5%.

-- Material from The Associated Press was used in this report.


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