AES Widens 4Q Profit on Improved Demand, but Misses Estimates

Power generator AES (NYSE:AES) revealed a 23% improvement in fourth-quarter profit, fueled primarily by higher volumes and rates at its businesses in Latin America and Asia, though its results fell short of Wall Street estimates on weaker commodity fuel prices.

The Arlington, Va.-based company posted operating earnings of 23 cents a share, compared with 21 cents a share in the same quarter last year but narrowly missing the Street’s view 25 cents.

“I am very pleased that we met our full year 2010 financial guidance across all metrics,” said Paul Hanrahan, AES chief executive. "Our businesses in Latin America experienced increased demand as a result of the continued regional economic recovery there, while the operational improvements we made in our generation business in the Philippines allowed us to satisfy higher demand.”

The improvement helped AES offset headwinds in its North America and Hungary plants due to higher fuel prices.

Revenue for the global power company $4.4 billion, up from $3.7 billion a year ago, ahead of average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $3.8 billion.

In 2011, AES anticipates earnings in the range of $1.08 to $1.14 a share, which would represent a year-over-year increase of roughly 15% to 21%, respectively.