Dominion Energy's (NYSE: D) financial results continue to meet its expectations, which keeps it on pace to hit its full-year guidance. In addition to that, the company maintained momentum on its various growth projects, most of which are on time and within its budget. Meanwhile, it took steps toward securing several new expansion projects that will extend its ability to grow earnings.
Dominion results: The raw numbers
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What happened with Dominion this quarter?
Dominion continues to meet its expectations:
- While Dominion's operating earnings declined versus the year-ago quarter, they were well within the company's $0.95 to $1.15 per share guidance range. One of the reasons earnings fell versus the year-ago period was that milder weather across its service territories cooled off electricity demand.
What management had to say
"We are pleased with our financial results for the quarter," said CEO Thomas Farrell. "In addition, we continue to make material progress on our growth projects and programs and we're on-track for the best safety record in the history of our company."
This year is a transitional one for Dominion because it's in the process of putting the finishing touches on its Cove Point natural gas export facility, which should fuel higher earnings next year. Farrell noted that the company has now completed construction and is beginning the commissioning phase. He anticipates that Cove Point will enter service by year-end.
Meanwhile, the company continues making progress on two other large projects. Its Greensville County gas-fired power plant in Virginia is about 60% complete and should begin commercial operations in late 2018. In addition, the company and its partners received an essential regulatory certificate in October for the Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Supply Header project, which brings them another step closer to starting construction on this large gas pipeline.
Dominion has also started lining up its next slate of growth projects. The company announced plans to build new solar generation in Virginia to support Facebook's (NASDAQ: FB) latest data center. Facebook plans to invest $1 billion in developing the state-of-the-art facility near Richmond, Virginia, which Dominion helped make possible by offering a new innovative renewable rate option that will allow the social media giant to meet its energy needs with affordable renewable power. Meanwhile, Dominion is in the early development stages of a pumped storage power generating facility -- which is a hydro-power facility that stores energy in the form of water -- as well as an offshore wind project.
Dominion anticipates that operating earnings in the fourth quarter will be in the range of $0.80 to $1 per share. Given that forecast, and the fact that quarterly results have been within expectations all year, Dominion remains on pace with its full-year guidance that operating earnings would be in the range of $3.40 to $3.90 per share.
Meanwhile, with its growth initiatives expected to start bearing fruit next year, Dominion announced in September that it plans on accelerating dividend growth. The company anticipates increasing its payout by 10% per year -- up from 8% -- starting in the fourth quarter of 2017 and continuing through 2020.
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