Duke Energy Tops 1Q Estimates Despite Challenges

Despite weak commercial power sales, Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) revealed on Tuesday a stronger-than-expected 15% improvement in first-quarter profit and said it will likely book a fiscal performance that tops Wall Street estimates.

The Plainfield, Indiana-based electricity retailer posted net income of $513 million, or 38 cents a share, compared with $445 million, or 34 cents a share, in the same quarter last year, beating the Street’s view of 35 cents.

Revenue for the three-months was $3.66 billion, up from $3.6 billion a year ago, trumping average analyst estimates polled by Thomson Reuters of $3.57 billion.

The company said regulated commercial power, which booked a slightly weaker profit, as well as less favorable weather and higher operational and maintenance costs weighed on its performance, partially offset by gains in its international group, which were impacted by a favorable arbitration award in Peru and higher average contract prices in Brazil.

While Duke’s franchised electric and gas unit narrowed its profit on higher costs, the results were partially offset by stronger revenues related to the modernization of its facilities in the Carolinas and Indiana.

“We built a solid foundation in the first quarter for another successful year,” Duke CEO James Rogers said in a statement.

Despite the quarter’s challenges, Duke landed ahead of Wall Street estimates and said it remains on track to achieve its fiscal outlook in the range of $1.35 to $1.40 a share. Analysts are only expecting a profit of $1.35 a share.