Southern Company reports first quarter earnings

ATLANTA – Southern Company today reported first quarter 2014 earnings of $351 million, or 39 cents per share, compared with earnings of $81 million, or 9 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2013.

The first quarter results include a $235 million (27 cents per share) after-tax charge related to an increased construction estimate for Mississippi Power’s Kemper integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC) project. The first quarter results for 2013 included a $333 million (38 cents per share) after-tax charge for the Kemper IGCC project and a $16 million (2 cents per share) after-tax charge related to the restructuring of a leveraged lease investment. Excluding these items, Southern Company earned $586 million, or 66 cents per share, during the first quarter of 2014 compared to $430 million, or 49 cents per share, in the first quarter of 2013.

Earnings were positively influenced by colder-than-normal winter weather, residential and industrial sales growth and retail revenue effects at all four of Southern Company’s traditional operating companies.

“Winter storms contributed to the Southeast’s coldest January in 20 years, driving energy demand and demonstrating the resilience of our system and the commitment of our employees,” said Southern Company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas A. Fanning. “Our thanks go out to the many dedicated crews who restored power under the most challenging of circumstances.”

Severe weather contributed to natural gas price volatility during the first quarter of 2014. Fanning noted that Southern Company leveraged the diversity of its generating fleet throughout the quarter to deliver more than $100 million in fuel cost savings to customers.

First quarter 2014 operating revenues were $4.6 billion, compared with $3.9 billion for the same period in 2013, an increase of 19.2 percent.

Kilowatt-hour sales to retail customers in Southern Company’s four-state service area increased 7.1 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the first quarter of 2013. Residential energy sales increased 14.8 percent, commercial sales increased 3.7 percent and industrial sales increased 2.8 percent.

Fanning added, “We are encouraged by continued residential customer growth and 10 straight months of increased industrial usage.”

Total energy sales to Southern Company’s customers in the Southeast, including wholesale sales, increased 9.7 percent in the first quarter of 2014 compared with the same period in 2013.

Southern Company’s financial analyst call will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern time today, during which Fanning and Chief Financial Officer Art P. Beattie will discuss earnings and provide a general business update. Investors, media and the public may listen to a live webcast of the call and view associated slides at http://investor.southerncompany.com/events.cfm. A replay of the webcast only will be available at the site for 12 months.