PDF Versions of This Release and Supporting Documents
Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE) today announced third quarter 2006 net income of $293 million, or $1.42 per basic and diluted share, compared to net income of $280 million, or $1.37 per basic and diluted share, in the third quarter of 2005. Net income for the first nine months of 2006 was $486 million, or $2.37 per share, compared to $586 million, or $2.94 per share, in the first nine months of 2005. Net income in 2006 reflects costs and lost electric margins resulting from severe 2006 storms totaling approximately $31 million, or 10 cents per share, for the third quarter and approximately $40 million, or 13 cents per share, for the first nine months of 2006. The July 2006 storms resulted in the loss of power to approximately 950,000 of Ameren's electric customers.
"The most damaging storms in the company's history, costs associated with the Taum Sauk incident and milder summer weather provided significant earnings challenges in the third quarter of 2006," said Gary L. Rainwater, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ameren Corporation. "Nonetheless, electric margins still rose during the quarter due to solid organic growth, industrial customers switching back to the Illinois utilities, improved plant operations, higher interchange margins and lower costs associated with the Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO) Day Two energy market. These factors, coupled with other cost control initiatives, more than offset the impact of these earnings challenges and contributed to solid third quarter financial results."
Revenues in the third quarter of 2006 of $1.9 billion were up slightly compared to the prior-year period. Cooling degree days in the third quarter of 2006 in Ameren's service territory were 13 percent above normal, but 10 percent below the prior-year period, according to the National Weather Service. As a result, weather-sensitive residential electric sales in the third quarter of 2006 were 7 percent below the same period in 2005. Combined commercial and industrial electric sales in the third quarter of 2006 were flat compared to the prior- year period. The lower electric sales resulting from the milder weather are estimated to have reduced third quarter 2006 earnings by 3 cents per share compared to the prior-year period.
During the third quarter of 2006, total electric sales and related margins improved due to solid organic growth, as well as due to several large industrial customers switching back to Illinois tariff rates because of the expiration of power contracts with suppliers. In addition, interchange revenues and related margins rose during the quarter from 80-percent-owned Electric Energy, Inc. because of the expiration of cost-based power supply contracts at the end of 2005, increased generating plant capacity factors and reduced native load electric sales resulting from the milder summer weather. Lower energy prices in the third quarter of 2006 offset, in part, these positive factors, as on-peak market prices for power declined approximately 40 percent. Energy prices were higher in 2005 as a result of the significant impact of hurricanes and rail disruptions.
Fuel and purchased power costs decreased $11 million in the third quarter of 2006 from the same period in 2005. This was due to improved power plant operations, lower costs of operating in the MISO Day Two energy market and reduced emission allowance costs in the company's non-rate-regulated generation businesses. These factors more than offset higher coal and related transportation costs in the third quarter of 2006, as compared to the same period in 2005.
In the third quarter of 2005, a scheduled refueling and maintenance outage began at AmerenUE's Callaway nuclear plant. The lack of a similar outage in the current-year quarter also led to lower fuel and purchased power costs and decreased other operations and maintenance expenses.
Costs associated with the December 2005 breach of the upper reservoir at AmerenUE's Taum Sauk pumped-storage hydroelectric facility, including a third quarter 2006 settlement with the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, reduced third quarter 2006 net income by approximately $17 million, or 7 cents per share, compared to the year-ago period.
Ameren's Missouri regulated operations segment, which includes AmerenUE's regulated operations, contributed $258 million to Ameren's net income for the first nine months of 2006, or $88 million less than the year-ago period. The Illinois regulated operations segment, which includes the electric and gas distribution businesses of AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO and AmerenIP, contributed $125 million to Ameren's net income for the first nine months of 2006, or $34 million less than the year-ago period. The non-rate-regulated electric generation segment contributed $100 million to Ameren's net income for the first nine months of 2006, or $11 million more than the year-ago period. Corporate and other non-rate-regulated activities increased net income in the first nine months of 2006 by $3 million as compared to an $8 million reduction of net income in the year-ago period.
Ameren also announced today that it is reaffirming its 2006 non-GAAP earnings guidance, which excludes the nine-month impact of the severe 2006 storms. The company expects non-GAAP 2006 earnings to range between $2.75 and $3.00 per share. The impact of the severe 2006 storms is estimated to be 13 to 15 cents per share. Ameren's guidance assumes normal weather for the rest of 2006, excludes any impact of the severe 2006 storms, and is subject to, among other things, plant operations, energy market and economic conditions, regulatory and legislative decisions, unusual or otherwise unexpected gains or losses and other risks and uncertainties outlined in Ameren's Forward-looking Statements.
Ameren will conduct a conference call for financial analysts at 9:00 a.m. (Central Time) on Friday, Nov. 3, to discuss third quarter 2006 earnings and other matters related to the company. Investors, the news media and the public may listen to a live Internet broadcast of the call at www.ameren.com by clicking on "Q3 2006 Ameren Corporation Earnings Conference Call," then the appropriate audio link. A slide presentation will also be available on Ameren's Web site that reconciles earnings per share for the third quarter and first nine months of 2006 to the same periods in 2005. It also reconciles the 2006 earnings per share guidance to 2005 earnings per share on a comparable share basis. This presentation will be posted in the "Investors" section of the Web site under "Presentations." The analyst call will also be available for replay on the Internet for one year. Telephone playback of the conference call will also be available beginning at 11:00 a.m. (Central Time), from Nov. 3 through Nov. 10, by dialing, U.S. (800) 405-2236; international (303) 590-3000 and entering the number: 11073979#.
Ameren Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Gary L. Rainwater and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Warner L. Baxter will give a presentation to analysts on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2006, at the Edison Electric Institute 41st Annual Financial Conference. The presentation will be at 9:45 a.m. Pacific Time (11:45 a.m. Central Time). This presentation is being webcast and can be accessed at www.ameren.com by clicking on "Ameren Corporation at 41st Edison Electric Institute Financial Conference," then the appropriate audio link.
With assets of almost $19 billion, Ameren serves approximately 2.4 million electric customers and almost one million natural gas customers in a 64,000 square mile area of Missouri and Illinois. Ameren owns a diverse mix of electric generating plants strategically located in its Midwest market with a generating capacity of more than 16,200 megawatts.
Regulation G Statement
Ameren has presented certain information in this release on a diluted cents per share basis. These diluted per share amounts reflect certain factors that directly impact Ameren's total earnings per share. 2006 non-GAAP earnings per share guidance excludes the impact of the severe 2006 storms. Ameren believes this information is useful because it enables readers to better understand the impact of these factors on Ameren's results of operations and earnings per share.
Statements in this release not based on historical facts are considered "forward-looking" and, accordingly, involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed. Although such forward-looking statements have been made in good faith and are based on reasonable assumptions, there is no assurance that the expected results will be achieved. These statements include (without limitation) statements as to future expectations, beliefs, plans, strategies, objectives, events, conditions, and financial performance. In connection with the "safe harbor" provi?sions of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, we are providing this cautionary statement to identify important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated. The following factors, in addition to those discussed elsewhere in this release and in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, could cause actual results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking statements:
? regulatory or legislative actions, including changes in regulatory policies and ratemaking determinations, such as the outcome of AmerenUE, AmerenCIPS, AmerenCILCO and AmerenIP rate proceedings or the enactment of an extension of an electric rate freeze or similar action that impairs the full and timely recovery of costs in Illinois;
? the impact of the termination of the joint dispatch agreement, among AmerenUE, AmerenCIPS and Ameren Energy Generating Company;
? changes in laws and other governmental actions, including monetary and fiscal policies;
? the effects of increased competition in the future due to, among other things, deregulation of certain aspects of our business at both the state and federal levels, and the implementation of deregulation, such as when the current electric rate freeze and current power supply contracts expire in Illinois at the end of 2006;
? the effects of participation in the Midwest Independent Transmission System;
? the availability of fuel such as coal, natural gas and enriched uranium used to produce electricity; the availability of purchased power and natural gas for distribution; and the level and volatility of future market prices for such commodities, including the ability to recover the costs for such commodities;
? the effectiveness of our risk management strategies and the use of financial and derivative instruments;
? prices for power in the Midwest;
? business and economic conditions, including their impact on interest rates;
? disruptions of the capital markets or other events that make access to necessary capital more difficult or costly;
? the impact of the adoption of new accounting standards and the application of appropriate technical accounting rules and guidance;
? actions of credit rating agencies and the effects of such actions;
? weather conditions and other natural phenomena;
? the impact of system outages caused by severe weather conditions or other events;
? generation plant construction, installation and performance, including costs associated with AmerenUE's Taum Sauk pumped-storage hydroelectric plant incident and its future operation;
? operation of AmerenUE's nuclear power facility, including planned and unplanned outages, and decommissioning costs;
? the effects of strategic initiatives, including acquisitions and divestitures;
? the impact of current environmental regulations on utilities and power generating companies and the expectation that more stringent requirements will be introduced over time, which could have a negative financial effect;
? labor disputes and future wage and employee benefits costs, including changes in returns on benefit plan assets;
? the impact of conditions imposed by regulators in connection with their approval of Ameren's acquisition of Illinois Power;
? the inability of our counterparties to meet their obligations with respect to contracts and financial instruments;
? the cost and availability of transmission capacity for the energy generated by Ameren facilities or required to satisfy energy sales made by Ameren;
? legal and administrative proceedings; and
? acts of sabotage, war, terrorism or intentionally disruptive acts.
Given these uncertainties, undue reliance should not be placed on these forward- looking statements. Except to the extent required by the federal securities laws, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward- looking statements to reflect new information, future events, or otherwise.
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