SCANA’s first quarter earnings up 25 percent

rburris@thestate.comApril 29, 2013 

— SCANA Corp. built on its record 2012 earnings in the first quarter of 2013, reporting nearly across-the-board increases and beating its own forecast.

The Cayce-based energy giant last week said it earned $151 million, or a basic per share earning of $1.13 in the first quarter of 2013, a 25 percent increase from the $121 million, or $93 per share, in the first quarter in 2012.

Customer growth and rate increases have boosted profits, along with improved performances by the company’s Georgia businesses.

“Last year, we experienced one of the mildest winters on record, which negatively impacted the earnings of our Georgia retail gas business,” said Jimmy Addison, SCANA executive vice president and chief financial officer.

SCANA’s principal subsidiary, SCE&G, reported first quarter 2013 earnings of $92 million, or basic earnings per share of 68 cents, according to the report released April 25, compared to $72 million, or 55 cents per share, during the same period in 2012.

SCANA reported one of its most profitable years in history in 2012, as it said more customers moved to South Carolina and a rate hike went into effect for the construction of two new nuclear plants.

The Cayce-based energy giant said it earned $420 million in 2012, for an 8.5 percent jump. It reported SCE&G had an 11.4 percent increase in earning for 2012, to $352 million.

The $9.8 billion construction of the two new nuclear units is well underway at the V.C. Summer Nuclear Station in Fairfield County, where, after initial problems with its content, SCANA said it poured this year the first new nuclear concrete in America in more than 30 years.

It is too soon to know if the company is on pace for another record year of profits.

“We continue to be encouraged by the level of economic development activity, with approximately $1.1 billion announced investment and over 2,600 jobs in our Carolinas territories this year,” Addison said at the roll out of the first quarter earnings report.

“A significant portion of these investments and jobs are due to a recent announcement by Boeing Corporation that it plans to invest another $1 billion and add at least 2,000 more jobs at its North Charleston campus.”

SCANA operates in South Carolina, North Carolina and Georgia – states where people are moving from elsewhere. SCE&G serves about 673,000 electric customers and about 325,000 natural gas customers in South Carolina.

SCANA’s other businesses -- electricity and natural gas utility operations – also did well in the first quarter.

PSNC Energy, SCANA’s North-Carolina-based retail natural gas distribution subsidiary, reported $32 million in earnings in the first quarter of 2013, or 24 cents per share. PSNC had its best growth rate since 2008, the company said and served about 500,000 customers during the first quarter, up 2.2 percent over the first quarter of 2012.

SCANA Energy, the company’s retail natural gas marketing business in Georgia, reported $22 million in earnings the first quarter of 2013, or 16 cents per share, up from $11 million in earnings the first quarter of 2012, or 9 cents per share.

SCANA still expects to deliver between $3.25 to $3.45 earnings per share in 2013, targeting a 3 to 6 percent average annual earnings growth rate over the next 3 to5 years, the company said.

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