Duke Energy reports higher profits at end of 2013

Greenville NewsFebruary 19, 2014 

Duke Energy said its fourth-quarter profit rose 58 percent, helped by higher customer rates and strength in overseas operations.

The Charlotte-based company, the dominant provider of electricity to the Upstate, said Tuesday it earned $688 million, or 97 cents a share, up from $435 million, or 62 cents a share, in the year-earlier period.

Excluding one-time charges, the company earned $1 a share, topping Wall Street expectations by a nickel.

Duke said net income at its regulated utilities increased 22 percent to $607 million, helped by rate increases and lower operating and maintenance expenses.

For the quarter, the company said it achieved lower costs through synergies realized from the 2012 merger with Progress Energy.

The results come a day after Duke announced plans to abandon the wholesale power-generation business in the Midwest because of volatility there.

Regulators last year approved rate hikes in South Carolina, North Carolina and Ohio.

Net income rose 21 percent to $108 million at the company’s international segment, which saw higher energy volumes and pricing in Brazil, Duke officials said.

Duke, the nation’s largest electric utility, serves 7.2 million customers in South Carolina, North Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Ohio and Kentucky.

“Our company demonstrated tremendous focus and discipline in 2013,” said Lynn Good, Duke’s president and CEO. “As a result, we achieved the midpoint of our earnings per share guidance range, increased the dividend, and exceeded our original target of 5 to 7 percent in non-fuel operating and maintenance savings.

“We are also ahead of target to achieve our merger savings commitment to Carolinas customers through fuel and joint-dispatch savings,” she said. “In 2014, we will focus on building on the momentum created in 2013 to achieve our financial and operational objectives.”

For the full-year 2013, Duke earned more than $2.6 billion, or $3.76 per share, up from more than $1.7 billion, or $3.07 per share, a year earlier.

Revenue increased 25 percent to $24.6 billion from $19.62 billion.

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