Ameren announces 2018 results and issues guidance

ST. LOUIS, Mo. – Ameren Corporation announced on Thursday the 2018 net income attributable to common shareholders in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $815 million, or $3.32 per diluted share, compared to 2017 GAAP net income attributable to common shareholders of $523 million, or $2.14 per diluted share.

Excluding certain tax-related items reflected below, Ameren recorded 2018 core earnings of $828 million, or $3.37 per diluted share, compared to 2017 core earnings of $691 million, or $2.83 per diluted share.

The year-over-year increase in 2018 core earnings reflected higher Ameren Missouri electric retail sales primarily due to warmer summer and colder winter temperatures, as well as earnings on increased infrastructure investments made at Ameren Transmission, Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution, and Ameren Illinois Natural Gas. The comparison also benefited from the absence, in 2018, of a nuclear refueling and maintenance outage at Ameren Missouri’s Callaway Energy Center and higher Ameren Missouri electric service rates, effective April 1, 2017. These favorable factors were partially offset by increased Ameren Missouri other operations and maintenance expenses, primarily reflecting higher-than-normal scheduled non-nuclear energy center outages, increased routine maintenance, and more distribution reliability projects. The comparison also reflected higher charitable donations in 2018.

“In 2018, we again delivered strong earnings growth,” said Warner L. Baxter, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ameren Corporation. “Our team continues to successfully execute all elements of our strategy across our businesses. We made meaningful progress on the proposed ownership of at least 700 megawatts of wind generation by Ameren Missouri to better serve our customers, transition to a cleaner, more diverse generation portfolio and comply with the Missouri Renewable Energy Standard.”

“I am also pleased to report that today, Ameren Missouri filed its Smart Energy Plan with the Missouri Public Service Commission. Driven by the passage of constructive legislation in 2018, this five-year plan includes significant incremental investments to modernize the electric grid for the benefit of our customers and the state while keeping rates stable and predictable,” Baxter said. “Constructive energy policies have driven similar investments at our Ameren Illinois electric distribution business and have delivered significant customer benefits and added new jobs to the state’s economy while keeping customer rates affordable.”

Ameren recorded GAAP and core net income attributable to common shareholders for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2018, of $68 million, or 28 cents per diluted share, compared to a GAAP net loss attributable to common shareholders of $60 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, for the same period in 2017. Excluding a tax-related item reflected below, Ameren recorded core earnings for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2017, of $94 million, or 39 cents per diluted share.

The year-over-year decrease in fourth quarter 2018 core earnings reflected a 12 cent per diluted share timing difference between income tax expense and revenue reductions at Ameren Missouri related to the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA) that had no effect on full-year earnings. In addition, Ameren Missouri had increased other operations and maintenance expenses, primarily reflecting higher non-nuclear energy center maintenance and more distribution reliability projects. The comparison also reflected higher charitable donations in 2018.

These factors were partially offset by earnings on increased infrastructure investments made at Ameren Transmission, Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution, and Ameren Illinois Natural Gas, as well as from the absence, in 2018, of a nuclear refueling and maintenance outage at Ameren Missouri’s Callaway Energy Center that increased operations and maintenance expenses in the year-ago period. The comparison also benefited from higher Ameren Missouri electric retail sales primarily due to colder winter temperatures compared to near-normal temperatures in the year-ago period.

As reflected in the table below, the following items were excluded from the prior year fourth quarter and full-year 2017 and 2018 core earnings:

  • A non-cash charge for a true-up to the revaluation of deferred taxes associated with the TCJA resulting primarily from proposed regulations related to bonus depreciation issued in August 2018, which decreased 2018 earnings by $13 million.
  • A non-cash charge, primarily at the parent company, for the revaluation of deferred taxes resulting from a December 2017 change in federal law (TCJA) that decreased the federal corporate income tax rate, which decreased 2017 earnings by $154 million.
  • A non-cash charge at the parent company for the revaluation of deferred taxes resulting from a July 2017 change in Illinois law that increased the state’s corporate income tax rate, which decreased 2017 earnings by $14 million.