ST. LOUIS, Feb. 16, 2018 /PRNewswire/ — Ameren Corporation (NYSE: AEE) today announced 2017 net income attributable to common shareholders in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) of $523 million, or $2.14 per diluted share, compared to $653 million, or $2.68 per diluted share, for 2016. The 2017 GAAP earnings included non-cash charges, primarily at the parent company, that decreased earnings by a combined $168 million, or 69 cents per diluted share, reflecting the revaluation of deferred taxes as a result of changes in Illinois and federal income tax rates. Excluding these charges, Ameren recorded 2017 core earnings of $691 million, or $2.83 per diluted share. There were no differences between GAAP and core earnings for 2016.
The year-over-year increase in 2017 core earnings reflected new Ameren Missouri electric service rates effective April 1, 2017, which were driven, in part, by increased infrastructure investments and removal of the negative effect of lower sales to the New Madrid aluminum smelter. In addition, the comparison benefited from earnings on increased infrastructure investments made at Ameren Transmission and Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution. These favorable factors were partially offset by lower electric retail sales, primarily driven by milder summer temperatures. The earnings comparison was also unfavorably impacted by the absence of a 2016 performance incentive award related to Ameren Missouri’s 2013 through 2015 energy efficiency plan, as well as higher Ameren Missouri depreciation expense.
“In 2017, we again delivered strong core earnings growth,” said Warner L. Baxter, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Ameren Corporation. “Our team continued to successfully execute our strategy across our businesses, including allocating capital to jurisdictions with modern, constructive regulatory frameworks and managing costs in a disciplined manner. In addition, Ameren Missouri announced a forward-thinking plan under which it expects to accelerate its transition to a cleaner, more diversified energy portfolio, including significant investments in renewable generation by 2020.”
Ameren recorded a GAAP net loss attributable to common shareholders for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2017, of $60 million, or 24 cents per diluted share, compared to net income attributable to common shareholders of $32 million, or 13 cents per diluted share, for the same period in 2016. The GAAP results for the three months ended Dec. 31, 2017, included a $154 million, or 63 cents per diluted share, charge for the revaluation of deferred taxes resulting from a change in the federal income tax rate. Excluding this charge, 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 increase in fourth quarter 2017 core earnings reflected a change in the timing of interim period revenue recognition at Ameren Illinois Electric Distribution that increased results by 12 cents per diluted share but had no effect on full-year earnings. The comparison also benefited from new Ameren Missouri electric service rates, increased infrastructure investments made at Ameren Transmission and a lower effective income tax rate. These favorable factors were partially offset by a nuclear refueling and maintenance outage at the Callaway Energy Center in the fourth quarter that increased operations and maintenance expenses, compared to the year-ago period when there was no such outage.
As reflected in the table below, the following items were excluded from core earnings:
- 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.
- A non-cash charge, primarily at the parent company, for the revaluation of deferred taxes resulting from a Dec. 2017 change in federal law that decreased the federal corporate income tax rate, which decreased fourth quarter and full-year 2017 earnings by $154 million.