By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Energy Weekly News -- Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) announced results for its second fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2014. For the quarter, the Company reported net income of $62.5 million, or $.80 per diluted share, compared to net income of $55.8 million, or $.74 per diluted share for the same period in 2013.
For the six months ended April 30, 2014, net income was $160.1 million and diluted earnings per share were $2.06, compared with net income of $141.7 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.91 for the same period in 2013.
Margin for the quarter was $211.5 million, an increase of $27.7 million from the prior year's quarter. Margin for the six months ended April 30, 2014 was $473 million, an increase of $57.6 million from the prior year period. The increase in margin is primarily attributable to customer growth, regulatory rate adjustments, increased transportation services in the power generation markets, and higher margin sales from secondary market activity.
Operations and maintenance expenses totaled $70.2 million during the second quarter of 2014, an increase of $5.2 million from the same period in 2013. Operations and maintenance expenses totaled $130.8 million during the six months ended April 30, 2014, an increase of $9.9 million from the same period in 2013. The increase in O&M expenses is primarily due to increases in payroll and approved amortization of regulatory assets, partially offset by a decrease in employee benefits expense.
Pre-tax income from Piedmont's joint ventures increased 15% for the quarter and 24% percent for the year-to-date compared to the same period in 2013 primarily due to improved performance at SouthStar Energy from the expansion into the unregulated retail natural gas markets in Illinois and favorable customer mix and price spreads in the Georgia markets.
Utility interest charges for the quarter were $12 million compared to $3.3 million for the same period in 2013. Utility interest charges for the six months ended April 30, 2014 were $22.6 million compared to $7.8 million for the same period in 2013. The increase is primarily due to an increase in interest expense on long-term debt primarily due to higher amounts outstanding in 2014 and a decrease in AFUDC as a result of lower utility project construction expenditures compared to the prior year.
REVISED FISCAL 2014 EARNINGS GUIDANCE REAFFIRMED
Piedmont Natural Gas reaffirms its revised fiscal year 2014 earnings guidance of $1.80 to $1.90 per diluted share, with emphasis at the upper end of the range.
Keywords for this news article include: Energy, Finance, Oil & Gas, Piedmont Natural Gas.
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