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The Laclede Group Inc. Reports Operating Results (10-Q)

April 30, 2010 | About:

10qk

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The Laclede Group Inc. (LG) filed Quarterly Report for the period ended 2010-03-31.

The Laclede Group Inc. has a market cap of $787 million; its shares were traded at around $35.35 with a P/E ratio of 14 and P/S ratio of 0.4. The dividend yield of The Laclede Group Inc. stocks is 4.5%. The Laclede Group Inc. had an annual average earning growth of 4.3% over the past 10 years.LG is in the portfolios of Jim Simons of Renaissance Technologies LLC, Steven Cohen of SAC Capital Advisors.

Highlight of Business Operations:

Laclede Group s net income was $28.0 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2010, compared with $30.8 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. Basic and diluted earnings per share for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 were $1.26 compared with basic and diluted earnings per share of $1.39 for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. Net economic earnings were $27.3 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 compared with $30.8 million for the same quarter last year. Net economic earnings per share were $1.23 for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 compared with $1.39 for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. Earnings decreased compared to last year primarily due to lower income reported by Laclede Group s Non-Regulated Gas Marketing segment, partially offset by improved results reported by Laclede Group s Regulated Gas Distribution segment.

The Non-Regulated Gas Marketing segment reported a decrease in GAAP earnings of $4.0 million compared with the same quarter last year. Net economic earnings for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 decreased $4.7 million from the quarter ended March 31, 2009. These decreases were primarily due to LER s significantly reduced margins on sales of natural gas, partially offset by the effect of 5.9% higher sales volumes (mainly attributable to new customer growth and higher wholesale sales volumes). The reduced sales margins were driven primarily by narrower regional price differentials that have recently prevailed in the marketplace, as compared to the favorable market conditions that existed a year ago. On a GAAP basis, sales margins this year included the effect of after-tax net unrealized gains from certain of LER s energy-related derivative contracts, totaling $0.7 million, recognized in earnings during the quarter ended March 31, 2010. There were essentially no net unrealized amounts recognized during the quarter ended March 31, 2009.

Regulated Gas Distribution Operating Revenues for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 were $373.5 million, or $66.9 million less than the same period last year. Temperatures experienced in the Utility s service area during the quarter were 12.5% colder than the same quarter last year and 6.9% colder than normal. Total system therms sold and transported were 430.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 compared with 397.3 million for the same period last year. Total off-system therms sold and transported were 10.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 compared with 82.9 million for the same period last year. The decrease in Regulated Gas Distribution Operating Revenues was primarily attributable to the following factors:

Regulated Gas Distribution Operating Expenses for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 decreased $67.7 million from the same quarter last year. Natural and propane gas expense decreased $63.3 million, or 20.2%, from last year s level, primarily attributable to lower rates charged by our suppliers and lower off-system gas expense, partially offset by increased system volumes purchased for sendout. Other operation and maintenance expenses decreased $2.5 million, or 5.3%, primarily due to a lower provision for uncollectible accounts, reduced group insurance charges, and lower distribution expenses. Taxes, other than income taxes, decreased $2.2 million, or 7.7%, primarily due to decreased gross receipts taxes (attributable to the decreased revenues).

Non-Regulated Gas Marketing Operating Revenues increased $43.9 million primarily due to higher per unit gas prices charged by LER and, to a lesser extent, the effect of 5.9% higher sales volumes. The increase in Non-Regulated Gas Marketing Operating Expenses totaling $49.7 million was primarily associated with higher prices charged by suppliers and increased volumes purchased.

The $0.6 million decrease in interest charges was primarily due to lower interest on short-term debt. Average short-term interest rates were 0.3% for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 compared with 1.0% for the quarter ended March 31, 2009. Average short-term borrowings were $90.9 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2010 compared with $256.7 million for the quarter ended March 31, 2009.

Read the The complete Report

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