Con Ed Beats Estimates and 2009 Profits

| About: Consolidated Edison (ED)

Consolidated Edison Inc. (NYSE:ED) announced fiscal third quarter results with EPS of $1.16, which beat both the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.04 and the year-ago profit of 98 cents.

New York City-based Consolidated Edison is a diversified utility holding company with subsidiaries engaged in both regulated and unregulated businesses. Consolidated Edison’s regulated businesses operate through two subsidiaries — Consolidated Edison Company of New York (Con Edison of New York) and Orange and Rockland Utilities (O&R).

Con Edison of New York is a regulated utility that provides electricity to roughly 3.3 million customers, natural gas to 1.1 million customers, and steam services to about 1,850 customers, primarily in New York City and Westchester County. O&R serves nearly 400,000 electric and gas customers in southeastern New York State, northern New Jersey, and northeastern Pennsylvania.

Consolidated Edison’s unregulated businesses operate through three subsidiaries: Consolidated Edison Development (engaged in infrastructure development), Consolidated Edison Energy (supplies energy in the wholesale market), and Consolidated Edison Solutions (provides retail energy).

The EPS variations reflect the year-over-year differences, where Con Edison of New York benefited from 49 cents per share as higher rates authorized higher recovery of costs and 5 cents from miscellaneous items. This was partially offset by 18 cents from higher operations and maintenance expense, 20 cents from depreciation and 4 cents from interest expense. The net effect was a 12 cents spike in EPS year over year while Orange and Rockland utilities remained steady. The real variation in EPS year over year came from Competitive Energy businesses where EPS was boosted due to 38 cents from net mark-to-market effects, and 7 cents from higher earnings from continuing operations.

The bottom-line results also reflect the dilutive effect of a higher weighted average number of common shares outstanding of 276 million compared to 273.8 million shares in the prior-year quarter.

On the revenue front, Consolidated Edison witnessed a 9.6% fall year over year to $3.5 billion from $3.9 billion in the year-ago quarter. The downside came from all the segments – electricity, gas, and stream. However non-utility revenues increased to $600 million from $552 million in the year-ago quarter.

Consolidated Edison reported $1.5 billion in cash from operating activities in the reported quarter, from $50 million in the year-ago period. The company reported $75 million of cash and cash equivalents at the end of the reported quarter from $74 million in the year-ago period. Long term debt remained unchanged at slightly above $9.4 billion as compared to $9.2 billion in the year-ago period. Management also reaffirmed the full-year earnings guidance to a range of $3.00 to $3.20 per share. The company’s future growth will be largely dependent on rate increases of its utility subsidiaries. However, on account of uncertain outcome from the pending regulatory cases we maintain our Neutral recommendation on Consolidated Edison.