Wednesday, January 23, 2019

CenterPoint Misses Expectations with $75M Loss

CenterPoint Energy on Friday reported a second-quarter loss of $75 million ($0.17/share), compared to a profit of $135 million ($0.31/share) a year earlier. The company’s adjusted earnings of 30 cents/share fell short of Zacks Investment Research expectations of 32 cents.

The quarter’s loss included a pre-tax write down of $242 million to reflect the Houston-based company’s investment in Time Warner. AT&T acquired Time Warner in June, with CenterPoint receiving $53.75 and 1.437 shares of AT&T common stock for each share of Time Warner common stock it held.

CenterPoint endured a morning roller coaster ride Friday on Wall Street before its stock plunged in after-hours trading. After opening at $28.10/share, the stock closed at $27.96 before losing 12 more cents after the closing bell.

CEO Scott Prochazka said during a conference call with financial analysis that the company’s electric, gas and Enable Midstream joint venture businesses performed well, accounting for a 25% increase in revenue to $2.8 billion from 2017’s second quarter.

Prochazka said the company’s $6 billion acquisition of Indiana electric and gas utility Vectren is progressing well. The company expects to close the deal in the first quarter of 2019. (See CenterPoint Energy to Acquire Vectren in $6B Deal.)

CenterPoint Energy

Port of Freeport | Port of Freeport

However, Prochazka also said the cost of CenterPoint’s Freeport Master Plan project has more than doubled, from $250 million to $650 million, as a result of “more defined analysis” of infrastructure and environmental-related routing issues. ERCOT approved the project last year to solve reliability issues near the Freeport area south of Houston. (See ERCOT Stakeholders OK $246.7M in Freeport Reliability Projects.)

CenterPoint plans to file a certificate of convenience and necessity with the Texas Public Utility Commission in September.

— Tom Kleckner