Houston - May 3, 2012 - CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (NYSE: CNP) today reported net income of $147 million, or $0.34 per diluted share, for the first quarter of 2012 compared to $148 million, or $0.35 per diluted share, for the same period of 2011. Operating income for the first quarter of 2012 was $338 million compared to $364 million for the same period of 2011.
“Despite extremely mild winter weather and low natural gas prices, the company reported solid earnings for the quarter,” said David M. McClanahan, president and chief executive officer of CenterPoint Energy. “The benefits of our diversified portfolio of electric and natural gas businesses were evident this quarter and the fundamentals of our business units remain strong. We continue to look for opportunities to invest in each of our businesses where we believe we can build value for our shareholders.”
Electric Transmission & Distribution
The electric transmission & distribution segment reported operating income of $107 million for the first quarter of 2012, consisting of $70 million from the regulated electric transmission & distribution utility operations (TDU) and $37 million related to securitization bonds. Operating income for the first quarter of 2011 was $101 million, consisting of $68 million from the TDU and $33 million related to securitization bonds. Operating income for the TDU benefited from higher miscellaneous revenues, growth of more than 42,000 customers since March 2011, and higher returns associated primarily with the company’s recovery of the true-up proceeds. These gains were partially offset by milder weather and impacts from new rates implemented in September 2011.
Natural Gas Distribution
The natural gas distribution segment reported operating income of $121 million for the first quarter of 2012 compared to $142 million for the same period of 2011. Operating income declined due to significantly warmer winter weather.
The interstate pipelines segment reported operating income of $60 million for the first quarter of 2012 compared to $76 million for the same period of 2011. The decline was due to lower revenues primarily as a result of an expired backhaul contract and lower off-system sales due primarily to compressed basis differentials. These declines were partially offset by higher revenues from previously restructured contracts with the company’s natural gas distribution affiliates and increased ancillary services. Operation and maintenance expenses were higher primarily due to a favorable insurance settlement recognized in the first quarter of 2011.
In addition to operating income, this segment recorded equity income of $6 million for the first quarter of 2012 from its 50 percent interest in the Southeast Supply Header (SESH) compared to $4 million for the same period of 2011.
The field services segment reported operating income of $47 million for the first quarter of 2012 compared to $36 million for the same period of 2011. The first quarter of 2012 benefited from higher gathering volumes in the Haynesville and Fayetteville shales partially offset by lower prices received from sales of retained gas.
In addition to operating income, this business had equity income of $3 million for the first quarter of 2012 from its 50 percent interest in a gathering and processing joint venture (Waskom) compared to $2 million for the same period of 2011.
Competitive Natural Gas Sales and Services
The competitive natural gas sales and services segment reported operating income of $1 million for the first quarter of 2012 compared to $10 million for the same period of 2011. The first quarter of 2012 included a $4 million write-down of natural gas inventory to the lower of average cost or market. The first quarter of 2012 also included charges of $1 million resulting from mark-to-market accounting for derivatives associated with certain forward natural gas purchases and sales used to lock in economic margins compared to charges of $2 million for the same period of 2011. In addition to these items, operating income was impacted by milder winter weather, compressed margins and higher operation and maintenance expenses.
On April 26, 2012, CenterPoint Energy’s board of directors declared a regular quarterly cash dividend of $0.2025 per share of common stock payable on June 8, 2012, to shareholders of record as of the close of business on May 16, 2012.
Outlook Reaffirmed for 2012
CenterPoint Energy reaffirmed its estimate for 2012 earnings on a guidance basis in the range of $1.08 to $1.20 per diluted share. Earnings guidance is being provided in the form of a range to reflect economic and operational variables associated with the company’s various business segments and takes into consideration performance to date. Significant variables include the impact to earnings of commodity prices, volume throughput, weather, regulatory proceedings, effective tax rates and financing activities. In providing this guidance, the company does not include the impact of any changes in accounting standards, any impact from significant acquisitions or divestitures, any impact to earnings from the change in the value of Time Warner stocks and the related ZENS securities, or the timing effects of mark-to-market and inventory accounting in the company’s competitive natural gas sales and services business.
Filing of Form 10-Q for CenterPoint Energy, Inc.
Today, CenterPoint Energy, Inc. filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) its Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the period ended March 31, 2012. A copy of that report is available on the company’s website under the Investors section. Other filings the company makes with the SEC and other documents relating to its corporate governance can also be found on that site.
Webcast of Earnings Conference Call
CenterPoint Energy’s management will host an earnings conference call on Thursday, May 3, 2012, at 10:30 a.m. Central time or 11:30 a.m. Eastern time. Interested parties may listen to a live audio broadcast of the conference call on the company’s website under the Investors section. A
replay of the call can be accessed approximately two hours after the completion of the call and will be archived on the website for at least one year.
CenterPoint Energy, Inc., headquartered in Houston, Texas, is a domestic energy delivery company that includes electric transmission & distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas sales and services, interstate pipelines, and field services operations. The company serves more than five million metered customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas. Assets total more than $22 billion. With over 8,800 employees, CenterPoint Energy and its predecessor companies have been in business for more than 135 years. For more information, visit the company’s website at CenterPointEnergy.com.