FirstEnergy Announces Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results
July 24, 2020
FirstEnergy today reported second quarter 2020 GAAP earnings of $309 million, or $0.57 per basic and diluted share of common stock, on revenue of $2.5 billion. In the second quarter of 2019, FirstEnergy reported GAAP earnings of $308 million, or $0.58 per basic and diluted share of common stock, on revenue of $2.5 billion. Second quarter results include the impact of special items listed below.
Operating (non-GAAP) earnings* for the second quarter of 2020 were $0.57 per share, near the top end of the company’s guidance. In the second quarter of 2019, operating (non-GAAP) earnings were $0.61 per share.
“I am extremely proud of the performance by our employees during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said CEO Chuck Jones. “They have not missed a beat as they adapted to new work protocols to keep each other safe and continued delivering energy to our customers. At the same time, our fully regulated business model and rate structure are providing a measure of stability through the economic slowdown, and we remain on track to meet our commitments to the investment community.”
“We intend to cooperate fully with the Department of Justice investigation involving the Ohio Speaker of the House, and we will ensure our company’s involvement in supporting HB 6 is understood as accurately as possible,” Chuck said. “I believe that FirstEnergy acted ethically in this matter. At no time did our support for Ohio’s nuclear plants interfere with or supersede our ethical obligations to conduct our business properly. I believe the facts will become clear as the investigation progresses.”
For the third quarter of 2020, FirstEnergy is providing a GAAP and operating (non-GAAP) forecast range of $395 million to $450 million, or $0.73 to $0.83 per share based on 542 million shares outstanding. The company is affirming its full-year 2020 GAAP earnings forecast range of $1.02 billion to $1.13 billion, or $1.88 to $2.08 per share, based on 542 million shares, as well as its full-year operating (non-GAAP) guidance of $2.40 to $2.60 per share.
FirstEnergy is also affirming its long-term growth rate projections. The company remains on track to achieve 6% to 8% compound annual operating (non-GAAP) earnings growth (CAGR)** from 2018 to 2021, as well as its extended CAGR of 5% to 7% through 2023. That projection includes plans to issue up to $600 million of equity annually starting in 2022 to fund the company’s regulated growth initiatives.
Second Quarter Results
In FirstEnergy’s Regulated Distribution business, second quarter 2020 operating results benefited from higher residential volume, incremental rider revenues in Ohio and Pennsylvania, and weather-related usage. These factors were offset by the absence of the Ohio Distribution Modernization Rider and higher expenses compared to the second quarter of 2019.
Total distribution deliveries decreased 3.1% compared to the second quarter of 2019, primarily due to the impact of the pandemic on commercial and industrial sales. Residential sales increased 17.1%, as a result of the stay-at-home orders in our service territories and a benefit from weather-related customer usage compared to the second quarter of 2019. Commercial deliveries decreased 14.4%, while sales to industrial customers decreased 11.7%.
In the Regulated Transmission business, second quarter 2020 operating results decreased slightly primarily due to higher net financing costs and a true-up of the formula rate, which offset higher rate base associated with the company’s ongoing investments in its Energizing the Future transmission program.
In the Corporate/Other segment, second quarter 2020 operating results reflect higher expenses compared to the same quarter of 2019.
For the first half of 2020, FirstEnergy reported GAAP earnings of $383 million, or $0.71 per basic and diluted share of common stock, on revenue of $5.2 billion. This compares to GAAP earnings of $623 million or $1.17 per basic and diluted share of common stock, on revenue of $5.4 billion in the first six months of 2019. Results for both periods reflect the impact of special items listed below.
Operating (non-GAAP) earnings* for the first half of 2020 were $1.23 per share, compared to $1.28 per share in the first half of 2019.
Non-GAAP financial measures
* Operating earnings (loss) excludes “special items” as described below, and is a non-GAAP financial measure. Special items represent charges incurred or benefits realized that management believes are not indicative of, or may obscure trends useful in evaluating the company’s ongoing core activities and results of operations or otherwise warrant separate classification. Special items also reflect the adjustment to include the full impact of share dilution from the $2.5 billion equity issuance in January 2018. Special items are not necessarily non-recurring. Management uses Operating earnings (loss) and Operating earnings (loss) per share to evaluate the company’s performance and manage its operations and frequently references these non-GAAP financial measures in its decision making, using them to facilitate historical and ongoing performance comparisons. Additionally, management uses Operating earnings (loss) per share by segment to further evaluate the company’s performance by segment and references this non-GAAP financial measure in its decision making. Operating earnings (loss) per share and operating earnings (loss) per share for each segment is calculated by dividing Operating earnings (loss), which excludes specials items as discussed herein, for the periods presented in 2019 by 539 million shares, 541 million shares for the first half of 2020, and 542 million shares in the second quarter and full year of 2020, which reflects the full impact of share dilution from the equity issuance in January 2018. Management believes that the non-GAAP financial measures of Operating earnings (loss) and Operating earnings (loss) per share and Operating earnings (loss) per share by segment provide consistent and comparable measures of performance of its businesses on an ongoing basis. Management also believes that such measures are useful to shareholders and other interested parties to understand performance trends and evaluate the company against its peer group by presenting period-over-period operating results without the effect of certain charges or benefits that may not be consistent or comparable across periods or across the company’s peer group. Generally, a non-GAAP financial measure is a numerical measure of a company’s historical or future financial performance, financial position, or cash flows that either excludes or includes amounts that are not normally excluded or included in the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States (GAAP). These non-GAAP financial measures are intended to complement, and are not considered as alternatives to, the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures. Also, the non-GAAP financial measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other entities. Pursuant to the requirements of Regulation G, FirstEnergy has provided, where possible without unreasonable effort, quantitative reconciliations within this presentation of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures.
** The Company’s management team cannot estimate on a forward-looking basis the impact of special items in the context of Operating earnings (loss) per share growth projections because special items, which could be significant, are difficult to predict and may be highly variable. Consequently, the Company is unable to reconcile Operating earnings (loss) per share growth projections to a GAAP measure without unreasonable effort.
Investor Materials and Teleconference
FirstEnergy’s Strategic and Financial Highlights and Investor Factbook are posted on the company’s Investor Information website – www.firstenergycorp.com/ir. To access the report, click on the Second Quarter 2020 Financial Results link.
Employees and other interested parties are invited to listen to a live webcast of its teleconference for financial analysts and view presentation slides at 10:00 a.m. tomorrow. FirstEnergy management will present an overview of the company’s financial results, followed by a question-and-answer session. The teleconference and presentation can be accessed on the website by selecting the Second Quarter 2020 Earnings Webcast link. The webcast and presentation will be archived on the website.
Forward-Looking Statements: This article includes forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 based on information currently available to management. Such statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties and readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements. These statements include declarations regarding management’s intents, beliefs and current expectations. These statements typically contain, but are not limited to, the terms “anticipate,” “potential,” “expect,” “forecast,” “target,” “will,” “intend,” “believe,” “project,” “estimate,” “plan” and similar words. Forward-looking statements involve estimates, assumptions, known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, performance or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements, which may include the following: The extent and duration of COVID-19 and the impacts to our business, operations and financial condition resulting from the outbreak of COVID-19 including, but not limited to, disruption of businesses in our territories, volatile capital and credit markets, legislative and regulatory actions, the effectiveness of our pandemic and business continuity plans, the precautionary measures we are taking on behalf of our customers and employees, our customers’ ability to make their utility payment and the potential for supply-chain disruptions; risks and uncertainties associated with the ongoing government investigation regarding Ohio House Bill 6 and related matters; mitigating exposure for remedial activities associated with retired and formerly owned electric generation assets, including, but not limited to, risks associated with the decommissioning of TMI-2; the ability to accomplish or realize anticipated benefits from strategic and financial goals, including, but not limited to, executing our transmission and distribution investment plans, controlling costs, improving our credit metrics, strengthening our balance sheet and growing earnings; legislative and regulatory developments, including, but not limited to, matters related to rates, compliance and enforcement activity; economic and weather conditions affecting future operating results, such as significant weather events and other natural disasters, and associated regulatory events or actions; changes in assumptions regarding economic conditions within our territories, the reliability of our transmission and distribution system, or the availability of capital or other resources supporting identified transmission and distribution investment opportunities; changes in customers’ demand for power, including, but not limited to, the impact of climate change or energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes in national and regional economic conditions affecting us and/or our major industrial and commercial customers or others with which we do business; the risks associated with cyber-attacks and other disruptions to our information technology system, which may compromise our operations, and data security breaches of sensitive data, intellectual property and proprietary or personally identifiable information; the ability to comply with applicable reliability standards and energy efficiency and peak demand reduction mandates; changes to environmental laws and regulations, including, but not limited to, those related to climate change; changing market conditions affecting the measurement of certain liabilities and the value of assets held in our pension trusts and other trust funds, or causing us to make contributions sooner, or in amounts that are larger, than currently anticipated; the risks and uncertainties associated with litigation, arbitration, mediation and like proceedings; labor disruptions by our unionized workforce; changes to significant accounting policies; any changes in tax laws or regulations, or adverse tax audit results or rulings; the ability to access the public securities and other capital and credit markets in accordance with our financial plans, the cost of such capital and overall condition of the capital and credit markets affecting us, including the increasing number of financial institutions evaluating the impact of climate change on their investment decisions; actions that may be taken by credit rating agencies that could negatively affect either our access to or terms of financing or our financial condition and liquidity; the risks and other factors discussed from time to time in our SEC filings. Dividends declared from time to time on our common stock during any period may in the aggregate vary from prior periods due to circumstances considered by our Board of Directors at the time of the actual declarations. A security rating is not a recommendation to buy or hold securities and is subject to revision or withdrawal at any time by the assigning rating agency. Each rating should be evaluated independently of any other rating. These forward-looking statements are also qualified by, and should be read together with, the risk factors included in FirstEnergy’s filings with the SEC, including but not limited to the most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and any subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q and Current Reports on Form 8-K. The foregoing review of factors also should not be construed as exhaustive. New factors emerge from time to time, and it is not possible for management to predict all such factors, nor assess the impact of any such factor on FirstEnergy’s business or the extent to which any factor, or combination of factors, may cause results to differ materially from those contained in any forward-looking statements. FirstEnergy expressly disclaims any obligation to update or revise, except as required by law, any forward-looking statements contained herein or in the information incorporated by reference as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.