Duke Energy slides after Q4 miss; hikes five-year capital plan by $8B

High Voltage Electric Power Lines At Sunset

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Duke Energy (NYSE:DUK) -3.2% in Thursday’s trading after reporting Q4 adjusted earnings that missed expectations, as rising interest rates have made raised costs for utility companies.

Q4 net income swung to a profit of $1.27/share from a loss of $0.86/share in the year-earlier, while adjusted earnings improved to $1.51/share from $1.11/share, and revenues fell nearly 2% Y/Y to $7.21B.

Q4 interest expense in the company’s Electric Utilities and Infrastructure unit jumped to $486M from $421M in the year-ago quarter.

Duke (DUK) guided for FY 2024 adjusted EPS of $5.85-$6.10, in line with $5.98 analyst consensus estimate, and reiterated its long-term growth target of 5%-7%/year in adjusted EPS through 2028, based on a 2024 midpoint of $5.98/share.

Duke (DUK) increased its five-year capital expenditure plan by $8B from previous guidance to $73B, saying rising power consumption in U.S. Southeast and Midwest states requires more investments in clean energy.

The utility also raised its 2024 load growth projections to ~2% from ~1% in 2023, as new power-intensive projects, a rebound in industrial activity and population gains in its service areas drive electricity demand.

“Those three factors give us confidence that 2% load growth in ’24 is definitely in our sights,” CFO Brian Savoy said on the post-earnings conference call.

William Murphy

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