NEW ORLEANS, Jan. 23, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Entergy Corporation (NYSE: ETR) today indicated that it expects fourth quarter 2012 as-reported earnings of approximately $1.65 per share and operational earnings of approximately $1.71 per share. Results for fourth quarter 2011 were $0.87 per share on an as-reported basis and $0.94 per share on an operational basis. Entergy also affirmed previously issued operational earnings guidance for 2013.
As-reported results are prepared in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and are comprised of operational earnings (described below) and special items. The special items in the fourth quarter of 2011 and 2012 were due to expenses arising out of the proposed spin-off and merger of Entergy's electric transmission business with ITC Holdings Corp.
The increase in fourth quarter 2012 earnings was driven by higher results at Utility and Parent & Other, which was partially offset by lower earnings at Entergy Wholesale Commodities. As indicated below, income tax is cited as a quarter-over-quarter variance explanation in each of the disclosure segments. On an overall company basis, the most significant item quarter-over-quarter was a settlement with the Internal Revenue Service completed at the end of 2012. In conjunction with the terms of the IRS settlement of the 2004 – 2005 audit, a net earnings benefit of approximately $155 million was recorded in the fourth quarter of 2012.Results in both the current and prior year periods reflected adjustments within the EWC and Parent & Other segments to improve the alignment of certain intercompany items and income tax activity. These adjustments had no effect on consolidated results. Utility The increase in Utility fourth quarter 2012 operational earnings reflected lower income tax expense, including the effect of the IRS settlement noted above. Higher net revenue also contributed to the Utility earnings improvement, driven by volume and price. Both periods had roughly similar negative weather effects. On a weather-adjusted basis, retail sales were higher, driven by growth in the residential and commercial segments. Partially offsetting these items was an increase in depreciation expense.