Duke Energy Nails Quarter

The company shrugs off the costs associated with exiting the merchant energy business.
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Duke Energy

(DUK) - Get Report

beat third-quarter estimates and said it's on track to hit its full-year employee incentive earnings target.

The Charlotte, N.C., power giant made $41 million, or 4 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30, down from the year-ago $389 million, or 41 cents a share. But on an ongoing basis, excluding charges tied to the company's decision to exit its Duke Energy North America trading business outside the Midwest, earnings rose to 59 cents a share from 37 cents a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call had been looking for 48 cents.

"The quality of our assets, along with the focused efforts of our employees, delivered outstanding results despite the external events affecting the energy industry. Not only did we perform for our customers during this period of supply disruptions, we delivered solid results for our investors," said CEO Paul Anderson. "Our strategic decision to exit much of our merchant generation business in DENA had a large earnings impact this quarter. But that move, along with our proposed merger with Cinergy, will position us for stronger long-term results going forward," he added.

Anderson said the company expects to exceed its employee incentive earnings goal of $1.65 per share -- based on annual ongoing basic earnings. That figure was recently revised upward from $1.60 to reflect the exit of the DENA business.