Alliant Energy Announces First Quarter 2021 Results

05/06/2021 -

MADISON, Wis., May 06, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Alliant Energy Corporation (NASDAQ: LNT) today announced U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (GAAP) and non-GAAP consolidated unaudited earnings per share (EPS) for the three months ended March 31 as follows:

 GAAP EPS Non-GAAP EPS
  2021  2020  2021  2020
Utilities and Corporate Services$0.66   $0.72   $0.66   $0.72  
American Transmission Company (ATC) Holdings 0.03    0.03    0.03    0.03  
Non-utility and Parent (0.01)   (0.05)   (0.01)   (0.03) 
Alliant Energy Consolidated$0.68   $0.70   $0.68   $0.72  

“We had a solid start to the year with more than 25% of our 2021 guidance midpoint coming in the first quarter, and we are reaffirming our 2021 guidance range of $2.50 to $2.64” said John Larsen, Alliant Energy Chair, President and CEO. “We are also excited to have achieved another major milestone in our purpose-driven clean energy transition, receiving approval last month for the first 675 megawatts of our nearly 1,100 megawatt proposed solar expansion in Wisconsin.”

Utilities and Corporate Services - Alliant Energy’s Utilities and Alliant Energy Corporate Services, Inc. (Corporate Services) operations generated $0.66 per share of GAAP EPS in the first quarter of 2021, which was $0.06 per share lower than the first quarter of 2020. The primary drivers of lower EPS were timing of income tax expense, higher depreciation expense and lower allowance for funds used during construction in the first quarter of 2021. These impacts were partially offset by higher earnings resulting from IPL’s and WPL’s increasing rate base and higher electric and gas sales volumes largely caused by colder temperatures in the first quarter of 2021 compared to last year.

Non-utility and Parent - Alliant Energy’s Non-utility and Parent operations generated ($0.01) per share of GAAP EPS in the first quarter of 2021, which was a $0.04 per share earnings increase compared to the first quarter of 2020. The higher EPS was primarily driven by a $0.02 per share credit loss charge in the first quarter of 2020 related to guarantees associated with an affiliate of Whiting Petroleum Corporation (Whiting Petroleum).

Earnings Adjustments - Non-GAAP EPS for the three months ended March 31, 2020 excludes charges of $0.02 per share related to the credit loss charge described above for Alliant Energy’s Non-utility and Parent. Non-GAAP adjustments, which relate to material charges or income that are not normally associated with ongoing operations, are provided as a supplement to results reported in accordance with GAAP.

Details regarding GAAP EPS variances between the first quarters of 2021 and 2020 for Alliant Energy are as follows:

 Variance
Higher revenue requirements primarily due to increasing rate base $0.08  
Timing of income tax expense (0.05) 
Higher depreciation expense (0.05) 
Lower allowance for funds used during construction (0.05) 
Estimated temperature impact on retail electric and gas sales 0.04  
Equity dilution (0.02) 
Credit loss charge on guarantees for affiliate of Whiting Petroleum in 2020 0.02  
Other 0.01  
Total ($0.02) 

Higher revenue requirements primarily due to increasing rate base - In 2020, IPL received a final order from the Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) to increase annual rates for its Iowa retail electric customers based on a 2020 forward-looking Test Period. Effective with the implementation of final rates covering the 2020 forward-looking Test Period on February 26, 2020, IPL began recovering a return of, as well as earning a return on, its new wind generation placed in service in 2019 and 2020 from its retail electric customers through a renewable energy rider. Other applicable costs and tax benefits associated with the new wind generation, excluding operation and maintenance expenses, are also included in the rider. The renewable energy rider factor is updated on an annual basis using forecasted rate base and costs for the current year. The 2021 renewable energy rider factor includes the full impact of the wind expansion completed in 2020, resulting in increased earnings for 2021. IPL recognized a $0.04 per share increase in the first quarter of 2021 due to the higher revenue requirements from increasing rate base related to the new wind generation and electric distribution investments. This increasing rate base at IPL also resulted in higher depreciation expense and lower allowance for funds used during construction in the first quarter 2021.

In December 2020, the Public Service Commission of Wisconsin issued an order authorizing WPL to maintain its current retail electric and gas base rates, authorized return on equity, regulatory capital structure and earnings sharing mechanism through the end of 2021. WPL will utilize anticipated fuel-related cost savings and excess deferred income tax benefits in 2021 to offset the revenue requirement impacts of increasing electric and gas rate base. WPL recognized a $0.04 per share increase in the first quarter of 2021 due to higher revenue requirements from increasing electric and gas rate base. This increasing rate base at WPL was primarily attributable to its Kossuth wind farm, which was placed in service in October 2020, and the expansion of its gas distribution system in Western Wisconsin, which was placed in service in November 2020. This increasing rate base at WPL also resulted in higher depreciation expense and lower allowance for funds used during construction in the first quarter 2021.

Timing of income tax expense - Income tax expense is recorded each quarter based on an estimated annual effective tax rate and the proportion of full year earnings generated each quarter, which is expected to cause fluctuations in the amount of tax expense quarter-over-quarter throughout 2021. In the first quarter of 2021, the timing variance impact was a decrease of $0.05 per share compared to the first quarter of 2020. The timing variance is expected to be reversed by the end of the year.

Estimated temperature impact on retail electric and gas sales - Alliant Energy’s retail electric and gas sales modestly increased in the first quarter of 2021 due to impacts of colder than normal temperatures on customer demand. The estimated temperature impacts on retail electric and gas sales was a $0.01 per share increase in the first quarter of 2021, compared to a $0.03 per share decrease in the first quarter of 2020.

Credit loss charge on guarantees for affiliate of Whiting Petroleum in 2020 - A wholly-owned subsidiary of Alliant Energy continues to guarantee the partnership obligations of an affiliate of Whiting Petroleum under multiple general partnership agreements. The partnership obligations include costs associated with the future abandonment of certain facilities owned by the partnerships. Alliant Energy recorded a $0.02 per share charge in the first quarter of 2020 related to expected credit losses related to the guarantees.

2021 Earnings Guidance

Alliant Energy’s consolidated EPS guidance of $2.50 - $2.64 for 2021 remains unchanged. Drivers for Alliant Energy’s 2021 earnings guidance include, but are not limited to:

  • Ability of IPL and WPL to earn their authorized rates of return
  • Stable economy and resulting implications on utility sales
  • Normal temperatures in its utility service territories
  • Execution of cost controls
  • Execution of capital expenditure and financing plans
  • Consolidated effective tax rate of (19%)

The 2021 earnings guidance does not include the impacts of any material non-cash valuation adjustments, regulatory-related charges or credits, reorganizations or restructurings, future changes in laws, regulations or regulatory policies, adjustments made to deferred tax assets and liabilities from valuation allowances, changes in credit loss liabilities related to guarantees, pending lawsuits and disputes, federal and state income tax audits and other Internal Revenue Service proceedings, or changes in GAAP and tax methods of accounting that may impact the reported results of Alliant Energy.

Earnings Conference Call

A conference call to review the first quarter 2021 results is scheduled for Friday, May 7th at 9:00 a.m. central time. Alliant Energy Chair, President and Chief Executive Officer John Larsen, and Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Robert Durian will host the call. The conference call is open to the public and can be accessed in two ways. Interested parties may listen to the call by dialing 888-394-8218 (United States or Canada) or 323-794-2149 (International), passcode 4175543. Interested parties may also listen to a webcast at www.alliantenergy.com/investors. In conjunction with the information in this earnings announcement and the conference call, Alliant Energy posted supplemental materials on its website. A replay of the call will be available through May 14, 2021, at 888-203-1112 (United States or Canada) or 719-457-0820 (International), passcode 4175543. An archive of the webcast will be available on the Company’s Web site at www.alliantenergy.com/investors for 12 months.

About Alliant Energy Corporation

Alliant Energy is the parent company of two public utility companies - Interstate Power and Light Company and Wisconsin Power and Light Company - and of Alliant Energy Finance, LLC, the parent company of Alliant Energy’s non-utility operations. Alliant Energy is an energy-services provider with utility subsidiaries serving approximately 975,000 electric and 420,000 natural gas customers. Providing its customers in the Midwest with regulated electricity and natural gas service is the Company’s primary focus. Alliant Energy, headquartered in Madison, Wisconsin, is a component of the S&P 500 and is traded on the Nasdaq Global Select Market under the symbol LNT. For more information, visit the Company’s Web site at www.alliantenergy.com.

Forward-Looking Statements

This press release includes forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements can be identified by words such as “forecast,” “expect,” “guidance,” or other words of similar import. Similarly, statements that describe future financial performance or plans or strategies are forward-looking statements. Such forward looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, such statements. Actual results could be materially affected by the following factors, among others:

  • the direct or indirect effects resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic on sales volumes, margins, operations, employees, contractors, vendors, the ability to complete construction projects, supply chains, customers’ inability to pay bills, suspension of disconnects, the market value of the assets that fund pension plans and the potential for additional funding requirements, the ability of counterparties to meet their obligations, compliance with regulatory requirements, the ability to implement regulatory plans, economic conditions and access to capital markets;
  • the impact of penalties or third-party claims related to, or in connection with, a failure to maintain the security of personally identifiable information, including associated costs to notify affected persons and to mitigate their information security concerns;
  • the direct or indirect effects resulting from terrorist incidents, including physical attacks and cyber attacks, or responses to such incidents;
  • the impact of customer- and third party-owned generation, including alternative electric suppliers, in IPL’s and WPL’s service territories on system reliability, operating expenses and customers’ demand for electricity;
  • the impact of energy efficiency, franchise retention and customer disconnects on sales volumes and margins;
  • the impact that price changes may have on IPL’s and WPL’s customers’ demand for electric, gas and steam services and their ability to pay their bills;
  • IPL’s and WPL’s ability to obtain adequate and timely rate relief to allow for, among other things, the recovery of and/or the return on costs, including fuel costs, operating costs, transmission costs, deferred expenditures, deferred tax assets, tax expense, capital expenditures, and remaining costs related to electric generating units (EGUs) that may be permanently closed and certain other retired assets, decreases in sales volumes, earning their authorized rates of return, and the payments to their parent of expected levels of dividends;
  • federal and state regulatory or governmental actions, including the impact of legislation, and regulatory agency orders;
  • the ability to utilize tax credits and net operating losses generated to date, and those that may be generated in the future, before they expire;
  • the impacts of changes in tax rates, including minimum tax rates, and adjustments made to deferred tax assets and liabilities;
  • employee workforce factors, including changes in key executives, ability to hire and retain employees with specialized skills, ability to create desired corporate culture, collective bargaining agreements and negotiations, work stoppages or restructurings;
  • any material post-closing payments related to any past asset divestitures, including the sale of Whiting Petroleum, which could result from, among other things, indemnification agreements, warranties, guarantees or litigation;
  • weather effects on results of utility operations;
  • issues associated with environmental remediation and environmental compliance, including compliance with all environmental and emissions permits, the Coal Combustion Residuals rule, future changes in environmental laws and regulations, including federal, state or local regulations for carbon dioxide emissions reductions from new and existing fossil-fueled EGUs, and litigation associated with environmental requirements;
  • increased pressure from customers, investors and other stakeholders to more rapidly reduce carbon dioxide emissions;
  • the ability to defend against environmental claims brought by state and federal agencies, such as the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, state natural resources agencies or third parties, such as the Sierra Club, and the impact on operating expenses of defending and resolving such claims;
  • continued access to the capital markets on competitive terms and rates, and the actions of credit rating agencies;
  • inflation and interest rates;
  • the ability to complete construction of solar generation projects within the cost targets set by regulators and the ability to efficiently utilize the solar generation project tax benefits for the benefit of customers;
  • changes in the price of delivered natural gas, transmission, purchased electricity and coal due to shifts in supply and demand caused by market conditions and regulations;
  • disruptions in the supply and delivery of natural gas, purchased electricity and coal;
  • the direct or indirect effects resulting from breakdown or failure of equipment in the operation of electric and gas distribution systems, such as mechanical problems and explosions or fires, and compliance with electric and gas transmission and distribution safety regulations, including regulations promulgated by the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration;
  • issues related to the availability and operations of EGUs, including start-up risks, breakdown or failure of equipment, performance below expected or contracted levels of output or efficiency, operator error, employee safety, transmission constraints, compliance with mandatory reliability standards and risks related to recovery of resulting incremental costs through rates;
  • impacts that excessive heat, excessive cold, storms or natural disasters may have on Alliant Energy’s, IPL’s and WPL’s operations and recovery of costs associated with restoration activities or on the operations of Alliant Energy’s investments;
  • Alliant Energy’s ability to sustain its dividend payout ratio goal;
  • changes to costs of providing benefits and related funding requirements of pension and other postretirement benefits plans due to the market value of the assets that fund the plans, economic conditions, financial market performance, interest rates, timing and form of benefits payments, life expectancies and demographics;
  • material changes in employee-related benefit and compensation costs;
  • risks associated with operation and ownership of non-utility holdings;
  • changes in technology that alter the channels through which customers buy or utilize Alliant Energy’s, IPL’s or WPL’s products and services;
  • impacts on equity income from unconsolidated investments from valuations and potential changes to ATC LLC’s authorized return on equity;
  • impacts of IPL’s future tax benefits from Iowa rate-making practices, including deductions for repairs expenditures, allocation of mixed service costs and state depreciation, and recoverability of the associated regulatory assets from customers, when the differences reverse in future periods;
  • changes to the creditworthiness of counterparties with which Alliant Energy, IPL and WPL have contractual arrangements, including participants in the energy markets and fuel suppliers and transporters;
  • current or future litigation, regulatory investigations, proceedings or inquiries;
  • reputational damage from negative publicity, protests, fines, penalties and other negative consequences resulting in regulatory and/or legal actions;
  • the effect of accounting standards issued periodically by standard-setting bodies;
  • the ability to successfully complete tax audits and changes in tax accounting methods with no material impact on earnings and cash flows; and
  • other factors listed in the “2021 Earnings Guidance” sections of this press release.

For more information about potential factors that could affect Alliant Energy’s business and financial results, refer to Alliant Energy’s most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission (“SEC”), including the section therein titled “Risk Factors,” and its other filings with the SEC.

Without limitation, the expectations with respect to 2021 earnings guidance in this press release are forward-looking statements and are based in part on certain assumptions made by Alliant Energy, some of which are referred to in the forward-looking statements. Alliant Energy cannot provide any assurance that the assumptions referred to in the forward-looking statements or otherwise are accurate or will prove to be correct. Any assumptions that are inaccurate or do not prove to be correct could have a material adverse effect on Alliant Energy’s ability to achieve the estimates or other targets included in the forward-looking statements. The forward-looking statements included herein are made as of the date hereof and, except as required by law, Alliant Energy undertakes no obligation to update publicly such statements to reflect subsequent events or circumstances.

Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures

To provide investors with additional information regarding Alliant Energy’s financial results, this press release includes reference to certain non-GAAP financial measures. These measures include income and EPS for the three months ended March 31, 2020 excluding a credit loss charge on guarantees for an affiliate of Whiting Petroleum. Alliant Energy believes this non-GAAP financial measure is useful to investors because it provides an alternate measure to better understand and compare across periods the operating performance of Alliant Energy without the distortion of items that management believes are not normally associated with ongoing operations, and also provides additional information about Alliant Energy’s operations on a basis consistent with the measures that management uses to manage its operations and evaluate its performance. Alliant Energy’s management also uses income, as adjusted, to determine performance-based compensation.

In addition, Alliant Energy included in this press release IPL; WPL; Corporate Services; Utilities and Corporate Services; ATC Holdings; and Non-utility and Parent EPS for the three months ended March 31, 2021 and 2020. Alliant Energy believes these non-GAAP financial measures are useful to investors because they facilitate an understanding of segment performance and trends, and provide additional information about Alliant Energy’s operations on a basis consistent with the measures that management uses to manage its operations and evaluate its performance.

This press release references year-over-year variances in utility electric margins and utility gas margins. Utility electric margins and utility gas margins are non-GAAP financial measures that will be reported and reconciled to the most directly comparable GAAP measure, operating income, in our first quarter 2021 Form 10-Q.

The tax impact adjustment represents the impact of the tax effect of the pre-tax non-GAAP adjustment excluded from non-GAAP net income. The tax impact of the non-GAAP adjustment is calculated based on the estimated consolidated statutory tax rate.

Reconciliations of the non-GAAP financial measures included in this press release to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures are included in the earnings summaries that follow.

Note: Unless otherwise noted, all “per share” references in this release refer to earnings per diluted share.

ALLIANT ENERGY CORPORATION
EARNINGS SUMMARY (Unaudited)

The following tables provide a summary of Alliant Energy’s results for the three months ended March 31:

EPS:Three Months
 GAAP EPS Adjustments Non-GAAP EPS
  2021  2020  2021  2020  2021  2020
IPL$0.31   $0.34    $—    $—  $0.31   $0.34  
WPL 0.34    0.37    —       0.34    0.37  
Corporate Services 0.01    0.01    —       0.01    0.01  
Subtotal for Utilities and Corporate Services 0.66    0.72    —       0.66    0.72  
ATC Holdings 0.03    0.03    —       0.03    0.03  
Non-utility and Parent (0.01)   (0.05)   —    0.02   (0.01)   (0.03) 
Alliant Energy Consolidated$0.68   $0.70    $—   $0.02  $0.68   $0.72  
                            


Earnings (in millions):Three Months
 GAAP Income (Loss) Adjustments Non-GAAP Income (Loss)
  2021  2020  2021  2020  2021  2020
IPL$79   $83    $—    $—  $79   $83  
WPL 84    90    —       84    90  
Corporate Services 3    2    —       3    2  
Subtotal for Utilities and Corporate Services 166    175    —       166    175  
ATC Holdings 8    8    —       8    8  
Non-utility and Parent (3)   (13)   —    6   (3)   (7) 
Alliant Energy Consolidated$171   $170    $—   $6  $171   $176  
                            

Adjusted, or non-GAAP, earnings for the three months ended March 31 do not include the following item that was included in the reported GAAP earnings:

 Non-GAAP Income Non-GAAP
 Adjustments (in millions) EPS Adjustments
  2021  2020  2021  2020
Non-utility and Parent:       
Credit loss charge on guarantees for an affiliate of Whiting Petroleum, net of tax impacts of $2 million $— $6  $— $0.02
            


ALLIANT ENERGY CORPORATION
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME (Unaudited)
  
 Three Months Ended March 31,
  2021   2020 
 (in millions, except per share amounts)
Revenues:   
Electric utility$701  $730 
Gas utility 170   152 
Other utility 13   12 
Non-utility 17   22 
  901   916 
Operating expenses:   
Electric production fuel and purchased power 133   184 
Electric transmission service 134   122 
Cost of gas sold 100   85 
Other operation and maintenance 146   163 
Depreciation and amortization 164   146 
Taxes other than income taxes 26   28 
  703   728 
Operating income 198   188 
Other (income) and deductions:   
Interest expense 69   69 
Equity income from unconsolidated investments, net (15)  (13)
Allowance for funds used during construction (4)  (23)
Other 2   1 
  52   34 
Income before income taxes 146   154 
Income tax benefit (28)  (19)
Net income 174   173 
Preferred dividend requirements of IPL 3   3 
Net income attributable to Alliant Energy common shareowners$171  $170 
Weighted average number of common shares outstanding:   
Basic 250.0   244.4 
Diluted 250.4   244.6 
Earnings per weighted average common share attributable to Alliant Energy common shareowners (basic and diluted)$0.68  $0.70 
        


ALLIANT ENERGY CORPORATION
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS (Unaudited)
    
 March 31,
2021
 December 31,
2020
 (in millions)
ASSETS:   
Current assets:   
Cash and cash equivalents$14  $54 
Other current assets 741   833 
Property, plant and equipment, net 14,353   14,336 
Investments 494   485 
Other assets 1,992   2,002 
Total assets$17,594  $17,710 
LIABILITIES AND EQUITY:   
Current liabilities:   
Current maturities of long-term debt$308  $8 
Commercial paper 336   389 
Other current liabilities 764   900 
Long-term debt, net (excluding current portion) 6,471   6,769 
Other liabilities 3,749   3,756 
Equity:   
Alliant Energy Corporation common equity 5,766   5,688 
Cumulative preferred stock of Interstate Power and Light Company 200   200 
Total equity 5,966   5,888 
Total liabilities and equity$17,594  $17,710 
        


ALLIANT ENERGY CORPORATION
CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS (Unaudited)
    
 Three Months Ended March 31,
  2021   2020 
 (in millions)
Cash flows from operating activities:   
Cash flows from operating activities excluding accounts receivable sold to a third party$272  $283 
Accounts receivable sold to a third party (127)  (123)
Net cash flows from operating activities 145   160 
Cash flows used for investing activities:   
Construction and acquisition expenditures:   
Utility business (214)  (278)
Other (17)  (11)
Cash receipts on sold receivables 209   123 
Other (16)  (13)
Net cash flows used for investing activities (38)  (179)
Cash flows from (used for) financing activities:   
Common stock dividends (102)  (93)
Proceeds from issuance of common stock, net 8   228 
Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt    300 
Payments to retire long-term debt    (300)
Net change in commercial paper and other short-term borrowings (53)  (67)
Other 2   (8)
Net cash flows from (used for) financing activities (145)  60 
Net increase (decrease) in cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash (38)  41 
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at beginning of period 56   18 
Cash, cash equivalents and restricted cash at end of period$18  $59 
        

KEY FINANCIAL AND OPERATING STATISTICS

 March 31, 2021 March 31, 2020
Common shares outstanding (000s) 250,135   249,504 
Book value per share$23.05  $22.05 
Quarterly common dividend rate per share$0.4025  $0.38 
        


 Three Months Ended March 31,
  2021   2020 
Utility electric sales (000s of megawatt-hours)   
Residential 1,878   1,808 
Commercial 1,560   1,556 
Industrial 2,618   2,592 
Industrial - co-generation customers 216   169 
Retail subtotal 6,272   6,125 
Sales for resale:   
Wholesale 686   615 
Bulk power and other 385   1,264 
Other 19   18 
Total 7,362   8,022 
Utility retail electric customers (at March 31)   
Residential 830,540   824,670 
Commercial 143,872   143,243 
Industrial 2,471   2,470 
Total 976,883   970,383 
Utility gas sold and transported (000s of dekatherms)   
Residential 13,731   13,167 
Commercial 8,611   7,862 
Industrial 1,089   993 
Retail subtotal 23,431   22,022 
Transportation / other 24,690   28,816 
Total 48,121   50,838 
Utility retail gas customers (at March 31)   
Residential 376,341   373,693 
Commercial 44,564   44,648 
Industrial 346   354 
Total 421,251   418,695 
    
Estimated margin increases (decreases) from impacts of temperatures (in millions) -
 Three Months Ended March 31,
  2021   2020 
Electric margins$3   ($6)
Gas margins 2   (3)
Total temperature impact on margins$5   ($9)
        


 Three Months Ended March 31,
 2021 2020 Normal
Heating degree days (HDDs) (a)     
Cedar Rapids, Iowa (IPL)3,606 3,176 3,432
Madison, Wisconsin (WPL)3,599 3,222 3,522


(a)HDDs are calculated using a simple average of the high and low temperatures each day compared to a 65 degree base. Normal degree days are calculated using a rolling 20-year average of historical HDDs.


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Investor Relations: Susan Gille (608) 458-3956