(Updates with comment from analyst in fourth paragraph.)
Jan. 27 (Bloomberg) -- NextEra Energy Inc., the largest generator of wind and solar power in North America, said fourth- quarter profit more than doubled as its wind turbines produced more electricity.
Net income rose to $667 million, or $1.59 a share, from $263 million, or 63 cents, a year earlier, Juno Beach, Florida- based NextEra said in a statement today. Excluding gains from contracts used to lock in commodity prices, per-share profit was 2 cents more than the average of 14 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Sales rose 13 percent to $3.86 billion. Profit more than quadrupled at its wind and solar unit, rising to $402 million from $73 million, the company said. NextEra’s wind farms generated 580,000 more megawatt-hours in the quarter from the same period a year earlier, according to the statement. The company plans to spend as much as $2.3 billion this year and $1.5 billion in 2013 and 2014 on solar development.
“The wind assets performed stronger than expected and while in the fourth quarter the Florida economy wasn’t fantastic, it didn’t stop them from beating estimates by a few pennies,” David Parker, a Tampa, Florida-based analyst with Robert W. Baird & Co., said in a telephone interview.
Florida Power & Light, NextEra’s utility, sold 2.7 percent less power to retail customers in the fourth quarter because of warmer-than-usual weather. Excluding the effects of weather, power demand rose 1.2 percent at the utility, which added about 25,000 more customers during the quarter.
Warmer Fourth Quarter
Average temperatures in Florida were 67 degrees Fahrenheit (19.4 Celsius) during the fourth quarter, 7.3 percent warmer than the same period a year earlier, according to the National Climatic Data Center.
The company forecast per-share earnings this year of between $4.35 and $4.65.
The earnings were announced before the start of regular trading on U.S. markets. NextEra rose 2 percent to $60.89 at 8:01 a.m. in New York. The shares, which gained 17 percent last year, have 14 buy, 12 hold and one sell recommendation from analysts.
(NextEra will hold a conference call at 9 a.m. New York time, accessible at EVTS <GO>.)
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