Xcel Energy’s third-quarter profit rose 7 percent as the company beat stock analysts’ expectations.
The Minneapolis-based utility on Thursday posted earnings of $492 million, or 97 cents a share, up from $458 million, or 90 cents a share, for the same time a year ago. The Zacks consensus earnings forecast was 92 cents a share.
The increase was driven by electricity rate increases — including in Minnesota — combined with reduced operating and maintenance expenses and other factors.
“We’re very pleased to report another solid quarter,” Chief Executive Ben Fowke told stock analysts in a conference call.
Xcel said it now expects full-year profit to be in a range of $2.27 to $2.32 a share, a narrowing from its previous range of $2.25 to $2.35. The company also raised its long-term earnings growth rate target from 4 to 6 percent to a range of 5 to 6 percent. And Xcel established profit guidance for 2018 of $2.37 to $2.47 a share.
Xcel recorded third-quarter revenue of $3.02 billion, down from $3.04 billion a year ago and below the Zacks estimate of $3.19 billion. Revenue fell partly because of unfavorable weather combined with less energy use per customer. Still, revenue for the first nine months of 2017 is up 2.9 percent over the same time a year ago.
Xcel is the largest utility in Minnesota and Colorado and also serves parts of Wisconsin, the Dakotas, Texas, New Mexico and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The company’s stock closed Thursday at $49.05, down 33 cents.