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Southern Company reports fourth-quarter and full-year 2021 results

Southern Company today reported a fourth-quarter 2021 loss of $215 million, or 20 cents per share, compared with earnings of $387 million, or 37 cents per share, in the fourth quarter of 2020.  Southern Company also reported full-year 2021 earnings of $2.39 billion, or $2.26 per share, compared with earnings of $3.12 billion, or $2.95 per share, in 2020.

Excluding the items described under “Net Income – Excluding Items” in the table below, Southern Company earned $380 million, or 36 cents per share, during the fourth quarter of 2021, compared with $497 million, or 47 cents per share, during the fourth quarter of 2020.  For the full-year 2021, excluding these items, Southern Company earned $3.62 billion, or $3.41 per share, compared with $3.44 billion, or $3.25 per share, for 2020.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

 

Three Months Ended December

 

Year-to-Date December

Net Income - Excluding Items (in millions)

 

2021

2020

 

2021

2020

Net Income (Loss) - As Reported

 

$(215)

$387

 

$2,393

$3,119

Less:

 

 

 

 

 

 

   Estimated Loss on Plants Under Construction

 

(924)

(177)

 

(1,703)

(328)

  Tax Impact

 

235

45

 

433

84

   Acquisition and Disposition Impacts

 

89

22

 

209

60

  Tax Impact

 

22

(6)

 

(90)

(22)

   Wholesale Gas Services

 

-

78

 

18

17

       Tax Impact

 

-

(19)

 

(3)

(3)

   Asset Impairments

 

-

(52)

 

(91)

(206)

       Tax Impact

 

-

21

 

19

101

   Loss on Extinguishment of Debt

 

(23)

(29)

 

(23)

(29)

       Tax Impact

 

6

7

 

6

7

Net Income – Excluding Items

 

$380

$497

 

$3,618

$3,438

       Average Shares Outstanding – (in millions)                     

 

1,062

1,058

 

1,061

1,058

Basic Earnings Per Share – Excluding Items

 

$0.36

$0.47

 

$3.41

$3.25

NOTE: For more information regarding these non-GAAP adjustments, see the footnotes accompanying the Financial Highlights page of the earnings package.

Adjusted earnings drivers for the full year 2021, as compared with 2020, were strong customer usage, as well as robust customer growth and constructive state regulatory actions. These impacts were partially offset by higher non-fuel operations and maintenance costs as the emerging economic recovery resulted in a continuing return to more normal business operations. Additionally, as reported earnings for 2021 were also significantly impacted by after-tax charges totaling $1.3 billion related to Georgia Power’s construction of Plant Vogtle units 3 and 4.

Fourth-quarter 2021 operating revenues were $5.8 billion, compared with $5.1 billion for the fourth quarter of 2020, an increase of 12.7 percent. Operating revenues for the full year were $23.1 billion, compared with $20.4 billion in 2020, an increase of 13.4 percent. These increases were primarily due to higher fuel costs and the negative impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on energy sales being more severe in 2020.

“2021 was an excellent year and we believe we are well-positioned to carry that momentum into 2022,” said Chairman, President and CEO, Thomas A. Fanning. “We have a solid financial outlook for 2022 and beyond, driven by continued investment in our premier, state-regulated electric and gas utility franchises that continue to be among our industry’s leaders for operational performance and customer satisfaction. As further evidence that we are poised for sustainable progress, we have been ranked number two in the United States in Forbes Magazine’s 2022 list of America’s Best Large Employers, based on input from our employees,” added Fanning.

Southern Company’s adjusted earnings guidance range for 2022 is $3.50 to $3.60 per share. In the first quarter of 2022, management estimates Southern Company adjusted earnings per share will be 90 cents. Management continues to project a long-term adjusted earnings per share growth rate for Southern Company in the 5% to 7% range, consistent with adjusted earnings in a range of $4.00 to $4.30 per share in 2024.

Southern Company’s fourth-quarter earnings slides with supplemental financial information are available at http://investor.southerncompany.com.

Southern Company’s financial analyst call will begin at 1 p.m. Eastern Time today, during which Fanning and Chief Financial Officer Daniel S. Tucker will discuss earnings and provide a general business update, including an update on the Vogtle units 3 and 4 construction project and earnings guidance. Investors, media and the public may listen to a live webcast of the call and view associated slides at https://investor.southerncompany.com/events-and-presentations/default.aspx. A replay of the webcast will be available on the site for 12 months.

 

Forward-Looking Non-GAAP Financial Information

This release includes projected adjusted earnings per share for future periods excluding: additional acquisition and disposition impacts, any future charges associated with Mississippi Power Company's integrated coal gasification combined cycle facility project in Kemper County, Mississippi and/or the construction of Plant Vogtle Units 3 and 4, any future asset impairment charges and additional costs associated with the extinguishment of debt at Southern Company and its non-state regulated subsidiaries. Information concerning the magnitude of the impacts, if any, from these items on earnings per share is not available at this time. Accordingly, this release does not include a quantitative reconciliation of projected adjusted earnings per share (which is a forward-looking non-GAAP financial measure) because doing so would involve unreasonable efforts.