Allentown, Pa. -- PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) last week announced their 2019 reported earnings (GAAP) of $1.75 billion, or $2.37 per share, compared with $1.83 billion, or $2.58 per share, in 2018.
The year-over-year decrease in reported earnings reflects special items related to unrealized gains and losses on foreign currency economic hedges.
Adjusting for special items, 2019 earnings from ongoing operations (non-GAAP) were $1.81 billion, or $2.45 per share, compared with 2018 ongoing earnings of $1.71 billion, or $2.40 per share.
The company exceeded the midpoint of its ongoing earnings forecast for the 10th straight year.
"As PPL enters its centennial year, I am proud of the positive impact we continue to make for our shareowners, customers and the communities we serve," said William H. Spence, PPL's chairman and chief executive officer.
"In 2019, we provided electricity and natural gas safely and reliably to more than 10 million customers," said Spence. "We delivered on our earnings commitments and paid more than $1 billion in dividends to shareowners. We invested more than $3 billion to strengthen grid resilience and advance a cleaner energy future. At the same time, we continued to provide award-winning customer satisfaction in each of the regions we serve by leveraging technology to improve service for our customers."
Looking ahead, Spence said the company plans to build on this momentum and extend its track record of operational excellence. He said PPL is committed to its long-term strategy to deliver best-in-sector operational performance, invest responsibly in a sustainable energy future, provide a superior customer experience, maintain a strong financial foundation, and engage and develop its people.
In addition to announcing fourth-quarter and 2019 earnings, the company announced a 2020 earnings forecast range of $2.40 to $2.60 per share, with a midpoint of $2.50 per share. PPL also updated its 2021 guidance range to $2.40 to $2.60 per share from the prior range of $2.50 to $2.80 per share, reflecting lower expected foreign currency exchange rate forecasts.
The company said it plans to invest about $14 billion across its U.S. and U.K. businesses over the next five years as it continues to make the grid smarter and more resilient and as it reshapes electricity networks to reliably and efficiently enable more distributed energy resources, including solar power and energy storage.
PPL also announced it has set a more aggressive carbon reduction goal of at least 80% from 2010 levels by 2050 and has accelerated its previous 70% goal by 10 years to 2040. PPL expects to achieve the reductions through a variety of actions. These include replacing Kentucky coal-fired generation over time with a mix of renewables and natural gas while meeting obligations to provide least-cost and reliable service to customers. In addition, the actions include steps across PPL's U.S. and U.K. businesses to improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions from vehicle fleets and substations.
Spence said the company believes its carbon reduction goals are both achievable and in the best interests of customers. He said the announced changes reflect the company's ongoing resource planning in Kentucky, including updated forecasts of energy costs. PPL's Kentucky subsidiary recently executed contracts to purchase up to 100 megawatts of solar energy. These contracts are pending regulatory approval.
On Friday (2/14), the company also demonstrated its continued commitment to dividend growth, announcing that it is increasing its common stock dividend to $0.4150 per share on a quarterly basis. The increased dividend will be payable April 1 to shareowners of record as of March 10, 2020. The increase, PPL's 18th in 19 years, raises the annualized dividend from $1.65 per share to $1.66 per share. PPL has paid a dividend in every quarter since 1946.
In addition to announcing its year-end earnings results, PPL reported fourth-quarter 2019 earnings of $364 million, or $0.48 per share, compared with reported earnings of $415 million, or $0.57 per share, in 2018. The decrease in reported earnings primarily reflects special items related to unrealized gains and losses on foreign currency economic hedges. Adjusting for special items, fourth-quarter 2019 earnings from ongoing operations were $431 million, or $0.57 per share, compared with $382 million, or $0.52 per share, in 2018.
Read the entire PPL Corporation release here