PPL Corp. :PPL-US: Earnings Analysis: 2016 By the Numbers : February 2, 2017

PPL Corp. reports financial results for the year ended December 31, 2016.

We analyze the earnings along side the following peers of PPL Corp. – American Electric Power Company, Inc. and NextEra Energy, Inc. (AEP-US and NEE-US) that have also reported for this period.


  • Gross margins widened from 41.09% to 44.55% compared to the same period last year, operating (EBITDA) margins now 53.93% from 49.72%.
  • Year-on-year change in operating cash flow of 10.52% is about the same as the change in earnings, likely no significant movement in accruals or reserves.
  • Earnings growth from operating margin improvements as well as one-time items.

The table below shows the preliminary results and recent trends for key metrics such as revenues and net income growth:

2016 2015 2014 2013 2012
Relevant Numbers (Annual)
Revenues 7517 7669 12821 11657 8131
Revenue Growth (YOY) N/A N/A N/A N/A N/A
Earnings 1902 1601 1428 1122 1518
Earnings Growth (YOY) 18.8 12.11 27.27 -26.09 2.08
Net Margin 25.3 20.88 11.14 9.63 18.67
EPS 2.79 2.32 2.61 1.76 2.6
Return on Equity 19.19 13.6 10.95 9.77 14.06
Return on Assets 4.9 3.63 3 2.5 3.52

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Earnings Growth Analysis

The company’s earnings growth was influenced by year-on-year improvement in gross margins from 41.09% to 44.55% as well as better cost controls. As a result, operating margins (EBITDA margins) rose from 49.72% to 53.93% compared to the same period last year. For comparison, gross margins were 41.09% and EBITDA margins were 49.72% in the last reporting period.

Gross Margin Versus EBITDA Margin

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Differentiated; Low Cost, Commodity; Low Cost, Commodity; High Cost, Differentiated; High Cost

Cash Versus Earnings – Sustainable Performance?

PPL-US‘s change in operating cash flow of 10.52% compared to the same period last year is about the same as its change in earnings this period. Additionally, this change in operating cash flow is about average among its peer group. This suggests that the company did not use accruals or reserves to manage earnings this period, and that, all else being equal, the earnings number is sustainable.

Operating Cash Flow Growth Versus Earnings Growth

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Cash Flow based Earnings, Likely Non-cash Earnings, Low Cash Flow Base, Likely Undeclared Earnings


The company’s earnings growth has also been influenced by the following factors: (1) Improvements in operating (EBIT) margins from 37.19% to 40.55% and (2) one-time items. The company’s pretax margins are now 33.92% compared to 26.97% for the same period last year.

EBIT Margin Versus PreTax Margin

Quadrant label definitions. Hover to know more

Operation driven Earnings, One-time Favorables, Low Earnings Base, One-time Unfavorables
EBIT Margin History
PreTax Margin History

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Company Profile

PPL Corp. is a holding company, which engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity and sale of gas. It operates through the following segments: United Kingdom (U.K.) Regulated, Kentucky Regulated, and Pennsylvania Regulated. The company was founded in 1920 and is headquartered in Allentown, PA.

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