DTE Energy misses quarterly profit estimates on natgas unit weakness

(Reuters) - Electric and gas utility DTE Energy missed Wall Street estimates for the first-quarter profit, hurt by weakness in its natural gas unit.

Natural gas futures NGc1 plunged about 30% during the quarter, hurting DTE Energy, which distributes, transmits, and sells natural gas to roughly 1.3 million customers in Michigan.

Reported income of the DTE Gas arm, the second largest segment by net income, declined 9.9% to $154 million for the quarter. The company owns and operates 278 storage wells, representing about 34% of the underground working capacity in Michigan.

Its non-utility units' performance also fell sharply from last year. The energy trading division reported income plummeted nearly 100% to $1 million from $138 million a year ago.

DTE Energy Trading unit is an active physical and financial gas, power and environmental marketing company. Fluctuations in commodity prices impact energy companies' trading units.

The Detroit, Michigan-based company reported operating earnings, which excludes certain items, of $1.67 per share for the quarter ended March 31, missing the average analysts' estimate of $1.71 per share, according to LSEG data.

However, it reaffirmed its full-year operating profit outlook of between $6.54 and $6.83 per share.

The company invested over $1 billion during the quarter to upgrade its electric and gas grids, with plans for $4 billion investment this year.

"We are off to a strong start in 2024 as we continue to make investments to modernize our electric system so it is more resilient to increasingly extreme weather and more reliable for our customers," CEO Jerry Norcia said.

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