(By Balaseshan) UBS Securities analysts Julien Dumoulin-Smith and Jim von Riesemann upgraded their rating on shares of Genon Energy Inc. (NYSE:GEN) to "Neutral" from "Sell", saying shares reflect capacity auction negativity.
The brokerage lowered its price target to $1.50 from $1.75.
Genon shares are down nearly 44.8% year-to-date, dramatically underperforming the broader market and independent power producer (IPP) peers Calpine Corp. (NYSE:CPN) up 0.7%, and NRG Energy (NYSE:NRG) down 16.3%.
Smith and Riesemann believe much of this underperformance can be tied to PJM's underwhelming capacity auction results for 2015/16 auction held in May. They believe forthcoming petitions filed by generators could yet support shares.
Following recent comments at Exelon Corp.'s (NYSE:EXC) Analyst Day around PJM minimum offer price rule (MOPR) exemption rules, the analysts believe that the market monitor and power generators such as EXC will re-file complaints or propose modifications to the existing MOPR tariffs.
Smith and Riesemann also believe a (positive) decision on the Federal District Court case over New Jersey's long-term capacity agreement pilot program (LCAPP) legislation could be forthcoming in the near term. Both events could provide positive headlines for PJM generators and a floor to GEN shares.
The analysts continue to see the upcoming EXC/Constellation Energy Group Inc.(NYSE:CEG) divestiture of its MD coal plants as a neg. key read through for GEN; particularly around the neg. implications should the winner in fact be NRG, who had been contemplating a potential GEN acquisition.
The analysts explicitly add about $100 million synergy benefit in a potential deal, reflecting widespread market expectations for an eventual transaction. Without the support of a potential transaction, they believe shares could trade between $0.50-$1.00/share.
Genon is a wholesale generator with about 23,700 mega-watts of net electric generating capacity located near metropolitan load centers in the PJM Interconnection, LLC (PJM), Midwest Independent Transmission System Operator (MISO), Northeast and Southeast regions, and California.
GEN is trading down 2.14% at $1.37 on Wednesday.