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NEW JERSEY RESOURCES ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER SIX-MONTH EARNINGS

NEW JERSEY RESOURCES ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER SIX-MONTH EARNINGS
 WALL, N.J., April 28 /PRNewswire/ -- New Jersey Resources Corporation (NYSE: NJR) today announced significantly higher earnings for the second fiscal quarter and the six months ended March 31, 1992.
 Consolidated net income for the quarter increased by 34 percent to $20.4 million, compared with $15.2 million for the same period last year. Earnings per share increased by 29 percent to $1.43 in 1992, compared with $1.11 in 1991.
 For the six months ended March 31, 1992, consolidated earnings were $27.2 million, an increase of 40 percent over last year's $19.4 million figure. Earnings per share for the six months increased by 35 percent to $1.92, compared with $1.42 a year ago.
 The higher consolidated earnings were due primarily to improved results of New Jersey Natural Gas Company (NJNG), NJR's principal subsidiary. The utility's earnings improved because of increased sales due to colder weather and continued customer growth, and higher base rates approved by state regulators in February 1991. The company's ability to maintain tight controls over both capital and operating and maintenance spending was also an important factor.
 Although weather for the quarter was 12 percent colder than last year's record warm weather, it was still 2 percent warmer than normal, or the ten-year average. Weather for the October-through-March period was 13 percent colder than last year, but 6 percent warmer than normal. If temperatures had been normal for the six months, earnings would have been higher by about $3.1 million, or 22 cents per share.
 "We are pleased with our financial results; however, we recognize the importance of reducing the earnings volatility associated with weather," said Oliver G. Richard III, NJR chairman and chief executive officer. "In addition, we are continuing to emphasize increased efficiency in all aspects of our operations through strict control over operating and capital costs. The recent expansion of the competitive bidding program for the majority of the utility's capital spending underscores our commitment in this regard."
 NJNG filed for a $15.8 million, or 4.1 percent, base rate increase in August 1991. Included in this filing was a request to implement a weather-normalization clause to eliminate the earnings variability associated with weather.
 NJNG added 4,667 new customers during the first six months, nearly 35 percent of whom converted from other fuels, primarily oil. The utility expects to connect about 7,500 new customers by fiscal year end. Virtually all of new homes constructed in NJNG's service area feature natural gas heat and appliances.
 Commercial Realty & Resources Corp., NJR's commercial real estate development subsidiary, showed improved results due to the continued high occupancy rate of its projects. Earnings of NJR Energy Corporation, the company's oil and gas exploration and development subsidiary, declined because of lower prices and depressed market conditions.
 Richard noted that NJR Energy was not required to write down the value of its reserves at March 31, 1992. He said NJR Energy's emphasis on securing long-term contracts for a significant portion of its reserves has insulated it from much of the volatility associated with prices on the spot market.
 NEW JERSEY RESOURCES CORPORATION
 Consolidated Financial Results
 Periods ended Three Months Six Months
 March 31 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Operating revenues (000) $174,569 $140,055 $283,413 $231,721
 Income before preferred
 stock dividends of
 subsidiary (000) $ 21,009 $ 15,482 $ 28,388 $ 19,852
 Earnings available for
 common stock (000) $ 20,391 $ 15,247 $ 27,153 $ 19,382
 Earnings per common share $1.43 $1.11 $1.92 $1.42
 Average shares
 outstanding (000) 14,216 13,689 14,150 13,644
 -0- 4/28/92
 /CONTACT: Laurence M. Downes, 908-938-1483, or Glenn J. Phillips, 908-938-1112, both of NJNG/
 (NJR) CO: New Jersey Resources Corporation ST: New Jersey IN: UTI SU: ERN


GK -- NY033 -- 3651 04/28/92 10:07 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 28, 1992
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