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PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY REPORTS INCREASED FISCAL 1992 EARNINGS

 PUBLIC SERVICE COMPANY REPORTS INCREASED FISCAL 1992 EARNINGS
 GASTONIA, N.C., Nov. 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Public Service Company of North Carolina, Inc. (NASDAQ-NMS: PSNC), a natural gas utility, today reported operating results for the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 1992. Earnings per share were $1.63 as compared to $1.05 for fiscal 1991. This 55 percent increase in earnings per share reflected the effects of market growth, cooler weather and the effects of a general rate increase in November 1991, which included a weather normalization adjustment mechanism.
 Gross margin for fiscal 1992 was $110.0 million, an $18.7 million or 20 percent increase as compared to $91.3 million for fiscal 1991. This resulted from operating revenues for fiscal 1992 of $240.4 million, an increase of $47.2 million over fiscal 1991, and cost of gas of $130.4 million, an increase of $28.5 million over fiscal 1991. Other operating expenses and taxes increased $12.2 million or 18 percent to $79.4 million. This increase, combined with a decrease in other income and increased interest expense produced net income for the current fiscal year of $16.8 million, a $6.2 million or 58 percent increase over the prior fiscal year.
 The increased gross margin was due to larger quantities of natural gas sold for heating requirements to higher-margin residential and small commercial customers. The increase in quantities of 16 percent and 29 percent, respectively, was due to an increase in the respective customer bases of 5 percent and 4 percent, and due to weather that was 17 percent colder than in the prior fiscal year. Throughput to lower-margin industrial and large commercial customers was flat as compared to fiscal 1991. Gross margin was also impacted by a general rate increase effective Nov. 1, 1991. The rate order from the North Carolina Utilities Commission granted increased annual revenues of $5.3 million based on a 12.90 percent return on common equity and 11.10 percent on utility plant. The order also created a weather normalization adjustment mechanism which allows the company to adjust its weather-sensitive, higher-margin rates to offset the effects of abnormal weather during the Nov. 1 to April 30 winter period. This mechanism contributed $5.2 million to gross margin in fiscal 1992.
 The increase in other operating expenses and taxes was due to several items. Operating and maintenance expenses increased $5.1 million or 13 percent as compared to fiscal 1991; approximately $1.3 million of this amount was due to non-recurring expenses. Depreciation expense increased $0.9 million or 7 percent due to $31.1 million of plant additions during the fiscal year, and general taxes increased $1.9 million or 18 percent due mainly to increased gross receipts taxes based on increased revenues. The remaining increase in other operating expenses and taxes was due to a $4.4 million or 74 percent increase in income tax expense. The decrease in other income reflects the effect of lower oil and gas prices on the operating results of the Company's exploration and development subsidiaries and increased losses in merchandise and jobbing operations.
 Public Service Company distributes natural gas to over 246,000 customers in 87 cities, towns and communities in a 26-county service territory ranging from the Raleigh, Durham and Chapel Hill areas in the northeast; the Concord, Statesville, Gastonia and Forest City areas in the Piedmont; to the Asheville, Hendersonville and Brevard areas in the western part of the state. Public Service Company, through its subsidiaries also participates in oil and gas exploration and production, and retails propane gas.
 COMPARATIVE RESULTS
 (Amounts in Thousands, Except Raleigh/Durham Degree Day
 and Per Share Data)
 Three Months Twelve Months
 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Periods Ended Sept. 30:
 Normal degree days 18 18 3,374 3,356
 Actual degree days 16 24 3,181 2,726
 Percent of normal 89pct. 133pct. 94pct. 81pct.
 Total volume
 throughput (DT) 8,306 8,499 54,857 50,473
 Revenues $30,361 $24,444 $240,403 $193,238
 Gross margin $13,657 $12,892 $110,003 $ 91,326
 Operating income $ (574) $ 521 $ 30,647 $ 24,159
 Net income $(4,349) $(3,137) $ 16,750 $ 10,590
 Earnings for common $(4,372) $(3,164) $ 16,654 $ 10,479
 Average common shares 10,359 10,050 10,248 9,952
 Earnings per share $ (.42) $ (.31) $ 1.63 $ 1.05
 Cash dividends declared
 per share $ .285 $ .275 $ 1.12 $ 1.10
 Note: Degree day information for the twelve months reflects an additional day for leap year in 1992.
 -0- 11/3/92
 /CONTACT: Charles E. Zeigler, Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer, Public Service Company of North Carolina, 704-864-6731/
 (PSNC) CO: Public Service Company of North Carolina, Inc. ST: North Carolina IN: UTI SU: ERN


MM -- CH002 -- 1968 11/03/92 10:03 EST
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Date:Nov 3, 1992
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