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 DALLAS, Aug. 11 /PRNewswire/ -- Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE: ATO) today reported record third quarter net income of $1.3 million, or $.17 per share, on operating revenues of $77.2 million, for the quarter ended June 30, 1993. In 1992, the company reported a net loss of $(1.1 million), or $(.15) per share, on operating revenues of $58.4 million for its third quarter. The third quarter is typically unprofitable for natural gas utilities due to the seasonal nature of gas heating sales, though Atmos has shown a profit in five of the last 10 years. Average shares outstanding increased 5.8 percent from the third quarter average in 1992.
 The improved results primarily were due to rate increases implemented earlier in the year, April 1993 weather that was 28 percent colder than April 1992, and an increase in agricultural sales in West Texas because of drier weather.
 Volumes of gas sold and transported by the company during the third quarter increased 33 percent to 28.3 Bcf, compared with 21.3 Bcf last year.
 For the nine months ended June 30, 1993, Atmos reported a 50 percent increase in net income to $18.0 million, or $2.52 per share, on 7.2 million shares outstanding, with operating revenues of $325.7 million. For the nine-month period in 1992, net income was $12.0 million, or $1.76 per share, on 6.8 million shares outstanding, and operating revenues were $281.2 million.
 "The irrigation market provides a unique source of spring and summer revenues, when natural gas sales for heating are low. Rate increases, a return to normal winter weather and improved irrigation sales increased Atmos' earnings for the year to date. The improvement in agricultural sales for irrigation has continued into the fourth quarter," said Charles Vaughan, chairman and chief executive officer. "The company also has added new customers and is experiencing an improved economy in its three-state service area."
 The company is on schedule to complete a special shareholder vote this fall on its previously announced acquisition of Greeley Gas Company of Denver. The Greeley transaction will add about 100,000 customers, increasing Atmos' customer base by nearly 20 percent.
 Atmos expects that FERC Order 636, which unbundles interstate pipeline sales and transportation services, will have little impact on its Texas and Louisiana operations, served almost exclusively from intrastate sources. In Kentucky, the primary gas supply has historically been purchased from interstate pipelines. The company is in the process of replacing pipeline purchases and service with a flexible supply portfolio, which will ensure reliability and market sensitive pricing. The company also has six underground storage fields in Kentucky, which provide additional supply flexibility.
 The board of directors today declared a $.32 per share regular quarterly dividend on Atmos' common stock to be paid Sept. 10, 1993, to shareholders of record on Aug. 25, 1993. Atmos Energy Corporation provides natural gas service to over one-half million customers in Texas, Louisiana and Kentucky through its operating companies: Energas Company, Trans Louisiana Gas Company and Western Kentucky Gas Company.
 Financial Highlights
 (In thousands, except per share data)
 Three months ended June 30 1993 1992
 Operating revenues $ 77,176 $ 58,350
 Net income (loss) 1,255 (1,065)
 Net income (loss) per share .17 (.15)
 Cash dividends per share .32 .31
 Average shares outstanding 7,277 6,879
 Nine months ended June 30 1993 1992
 Operating revenues $325,747 $281,173
 Net income 18,015 12,037
 Net income per share 2.52 1.76
 Cash dividends per share .96 .93
 Average shares outstanding 7,152 6,838
 -0- 8/11/93
 /CONTACT: Margaret Watson, 214-450-4050, or Jack Eversull, (investors) 214-788-3729, both of Atmos Energy Corporation/

CO: Atmos Energy Corporation ST: Texas IN: OIL SU: ERN

WB -- NY051 -- 1638 08/11/93 11:29 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Aug 11, 1993

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