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CENTERIOR ENERGY REPORTS FINANCIAL RESULTS

 INDEPENDENCE, Ohio, Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Centerior Energy Corporation (NYSE: CX) today reported unaudited 1992 earnings of $212 million, or $1.50 per share, down from $237 million, or $1.71 per share for 1991. Fourth quarter earnings were $47 million, or $.33 per share, compared with $55 million, or $.39 per share, for the 1991 fourth quarter.
 The company noted that the per share earnings results for 1992 were not consistent with its expectations. Earnings were limited for 1992 by exceptionally mild weather, which reduced electricity usage; a stalled economic recovery in the company's service area; and less than a full-year's effect of a Rate Stabilization Program approved by The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio in October 1992. Mild weather reduced 1992 earnings by an estimated $.30 per share compared with 1991.
 "Our board of directors maintained the common stock dividend at $1.60 per share for the year even though it exceeded earnings," said Centerior Chairman and President Robert J. Farling.
 "As we indicated in July of 1992, we expect to continue paying the current dividend even if that dividend exceeds our reported earnings for the short term. For the long term, we intend to increase earnings per share by continued cost reductions and revenue enhancing initiatives. Should our efforts not result in a positive long-term earnings outlook or if we encounter unforeseen circumstances, naturally the board would have to reconsider our dividend policy. In any event, the board places a high priority on maintaining the dividend."
 The Rate Stabilization Program allows Centerior to defer and subsequently recover certain costs not currently reflected in rates and to accelerate amortization of certain benefits. These measures combined with forecasted sales growth and the company's cost-cutting and revenue-enhancement efforts are expected to increase earnings from the 1992 level as Centerior holds electric rates steady against inflation and new expenses.
 The Rate Stabilization Program extends until 1996 the current freeze on electric rates for customers of Centerior's two operating companies, Cleveland Electric and Toledo Edison. The program also limits the amount of subsequent rate increases through 1998.
 "The program makes it possible for us to keep down electricity costs to help our customers recover from the recession and help our businesses and industries remain competitive," said Farling. "At the same time, it gives us the opportunity to achieve earnings improvement."
 Results for 1992:
 Revenues for 1992 were down $122 million from 1991. Approximately $77 million of the reduction is attributable to lower sales resulting from unusually moderate weather in 1992 as compared with 1991.
 Kilowatt-hour sales were down 1 percent from 1991. Industrial sales remained level, but commercial and residential sales for 1992 were down 1 percent and 5 percent, respectively, because of reduced electricity- driven cooling and heating requirements through much of the year. The summer of 1992 was the coolest in 56 years, while the comparison summer of 1991 was one of the hottest on record.
 Partially offsetting the revenue decline in 1992 was a $78 million reduction in operating expenses, mostly because of increased expense deferrals allowed by the Rate Stabilization Program. Also, total operation and maintenance expenses were down because of lower sales and the company's continuing cost-reduction efforts. Further, interest expense was lower because of the company's refinancing activities.
 The Rate Stabilization Program permitted the company to accrue carrying charges on new facilities placed in service but not yet in rate base, defer depreciation and property taxes on those facilities and amortize certain tax benefits and other expense items. These regulatory accounting measures contributed $.48 to 1992 earnings per share. The effect of such measures was partially offset by a decline from 1991 levels in deferred operating expenses and carrying charges under the 1989 rate agreement approved by the PUCO. That offset totaled $.26 per share.
 Results for the fourth quarter of 1992:
 Fourth quarter revenues were up $10 million because of an increase in total sales.
 Although retail power sales were down 1 percent from the 1991 fourth quarter, an increase of 42 percent in wholesale power sales contributed to a total sales increase of 3 percent.
 Operating expenses increased $25 million in comparison to the 1991 fourth quarter when depreciation was lower by $21 million, or $.12 per share, to reflect the effect on the first three quarters of 1991 of a change in depreciation rate approved by the PUCO. Additionally, earnings fr the fourth quarter of 1991 were increased $.14 per share to reflect an increase in cost deferrals allowed under the 1989 rate agreement. In cmparison, regulatory accounting measures under the Rate Stabilization Program contributed $.19 per share to 1992 fourth quarter earnings.
 Centerior Energy Corporation and Subsidiaries
 (Thousands except per share amounts)
 Quarter ended December 31
 1992 1991
 Revenues $600,000 $590,000
 Net Income $47,000 $55,000
 Average Shares 142,468 139,737
 Per Share Earnings $.33 $.39
 12 months ended December 31
 1992 1991
 Revenues $2,438,000 $2,560,000
 Net Income $212,000 $237,000
 Average Shares 141,683 139,104
 Per Share Earnings $1.50 $1.71
 -0- 1/26/93
 /CONTACT: Lee Bailey of Centerior Energy Corporation, 216-447-3235 or 216-623-1060 after hours/
 (CX)


CO: Centerior Energy Corporation ST: Ohio IN: UTI SU: ERN

KK -- CL016 -- 9175 01/26/93 14:53 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 26, 1993
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