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 ATLANTA, Jan. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- The directors of The Southern Company (NYSE: SO) today raised the quarterly dividend on the company's common stock to 59 cents a share -- an increase of 2 cents per share over the previous quarterly rate -- and approved a two-for-one stock split in the form of a stock distribution.
 "Today's decision to increase our dividend and split the stock reflects the board's continuing confidence in our company's long-term earnings growth and in the management team that will guide the company into the future," Southern Company Chairman Edward L. Addison said.
 Addison reported that earnings for 1993 were $1.002 billion or $3.14 a share -- an increase of $49 million or 12 cents a share from 1992.
 The stock split, subject to approval by the Securities and Exchange Commission, will take effect for shareholders of record at the close of business Feb. 7.
 The dividend, payable March 5, 1994, to stockholders of record Feb. 7, is equivalent to an annual rate of $2.36 per share and applies to the per-share amount prior to the stock split.
 Addison, president of The Southern Company until his elevation to chairman on Jan. 1, has been succeeded as president by former Georgia Power President A.W. "Bill" Dahlberg. Addison will remain chief executive officer of The Southern Company until his mandatory retirement date in early 1995.
 The Southern Company is the parent firm of five electric utilities: Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power, and Savannah Electric. The Southern Company's common stock is one of the 20 most widely held corporate stocks in America.
 The Southern Company's common shares are held by about 250,000 stockholders in all 50 states and several countries around the world. The company has paid a dividend to its common shareholders every quarter since 1948.
 "The board made its decision to approve the stock split after carefully monitoring the performance of the stock for many months," Addison said. "The price of The Southern Company's stock has more than doubled over the past five years, and our per-share earnings have steadily improved, reflecting our company's commitment to shareholder value. We're hopeful that the new price will make our common shares more attractive to investors."
 For the fourth quarter of 1993, The Southern Company's net income was $133 million or 41 cents a share -- a decrease of $8 million or 4 cents per share from the comparable period a year earlier.
 Per-share amounts for 1993 do not reflect the effect of the stock split.
 Reviewing operations, Addison said electricity use by retail customers in The Southern Company's service area increased 5.3 percent during 1993. In-home electricity needs were up 9.5 percent to 36.8 billion kilowatt-hours. Electricity consumption by commercial customers -- offices, stores, and other non-manufacturing firms -- gained 5.9 percent to 32.8 billion kilowatt-hours in 1993. Industrial energy use increased 1.9 percent to 48.7 billion kilowatt-hours.
 Total sales of electricity to customers of The Southern Company -- including sales to other utilities -- were up 2.1 percent in 1993 as compared with 1992.
 Addison said The Southern Company gained 58,000 new customers in 1993.
 Concluding his report, Addison announced that the board of directors today approved a capital budget of $1.5 billion in 1994 for adding new generating capacity, for upgrading power plants, transmission lines, substations, and distribution facilities, for environmental controls, for new customer connections, and for nuclear fuel.
 A $4.3 billion capital budget for the period 1994-1996 also was reviewed by the board.
 Consolidated Condensed Income Data
 Year 1993 1992 Pct. chg.
 Operating revenues (in millions) $8,489 $8,073 5.2
 Income before interest charges
 (in millions) $1,820 $1,793 1.5
 Consolidated net income
 (in millions) $1,002 $ 953 5.1
 Average number of shares of common
 stock outstanding (in millions) 319 316 0.9
 Earnings per share of common
 stock $ 3.14 $ 3.02 4.0
 Kilowatthour sales: (millions of KWH)
 Total sales 144,909 141,984 2.1
 Total retail sales 119,206 113,245 5.3
 Residential 36,807 33,627 9.5
 Commercial 32,847 31,025 5.9
 Industrial 48,738 47,816 1.9
 Consolidated Condensed Income Data
 (amounts in millions, except per-share data)
 Fourth quarter 1993 1992 Pct. chg.
 Operating revenues $1,945 $1,868 4.1
 Income before interest charges $ 319 $ 340 (6.2)
 Consolidated net income $ 133 $ 141 (5.7)
 Average number of shares of common
 stock outstanding 320 316 1.2
 Earnings per share of common
 stock $ 0.41 $ 0.45 (8.9)
 -0- 1/17/94
 /CONTACT: David Mould or Karen O'Leary of The Southern Company, 404-455-1077/

CO: The Southern Company ST: Georgia IN: UTI SU: ERN

BR-JS -- AT007 -- 1371 01/17/94 13:47 EST
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Jan 17, 1994

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