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UTILICORP ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER RESULTS RATE INCREASE REQUEST AT MISSOURI PUBLIC SERVICE

 UTILICORP ANNOUNCES SECOND QUARTER RESULTS
 RATE INCREASE REQUEST AT MISSOURI PUBLIC SERVICE
 KANSAS CITY, Mo., July 30 /PRNewswire/ -- UtiliCorp United (NYSE: UCU) today announced that it has recorded a second quarter net loss of $5.3 million primarily due to a one-time pretax charge against earnings of $11.6 million, or $7.4 million after taxes. The previously announced charge resulted from an apparent misappropriation of funds at the company's Aquila Energy Resources subsidiary.
 UtiliCorp also announced that on July 31, 1992 its Missouri Public Service division will file a request in Missouri for an 8.5 percent electric rate increase that would boost annual revenues by $19.4 million. The rate increase, which would take effect in 1993, is needed to offset the costs of a coal conversion project that will help the division meet new environmental standards of the Clean Air Act Amendments of 1990 and the costs of a project to rebuild its primary power generating facility.
 For the three-month period ended June 30, 1992 UtiliCorp recorded a primary loss per common share of $.20, versus earnings per share of $.15 on net income of $6.3 million in the 1991 second quarter. Income from operations for the second quarter was $16.0 million, compared with $27.5 million in last year's quarter. Revenues were $253.6 million, versus $189.4 million in the 1991 second quarter.
 For the first six months of this year, UtiliCorp had net income of $23.3 million, versus $34.9 million in the first half of 1991. Primary earnings per common share for the six-month period this year were $.57, compared with $1.10.
 Income from operations during the current-year period was $80.1 million, versus $90.2 million, and revenues were $619.6 million, compared with $506.0 million.
 Average common shares outstanding increased from 28.4 million in the 1991 second quarter to 34.9 million in the current period. The increase is primarily due to a public offering of approximately 5 million new shares late in 1991.
 The second quarter earnings charge is related to apparent improper payments by former employees of Aquila Energy Resources during the course of transactions to acquire certain natural gas and oil properties. In addition, further possible losses of approximately $6.1 million ($3.9 million after taxes) have been identified in the investigation. Although the facts to date have not shown that this charge is appropriate, it will be taken if the losses are determined to be probable.
 UtiliCorp has filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Houston seeking recovery of damages and is also pursuing action to recover up to $4 million through insurance coverage. Aquila Energy Resources is a wholly owned subsidiary of UtiliCorp.
 As previously announced, second quarter financial results also were impacted by unseasonably mild weather throughout the company's utility service area and significant margin reductions at Aquila Energy related to contractual obligations to sell natural gas at fixed prices during a period in which prices increased sharply. These obligations, most of which expire at the end of 1992, will be supplied with recently committed gas, resulting in reduced margins for the remainder of 1992.
 Recent actions taken to secure gas commitments have significantly reduced the potential effects of volatile gas markets on 1992 earnings.
 Previously announced estimated financial results for 1992, expected to be below the annualized common dividend rate of $1.60 per share, included reduced margins consistent with those discussed above.
 UtiliCorp Chairman and President Richard C. Green, Jr. noted that management has recommended that the UtiliCorp board of directors maintain the current dividend rate on common stock.
 "We expect at this point in time that our financial results will be substantially below those of last year but we believe we will be back on track in 1993," Green said. "We remain focused on our long-term strategy of building our business through acquisitions and investments in utility and energy properties both in the U.S. and internationally."
 Missouri Public Service's last electric rate increase occurred in October 1990 when it received approval to implement a 6.5 percent, or $12.4 million annual increase. The Missouri request includes recovery of the cost of a $48 million modification project that will reduce sulfur dioxide emissions at its 491-megawatt Sibley Generating Station through the use of low sulfur coal. The coal conversion will be less costly than installing scrubbers or making other modifications. The requested increase also includes the costs of the last phase of a rebuilding project that will ensure that the Sibley generating facility will be able to operate for another 20 years. That work was completed at about 10 percent of the cost of a new power plant.
 With the Missouri Public Service filing, UtiliCorp will have four utility operations with pending rate increase requests. UtiliCorp's Peoples Natural Gas division presently has requests for natural gas rate increases pending in four states. The West Virginia Power division and West Kootenay Power Canadian subsidiary also have electric rate increase requests pending in West Virginia and in British Columbia, respectively. Kansas regulators recently approved a rate increase agreement with UtiliCorp's Kansas Public Service division allowing a rate increase that will raise annual revenues by $625,000.
 Based in Kansas City, UtiliCorp provides gas and electric utility service to nearly a million customers in eight states and the province of British Columbia.
 UTILICORP UNITED INC.
 Consolidated Statement of Income
 (in millions except per share amounts, unaudited)
 Three months Six months
 Period ended June 30 1992 1991 1992 1991
 Revenues 253.6 189.4 619.6 506.8
 Expenses 237.6 161.9 539.5 415.8
 Income From Operations 16.0 27.5 80.1 90.2
 Interest Charges and Other 23.9 17.6 43.6 35.9
 Income Before Income Taxes (7.9) 9.9 36.5 54.3
 Income Taxes (2.6) 3.6 13.2 19.4
 Net Income (5.3) 6.3 23.3 34.9
 Preference Dividends 1.7 2.0 3.6 3.9
 Earnings Available for
 Common Shares (7.0) 4.3 19.7 31.0
 Weighted Average Common
 Shares Outstanding:
 Primary 34.91 28.41 34.78 28.26
 Fully Diluted 34.91 28.41 35.66 32.92
 Earnings per Common Share:
 Primary ($.20) $.15 $.57 $1.10
 Fully Diluted ($.20) $.15 $.56 $1.05
 UTILICORP UNITED INC.
 Consolidated Financial Information
 (in thousands except per share amounts)
 12 months
 Period ended June 30 1992 1991
 Revenues $1,188.8 $938.0
 Income From Operations 178.7 163.9
 Net Income 61.9 66.0
 Earnings Available for Common Shares 54.4 58.2
 Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding:
 Primary 32.65 26.52
 Fully Diluted 33.73 31.23
 Earnings Per Common Share:
 Primary $1.67 $2.19
 Fully Diluted $1.64 $2.09
 -0- 7/30/92
 /CONTACT: Phil Hermanson of UtiliCorp, 816-691-3541/
 (UCU) CO: UtiliCorp United ST: Missouri IN: UTI SU: ERN


LR -- NY054 -- 5095 07/30/92 12:26 EDT
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