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UTILICORP PROJECTS HIGHER FIRST QUARTER RESULTS

 RICHMOND, Va., March 15 /PRNewswire/ -- UtiliCorp United (NYSE: UCU) announced today that first quarter financial results are expected to be greater than those of the first quarter of 1992. The improvement is primarily due to the return of normal winter weather conditions throughout UtiliCorp's service territories, income from the company's most recent gas utility acquisition and rate relief.
 The company's estimated net income for the first quarter ended March 31, 1993, is $34.7 million compared with $28.6 million in the same period of 1992. Primary earnings per share are estimated to be $.87 versus $.77 in the 1992 first quarter. Revenues for the three month period are expected to be $478 million compared with $366 million in the 1992 first quarter. Income from operations is estimated to be $76.3 million up from $64.1 million in the same period of last year. Average common shares outstanding increased to 37.9 million from 34.7 million in last year's quarter. The increase is due primarily to a public offering of 4.8 million shares in February 1993.
 Included in the first quarter estimate are the results from a Nebraska gas distribution system acquired from Arkla's (NYSE: ALG) Minnegasco division. The $78 million transaction was completed in February. The system is operated as a part of UtiliCorp's Peoples Natural Gas division. UtiliCorp also has agreed to purchase another Arkla gas system serving Wichita, Kan. and several surrounding communities. That purchase is expected to be completed later in 1993.
 In a presentation before members of the financial community in Richmond, UtiliCorp Chairman and President Richard C. Green, Jr. said, "The first quarter figures are a welcome change compared to last year. Overall, our regulated utilities contributed to the first quarter gain as recent rate relief decisions from last year and normal winter weather this year helped tremendously."
 UtiliCorp's Aquila Energy subsidiary revised its marketing strategy last year and also now has new leadership in place.
 However, increasingly stiff competition in the gas industry weakened marketing margins and reduced spot market profits for Aquila during the 1993 first quarter. At the same time, Aquila's long-term contract sales portfolio was more profitable during the first quarter of last year primarily because 1992 gas volumes were higher and gas was supplied to those contracts at a lower average cost.
 "Profit stability resulting from Aquila's long-term sales portfolio combined with increased natural gas liquids production and stable pricing in the Aquila Southwest unit will continue to enhance Aquila's financial performance in 1993," Green said.
 UtiliCorp's United Gas subsidiary, which markets gas through joint ventures in the United Kingdom, is expected to contribute to first quarter earnings for the first time while rate relief decisions are expected during the first half of the year at the company's West Kootenay Power and Missouri Public Service utilities.
 UtiliCorp also announced it has adopted, on a prospective basis, new accounting standards relating to post-retirement benefits and income taxes in the first quarter. Because a significant portion of the company's operations are rate-regulated, the adoption of these new standards will not have a significant effect on results of operations.
 "I said last year that UtiliCorp was poised for a turnaround in 1993. The first quarter numbers give me confidence that we are on track and our overall growth strategy will continue," Green said. Based in Kansas City, UtiliCorp provides gas and electric utility service to more than a million customers in eight states and the province of British Columbia. The company also is engaged in various non-regulated energy and utility related enterprises.
 -0- 3/15/93
 /CONTACT: Phil Hermanson of UtiliCorp, 816-691-3541/
 (UCU ALG)


CO: UtiliCorp United; Arkla ST: Virginia IN: OIL SU:

KH -- MN007 -- 8780 03/15/93 12:11 EST
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Date:Mar 15, 1993
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