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UTILICORP PROJECTS LOWER FIRST QUARTER RESULTS

 UTILICORP PROJECTS LOWER FIRST QUARTER RESULTS
 DENVER, Colo., March 11 /PRNewswire/ -- UtiliCorp United (NYSE: UCU)


today announced that it expects first quarter financial results to be below those of the first quarter of 1991. The decline is attributable mainly to mild winter weather and the effect of lower gas prices on UtiliCorp's Aquila Energy operations.
 The company's estimated net income of $29 million in the first quarter is level with the same period in 1991. Primary earnings per share are estimated to be $.77, versus $.95 in the first quarter last year. Revenues are expected to be $381 million compared with $317 million in the 1991 quarter.
 Revenues are estimated to increase during the first quarter for all operating areas of the company except gas revenues which are estimated to decline five percent.
 Average common shares outstanding increased to 34.5 million in the first quarter of this year compared to 28.1 million in last year's quarter. The increase was due primarily to a public offering of 5,075,000 common shares in late 1991.
 Included in the first quarter estimate are the results from WestPlains Energy, UtiliCorp's newest electric utility. The acquisition of WestPlains from Centel Corporation was finalized on Sept. 30, 1991. Because of the seasonal nature of the electric utility business, WestPlains is not expected to contribute to earnings until later in the year.
 In a presentation before members of the financial commuity in Denver, UtiliCorp Chairman and President Richard C. Green, Jr. said, "These figures are not unexpected because of the mild winter weather throughout most of our service territories and the pressure of lower natural gas, oil and natural gas liquids market prices."
 Estimated revenues for Aquila in the first quarter increased 70 percent to $70.6 million compared to $41.7 million in the same period last year. Volume increases and revenues from 1991 acquisitions were offset by lower gas, oil and NGL prices. Contributing factors for Aquila's decline in earnings include production curtailments due to lower prices and reduced margins on the spot market.
 Electric revenues are estimated to increase 59 percent to $123 million in the first quarter of this year, due to the addition of WestPlains Energy. Estimated gas revenues declined five percent to $188 million due to the mild weather.
 Due to extensive construction programs, several of the company's divisions are expected to file for rate increases throughout 1992.
 Peoples Natural Gas has already filed for rate relief this year in Kansas and Minnesota. Green also announced that filings will be conducted in four other states before the end of 1992. Six separate electric and gas rate increases implemented during 1991 total $9.4 million on an annual revenue basis.
 Green said, "UtiliCorp's domestic and international business strategy continues to be sound. We will continue to research and pursue acquisitions that make economic sense."
 UtiliCorp entered into four separate joint ventures between August 1991 and January 1992 to market natural gas to large volume customers throughout the United Kingdom. Some initial gas deliveries by these companies began during the 1991-92 winter heating season.
 "The year is not over yet," Green said, "we have a full year of WestPlains contributions ahead of us, the summer peaking season, rate relief from 1991, with interim rate relief expected this year and our continued effort to contain costs."
 Based in Kansas City, UtiliCorp provides gas and electric service to nearly one 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- 3/11/92 R
 /CONTACT: Phil Hermanson of UtiliCorp, 816-691-3541/
 (UCU) CO: Utilicorp United ST: Missouri IN: OIL SU: ERN


AL -- MN005 -- 7545 03/11/92 17:38 EST
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Date:Mar 11, 1992
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