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 PHILADELPHIA, Sept. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- UtiliCorp United (NYSE: UCU) announced today that third quarter results are expected to be much improved over results in the same period a year ago. A return to normal summer weather and recent rate increases at several of the company's utility divisions are the primary reasons for the improvement. The expected earnings improvement was partially offset by the recent enactment of the Budget Reconciliation Act.
 For the third quarter ending Sept. 30, 1993 UtiliCorp projects revenues of $332 million, compared to $275 million in last year's third quarter. Third quarter income from operations are expected to be $43.7 million, compared to $32 million during the 1992 third quarter. Primary earnings per common share are estimated to be at $.22, compared to $.10 last year. Net income is expected is expected to be $10.9 million compared to $4.9 million in the third quarter of 1992.
 Average common shares outstanding in the third quarter increased to 41.8 million from 34.9 million in last year's quarter. The increase was due primarily to a public offering of 5.3 million common shares in earlier this year.
 In last year's third quarter, UtiliCorp United took a $6.1 million pretax charge ($3.9 million after taxes) against earnings as a result of investigations into alleged improper payments by former employees of Aquila Energy Resources. The payments were in connection with the purchase of natural gas and oil properties lcoated in Texas, Oklahoma and the Gulf of Mexico. Aquila Energy Resources is an indirect subsidiary of UtiliCorp.
 Last year's third quarter charge was in addition to the $11.6 million pretax charge ($7.4 million after taxes) against earnings in the second quarter of 1992 due to the same investigation.
 For the first nine months of this year, UtiliCorp expects primary earnings per common share of $1.18 on net income of $53.1 million, compared to earnings per share of $.64 on net income of $27.3 million in the same period last year. Revenues for the first nine months of this year are expected to be $1.1 billion compared to $894 million in the same period of 1992. The 1992 figures hae been restated to reflect a change to full cost accounting last year.
 Speaking before members of the Philadelphia financial community UtiliCorp Chairman and President Richard C. Green Jr. said, "Our projected financial performance in the third quarter indicates we are sucessfully meeting the challenges presented to us last year. Rate relief at some of our utility divisions and new leadership at Aquila contributed to a solid financial performance during the quarter and I believe we are back on track.
 Warmer summer weather played a significant role in the estimated higher third quarter earnings as there were substantially more cooling degree days during this year's quarter than during the same period last year. Degree days are used to estimate energy demand during a cooling or heating season. They measure each degree of difference between the average temperature for the day and 65 degrees.
 Rate increases totaling $4.9 million annually at UtiliCorp's Missouri Public Service and $1.0 million at West Virginia Power electric divisions and its Michigan Gas Utilities division contributed significantly to the third quarter's expected higher results.
 "Although portions of our service territory were affected by this summer's midwestern flooding, we do not expect the situation to have significant effect on the company's financial position. I am proud to say that our crews have gone to sometimes heroic lengths to continue service to the flooded areas," Green said.
 Green also stated in his presentation that third quarter projected earnings could have been greater if not for the Budget Reconciliation Act of 1993 passed by the Congress. As a result of the Act the corporate tax rate has increasd from 34 percent to 35 percent.
 Based in Kansas City, UtiliCorp provides gas and electric service to more than a million customers in eight states and the province of British Columbia and New Zealand. The company is also engaged in various non-regulated energy and utility related enterprises in the United States and in the United Kingdom.
 -0- 9/21/93
 /CONTACT: Phil Hermanson, 816-691-3541, UtiliCorp/

CO: UtiliCorp United ST: California IN: SU:

EH -- LA018 -- 4141 09/21/93 11:59 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Sep 21, 1993

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