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South Jersey Industries, Inc. Q1 2010 Earnings Call Transcript

Before we look at our businesses in detail, I’d like to make a few general comments. On the Wholesale side, we benefited from volatility, commodity pricing first quarter of ‘010 that was driven heavily by weather events.

Our Retail businesses continue to see the impacts of the economic downturn. We’re also impacted by the same weather events that benefited the Wholesale business. However, despite these factors, these businesses remain overly profitable and should show significant growth for the balance of the year. This growth will be driven by renewable energy and electric marketing.

On the Utility, new business remains relatively soft; however, the strong interest in conversion activities. CIRT and CIP regulatory mechanisms are performing as expected benefiting utility performance and our customers.

Forward gas costs continue to provide working capital benefits as cash flow was positively impacted. This somewhat offset the additional CapEx required by CIRT.

Looking specifically at our non-utility activities as a whole, these businesses contributed $18.7 million of economic earnings for the first quarter of 2010, equaling performance for the same quarter of last year.

Economic earnings for the first three months of 2010 as for our Wholesale Energy segment totaled $16.3 million as compared with income of $16.1 million in the first quarter of '09.

The contributing segment of this upstream business to-date has been our asset management marketing activity. We initially lock in margins and trade around the assets we control, as market price volatility occurs.

Performance during the quarter provided a good example of trading around assets as we took advantage of weather-related volatility in January and February.

With the 2009-2010 winter season our portfolio of storage and transportation assets produced pretax value of $42 million compared with $39.5 million the prior winter season. This business segment natural gas marketing has been a significant business line for SJI.

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