ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) today reported third quarter 2012 earnings of 78 cents per share on net income of $29.4 million and operating revenue of $248.8 million, compared to 57 cents on net income of $20.5 million and operating revenue of $226.9 million in the third quarter a year ago.
ALLETE benefited from increased energy sales, higher current cost recovery rider revenue and renewable energy tax credits associated with its expanding renewable wind generation portfolio.
“We’re pleased to report a strong third quarter that positions ALLETE to meet its financial targets as we approach year-end,” said ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO Al Hodnik. He said the company has narrowed its earnings guidance range and now expects to finish 2012 with earnings of between $2.50 and $2.60 per share.
ALLETE’s Regulated Operations segment, which includes Minnesota Power, Superior Water, Light & Power and the company’s investment in the American Transmission Company, recorded net income of $29.3 million compared to $23.8 million in the third quarter of 2011. Electric sales to retail and municipal customers were up 3.8 percent compared to the year-ago period.Sales to Minnesota Power’s industrial customers in 2012 were up 3.5 percent compared to a year ago as the company’s taconite customers continue to produce at near full-capacity levels. Operating and maintenance, depreciation and interest expense increased from the year-ago period. ALLETE’s Investments and Other segment had net income of $0.1 million in the third quarter, compared to a loss of $3.3 million recorded in 2011. The difference was due primarily to lower state income tax expense. Quarterly earnings were diluted by four cents per share due to issuances of common shares needed to fund major capital improvements. “We expect our energy sales to continue to be strong as the regional economy trends in a positive direction,” Hodnik said. “Going forward, potential new industrial customers remain on track with several major projects, we plan to make investments in a major transmission line and an environmental retrofit, and we are close to completion of our Bison 2 and 3 wind energy installations.”