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MDU Resources Group, Inc. (NYSE:MDU) today reported third quarter consolidated adjusted earnings of $92.3 million, or 49 cents per share, compared to $71.9 million, or 38 cents per share in the third quarter of 2012. Consolidated GAAP earnings were $84.3 million, or 44 cents per common share, compared to a loss of $29.8 million, or 16 cents per common share for the third quarter of 2012. For an explanation of non-GAAP earnings adjustments, see the Reconciliation of GAAP to Adjusted Earnings and the Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures sections later in this press release.
"We are seeing excellent results from our businesses' capital investments and strategic focus continuing the trend we have had for the last three quarters," said David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources. "Our strong operations have produced 38 percent growth year-to-date in consolidated adjusted earnings per share compared to last year. These results reflect the value of our diversified model with all of our business segments contributing to this success.
"Our exploration and production business continued to outperform its year-over-year production target. Fidelity increased third-quarter oil production by 37 percent from the same period last year, and is well positioned to deliver on its annual growth target of 30 to 35 percent."
Fidelity's success with improved completion techniques in the Bakken helped increase oil production in that play by 41 percent in the third quarter. While the Bakken continues to be the largest source of Fidelity's production, the Paradox Basin is becoming an increasingly important part of the company's production mix and growth platform. Fidelity's latest Paradox well, the Cane Creek Unit 36-1, has been flowing consistently above 1,250 barrels per day since Oct. 11 with a flowing pressure of approximately 3,400 psi.
The construction materials and services businesses sustained its growth in volumes and margins with combined earnings of $61.4 million, compared to $51.8 million last year. The construction materials group had it's best quarter since 2007. On a combined basis, the construction businesses' earnings are 29 percent higher for the trailing twelve months ended Sept. 30, compared to 2012 annual earnings. Combined backlog increased to $958 million compared to $834 million a year ago. This includes the largest road construction contract ever awarded to Knife River -- a $55 million project in western North Dakota. Knife River began work on that project in September.