said its third-quarter earnings almost doubled from a year ago.
The Dayton, Ohio-based utility company earned $50.8 million, or 43 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $25.9 million, or 20 cents a share, a year ago. Earnings from continued operations were $47.4 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with $25.7 million, or 20 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to earn 41 cents a share.
Third-quarter revenue rose 9.8% from a year ago to $392.5 million. The increase in revenue from higher average rates for retail sales and greater wholesale sales volume was partially offset by lower retail sales volume, lower average rates for wholesale sales and lower ancillary revenues associated with participation in a regional transmission organization.
For the full year, the company reaffirmed its basic earnings from continuing operations of $1.35 a share to $1.50 a share and updated its earlier guidance of $1.65 a share to $1.80 a share to $1.50 a share to $1.65 for 2007. The company cited higher fuel and purchased power costs along with litigation expenses to be the drivers for the revised guidance for 2007. Analysts forecast earnings of $1.36 a share for 2006 and $1.68 a share for 2007.
The company plans to spend about $830 million in capital projects over the three-year period of 2006 through 2008. About 56% of the amount will go into meeting changing environmental standards.
Gross profit increased 6.1% to $231.9 million and gross profit margin declined 210 basis points to 59.1%.
The company completed $400 million share buyback program on Aug.21, purchasing about 14.9 million shares at an average price of $26.91 a share.
Shares fell 63 cents to $28.09.
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