said its first-quarter earnings fell 20% from a year ago, primarily related to the gain on the sale of the company's private equity funds in the first quarter of 2005.
The Dayton, Ohio-based utility company earned $58.9 million, or 46 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $73.7 million, or 58 cents a share, a year ago. Earnings from continued operations was $51.3 million, or 40 cents a share, compared with $36.1 million, or 28 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting the company to earn 30 cents a share.
First-quarter revenue rose 11% from a year ago to $341.1 million primarily due to an increase in retail and wholesale electric market rates and wholesale electric volume partially offset by lower electric retail volume.
For the full year 2006, the company expects to earn $1.35 a share to $1.50 a share. Analysts were forecasting earnings of $1.37 a share.
Gross margin increased 280 basis points to 67.9%, driven by improved wholesale sales and the ability to recover additional retail fuel costs, the company said.
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