Duquesne Light

(DQE)

posted a slide in third-quarter profits and took a charge to write off a failed acquisition.

The Pittsburgh-based utility company, which for a brief span was known only as DQE, earned $23.6 million, or 31 cents a share, for the quarter ended Sept. 30. That's down from the year-ago $30.6 million, or 41 cents a share. Revenue slipped to $243 million from $246 million a year earlier.

Earnings for the latest quarter fell 7 cents shy of the Thomson First Call analyst consensus estimate.

Latest-quarter results included the effect of an after-tax charge of $4.8 million, or 6 cents a share, associated with the write-off of deposits and deferred costs related to the termination of the potential acquisition of a generation plant. The latest quarter also reflected a $1.4 million loss related to the sale of an investment in a landfill gas operation.

The company said it expects to hit its 2004 earnings targets, however, even including those charges. Duquesne Light said it expects to make $1.05-$1.11 a share from continuing operations for the year. The Wall Street consensus estimate is a profit of $1.12 a share.

On Monday, Duquesne Light rose a penny to $17.50.