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Utilities Boost Avista's Income

Quarterly earnings still miss consensus estimates.

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On Feb. 18, 2009,

Avista

(AVA) - Get Avista Corporation Report

reported a 24.2% surge in its fourth quarter 2008 net income boosted by increased earnings from Avista Utilities. Net income increased to $17.49 million or $0.32 per share from $14.07 million or $0.26 per share a year ago. The latest quarterly earnings missed the consensus estimate of $0.39 per share.

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During Q4 FY08, total operating revenue grew 15.7% to $447.46 million from $386.90 million a year ago, fueled by strong growth from Avista Utilities and Advantage IQ business segments. Segment-wise, the Avista Utilities' retail electric revenues ascended 10.4% to $173.58 million, whereas wholesale electric revenue rose 34.0% to $30.79 million. Further, the Avista Utilities retail natural gas revenue grew marginally to $143.98 million from $143.62 million, while wholesale natural gas revenue jumped 92.0% to $59.41 million. Other electric revenues augmented 40.8% to $4.99 million, while Transportation and other natural gas revenues were up 13.1% to $2.98 million. Revenue from the Advantage IQ segment rose 37.1% year-over-year to $17.34 million. However, Other revenues were down 14.7% to $10.20 million.

Looking into the operational metrics, retail electric sales fell 0.7% to 2.36 billion kilowatt hour (kWh), while wholesale electric sales surged 68.4% to 458.00 million kWh. Sales of fuel soared more than three times to $4.20 million from $1.30 million. Retail electric customers at the end of the period grew marginally to 354,657 from 351,512, while retail natural gas customers were up 1.1% to 314,102 in Q4 FY08. During the last quarter, AVA delivered 246.94 million therms of natural gas, which is a 22.1% increase over the year-ago quarter.

Recently, AVA declared a quarterly dividend of $0.18 per share payable on March 13, 2009.

For FY08, the company's net income mounted 91.3% to $73.62 million or $1.36 per share from $38.48 million or $0.72 per share a year ago. Total operating revenues rose 18.3% to $1.68 billion from $1.42 billion in FY07.

Looking forward to FY09, Avista Corp. reaffirmed its EPS guidance to be in the range of $1.40 to $1.60.

A detailed report covering this quarterly release is now available. To purchase the report, click here.