Westar Energy Earnings Rise

Revenue beats targets.
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Electric utility company

Westar Energy

(WR)

said Friday its third-quarter earnings rose 6.2% from the year-ago period, helped by increased retail sales, corporate-owned life insurance proceeds and lower effective income tax rate.

The Topeka, Kan.-based company earned $89.8 million, or $1.03 a share, in the quarter, compared with $84.2 million, or 97 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of 77 cents a share in the most recent quarter.

Third-quarter revenue rose 8% from a year ago to $515.9 million, on 9.9% increase in retail sales, as against analysts expectation of $478.1 million.

The company raised its 2006 full year earnings to $1.63 a share to $1.73 a share. Westar affirmed its full year 2007 earnings guidance of $1.65 a share to $1.75 a share. Analysts expect earnings of $1.65 a share each year.

Third-quarter operating income fell 8.9% from a year ago to $139.6 million and operating margin declined 500 basis points to 27.1%, due to higher fuel and purchased power expense.

The company's shares were trading down 6 cents at $24.59 Friday.

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