Electric utility company

Westar Energy

(WR)

said Wednesday that its second-quarter earnings rose 26.9% from the year-ago period.

The Topeka, Kan.-based company earned $35.4 million, or 40 cents a share, in the quarter, compared with $27.9 million, or 32 cents a share, a year ago. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of $24.5 million, or 28 cents a share, in the most recent quarter.

Second-quarter revenue rose 8.5% from a year ago to $406.6 million, on 15.4% increase in retail sales, as against analysts expectation of $380.6 million.

The company expects its full year earnings to be near the upper end of its earlier forecast of $1.55 a share to $1.65 a share. Full year 2007 earnings are expected to be $1.65 a share to $1.75 a share. Analysts expect earnings of $1.58 a share in this year and $1.65 a share in 2007.

Second-quarter operating income rose 10.6% from a year ago to $69 million and operating margin increased 32 basis points to 17%.

Shares rose 52 cents to $23.73.

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