said Thursday its earnings for the first quarter fell 8.8% from a year ago due to lower-than-expected earnings from its utility operations.
The Green Bay, Wis., energy and utility company earned $60.1 million, or $1.48 a share, in the quarter, compared with $65.9 million, or $1.73 a share, a year ago. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were expecting earnings of $1.50 a share.
First-quarter revenue jumped 37.1% from a year ago to $2.04 billion but fell short of analysts' expectation of $2.45 billion.
WPS expects its earnings for the year to be $3.54 to $3.98 a share supporting analysts' expectation of $3.71 a share.
Gross profit fell 0.4% from a year ago to $266.3 million. Gross profit of the utility segment was hit by a 33.5% increase in costs against a meager 6.9% increase in revenues. The gross profit margin registered a 492-basis-point drop to 13.1% while operating profit margin fell 145 basis points to 4.8%. The operating profit rose 5.2% to $97.7 million.
The earnings of the company's Energy Services segment rose 31.6% to $37.1 million which was offset by a 40.8% decline in the earnings of the Utility Service segment. This decline was attributed to the extensive conservation efforts of consumers and unseasonable warm weather.
The company's shares are trading up 28 cents, or 0.6%, at $49.67 Thursday.
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