WPS Resources Earnings Fall

The company narrows its 2006 profit outlook.
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Energy company

WPS Resources

(WPS) - Get Report

said third-quarter earnings were down 18% from a year ago.

The Green Bay, Wis.-based company earned $39.5 million, or 91 cents a share, for the quarter, compared with $48.2 million, or $1.25 a share, in the year-ago quarter.

Excluding items, earnings from continuing operations were 81 cents a share, down from 84 cents a share last year. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had estimated 79 cents a share for the quarter.

Third-quarter revenue was down 9% from a year ago at $1.56 billion.

The company also narrowed its 2006 profit outlook to a range of $3.73 to $3.95 a share from the old forecast of $3.64 to $4.12 a share.

The new outlook reflects the costs of its recent acqusition of natural gas distribution operations in Michigan and Minnesota and its merger with Peoples Energy. It also includes costs related to asset management sales, discontinued operations and increased power purchase costs for WPS Energy Services' customers in Maine.

Electric revenue rose 5.5% to $315 million, gas utility revenue climbed 27% to $91.1 million, and energy services revenue fell 15% to $116 million.

"We produced solid results in the third quarter with our regulated electric operations leading the way with an approximate gain of 11% in earnings vs. last year," the company said. "At our natural gas utility operations, we are moving out of our seasonally weak period into the time period where demand increases as temperatures decline."

Shares of WPS were trading down 11 cents at $52.71 Thursday.

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