Electric utility company Aquila ( ILA), swung to a profit for the third quarter 2006. The Kansas City, Mo.-based company earned $115.7 million, or 31 cents a share for the quarter, compared with a loss of $75.7 million, or 20 cents a share, a year ago. Earnings include a $71.5 million gain on sale of Aquila's Minnesota gas utility business and a $56 million tax benefit. The company had incurred a loss of $20.6 million, or 5 cents a share, from continuing operations for the quarter. Analysts polled by Thomson First Call had been expecting earnings of 4 cents a share for the quarter. Third quarter revenue rose 5% to $316.6 million. Analysts were expecting $364.12 million. "Utility operations continue to improve,'' the company said. "Through all of the adversity, everyone at Aquila has remained focused on our customers, making sure they receive the energy that fuels their daily lives. Closing several of the remaining transactions in our repositioning plan has been a significant achievement by our employees during 2006. Debt has been reduced by almost 30%, strengthening our financial position, and the credit agencies have responded favorably to this reduction.'' Shares fell 2 cents to $2.58.