Cleco Posts 61 Percent Rise In 3Q Profit

PINEVILLE, La. (AP) ¿ Louisiana utility owner Cleco Corp. on Monday posted third-quarter profit well above analysts expectations, and backed its 2009 outlook.

Quarterly earnings of $59.8 million, or 99 cents per share, increased 61 percent from $37.1 million, or 62 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Excluding one-time items, the company reported adjusted income of 93 cents per share. Wall Street, on average, expected earnings of 76 cents per share, according to an analyst poll by Thomson Reuters.

Revenue fell 30 percent to $241.5 million from $343.7 million a year earlier.

Helping the quarter was a 25 percent jump in earnings per share provided by Cleco Power, which serves 268,000 customers across Louisiana. The subsidiary's earnings per share jumped to 66 cents in the quarter from 53 cents.

During the quarter, Cleco's overall operating expense fell 35 percent to $200.8 million from $308.1 million.

The company reiterated its 2009 outlook in a range of $1.62 per share to $1.72 per share. Analysts are forecasting a profit of $1.65 per share.

Cleco shares fell 18 cents to $24.57 in midday trading.

Copyright 2009 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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