By Atlanta Business Chronicle

Southern Co. on Wednesday reported a 21 percent jump in annual profit and announced plans to spend $17 billion to grow its energy producing infrastructure.

The Atlanta-based energy giant said it saw its profit rise in 2010, benefiting from consistently warmer-than-normal weather in the summer months and consistently colder-than-normal weather in the winter months -- a pattern not seen since the late 1970s.

The 2010 profit also included a $202 million charge related to a settlement agreement with MC Asset Recovery LLC to resolve a lawsuit arising out of the 2003 bankruptcy of Mirant Corp., a Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) subsidiary until its 2001 spin-off.

  • Revenue: $17.5 billion, +10.9 percent
  • Net Income: $1.98 billion, +20.7 percent
  • Earnings Per Share: $2.37, +2.2 percent

⿿Economic factors such as unemployment continue to challenge the pace of economic recovery, but we see positive signs -- such as increased manufacturing activity -- that should bode well for 2011,⿝ said Southern Company Chairman, President and CEO Thomas A. Fanning.

Fanning added that over the next three years, Southern Co. plans to invest up to $17 billion to meet the recovering economyâ¿¿s energy needs and evolving environmental requirements.

⿿This investment, which includes cleaner, more efficient technologies such as nuclear, 21st century coal and renewables will, in effect, help implement what we believe is a regional demonstration of a sound national energy policy,⿝ he said.

Click here for the earnings release.

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