Industrial Power Sales Climb 3.4 Percent; ALLETE Reaffirms Guidance

ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) today reported second quarter 2012 earnings of 39 cents per share on net income of $14.4 million and operating revenue of $216.4 million, compared to 48 cents on net income of $17.0 million and operating revenue of $219.9 million in 2011.

Last year's results included a $2.9 million, or 8 cents per share, income tax benefit. The non-recurring benefit resulted from the Minnesota Public Utility Commission's approval to defer the retail portion of a 2010 charge related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

ALLETE's Regulated Operations segment, which includes Minnesota Power, Superior Water, Light & Power and the company's investment in the American Transmission Company, recorded net income of $14.4 million. The net income of $18.3 million recorded in 2011 included the $2.9 million benefit described above.

Second quarter 2012 results included higher current cost recovery rider revenue, higher costs under the Square Butte power purchase agreement and increased depreciation and interest expense compared to the year-ago period. Total electric sales to Minnesota Power's retail and municipal customers rose 1.9 percent compared to a year ago; among industrial customers the increase was 3.4 percent.

“Industrial demand for power remains strong,” said ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO Al Hodnik. “Based on the demand nominations received this week, we expect these customers to run at near full-capacity levels for the remainder of the year.”

ALLETE's Investments and Other segment broke even in the second quarter, an improvement over the $1.3 million net loss recorded in the second quarter of 2011. The difference was due primarily to lower interest and state income tax expenses.

“Our year-to-date financial results are right where we expected them to be, and we look forward to a strong second half of 2012,” Hodnik said. “The company's full year earnings guidance remains unchanged, in an expected range of between $2.45 and $2.65 per share.” He said 2012 guidance assumes continued strong industrial demand for electricity, increasing current cost recovery rider revenue, and an approximate increase of five percent year-over-year in operating and maintenance expense.

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