TOPEKA, Kan., Aug. 08, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) today announced earnings of $72 million, or $0.50 per share, for the second quarter 2017 compared with earnings of $72 million, or $0.51 per share, for the second quarter 2016. Earnings for the six months ended June 30, 2017 were $132 million, or $0.92 per share, compared with $138 million, or $0.97 per share, for the same period in 2016.

Lower earnings per share for the second quarter were driven by lower residential and commercial sales primarily due to milder weather this year compared to last year.  The lower sales were partially offset by a decrease in merger-related expenses and lower employee benefit costs.            Lower earnings per share for the six months ended June 30, 2017 were also driven by the effect of mild weather this year when compared to last year resulting in lower residential and commercial sales. Also contributing to lower net income was a decrease in corporate-owned life insurance income. Partially offsetting lower sales was a decrease in merger-related expenses.

Conference Call and Additional Company Information

Westar Energy management will host a conference call Wednesday, Aug. 9 with the investment community at 10:00 a.m. ET (9:00 a.m. CT). Investors, media and the public may listen to the conference call by dialing (844) 646-4526, conference ID 59525914. A webcast of the live conference call will be available at  www.WestarEnergy.com.

Members of the media are invited to listen to the conference call and then contact Gina Penzig with any follow-up questions.

This earnings announcement, a package of detailed second-quarter financial information, the company's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended June 30, 2017 and other filings the company has made with the Securities and Exchange Commission are available on the company's website at www.WestarEnergy.com.

As Kansas' largest electric utility, Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) provides customers the safe, reliable electricity needed to power their businesses and homes. We have 7,800 MW of electric generation capacity that includes renewables and traditional power sources with half the electricity supplied to our more than 700,000 customers from emissions free sources: nuclear, wind and solar, with a third coming from renewables. We are a leader in electric transmission in Kansas coordinating a network of lines and substations that supports one of the largest consolidations of wind energy in the nation. Our employees live, volunteer and work in the communities we serve.

For more information about Westar Energy, visit us on the Internet at http://www.WestarEnergy.com.

Forward-looking statements: Certain matters discussed in this news release are "forward-looking statements." The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 has established that these statements qualify for safe harbors from liability. Forward-looking statements may include words like "believe," "anticipate," "target," "expect," "pro forma," "estimate," "intend," "guidance" or words of similar meaning. Forward-looking statements describe future plans, objectives, expectations or goals. Although Westar Energy believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, all forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include those discussed herein as well as (1) those discussed in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2016 (a) under the heading, "Forward-Looking Statements," (b) in ITEM 1. Business, (c) in ITEM 1A. Risk Factors, (d) in ITEM 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and (e) in ITEM 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data: Notes 3, 14 and 16; (2) those discussed in the company's Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q filed on May 9, 2017 and Aug. 8, 2017, (a) under the heading "Forward-Looking Statements." (b) in ITEM 2. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, (c) in Part I, Financial Information, ITEM 1. Financial Statements: Notes 3, 11, 12 (in the Form 10-Q filed on May 9, 2017), and 13 (in the Form 10-Q filed on Aug. 8, 2017), and (d) ITEM 1A. Risk Factors; and (3) other factors discussed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date such statement was made, and the company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement was made.

Westar Energy, Inc.Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income (Unaudited)
 
  Three Months Ended June 30,   Six Months Ended June 30,
  2017   2016   Change   % Change   2017   2016   Change   % Change
  (Dollars In Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts)
REVENUES:                              
Residential $ 188,142     $ 202,838     $ (14,696 )   (7.2 )   $ 364,310     $ 382,128     $ (17,818 )   (4.7 )
Commercial  182,110     188,197     (6,087 )   (3.2 )   337,817     353,870     (16,053 )   (4.5 )
Industrial 107,990     108,004     (14 )       206,506     208,702     (2,196 )   (1.1 )
Other retail  (10,092 )   (16,502 )   6,410     38.8     (22,440 )   (30,884 )   8,444     27.3  
Total Retail Revenues  468,150     482,537     (14,387 )   (3.0 )   886,193     913,816     (27,623 )   (3.0 )
Wholesale  63,044     66,687     (3,643 )   (5.5 )   140,411     134,099     6,312     4.7  
Transmission  70,152     66,620     3,532     5.3     139,593     130,535     9,058     6.9  
Other  7,975     5,604     2,371     42.3     15,698     12,448     3,250     26.1  
Total Revenues  609,321     621,448     (12,127 )   (2.0 )   1,181,895     1,190,898     (9,003 )   (0.8 )
OPERATING EXPENSES:                              
Fuel and purchased power  111,790     118,630     (6,840 )   (5.8 )   225,645     218,688     6,957     3.2  
SPP network transmission costs 61,763     55,227     6,536     11.8     122,437     115,987     6,450     5.6  
Operating and maintenance 87,158     85,619     1,539     1.8     168,356     163,377     4,979     3.0  
Depreciation and amortization  94,029     84,226     9,803     11.6     182,655     167,866     14,789     8.8  
Selling, general and administrative  57,579     75,724     (18,145 )   (24.0 )   116,735     132,179     (15,444 )   (11.7 )
Taxes other than income tax  41,890     48,407     (6,517 )   (13.5 )   84,606     97,375     (12,769 )   (13.1 )
Total Operating Expenses  454,209     467,833     (13,624 )   (2.9 )   900,434     895,472     4,962     0.6  
INCOME FROM OPERATIONS  155,112     153,615     1,497     1.0     281,461     295,426     (13,965 )   (4.7 )
OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE):                              
Investment earnings  2,636     2,280     356     15.6     5,790     4,296     1,494     34.8  
Other income 523     3,382     (2,859 )   (84.5 )   1,823     12,860     (11,037 )   (85.8 )
Other expense  (2,647 )   (2,908 )   261     9.0     (7,963 )   (8,451 )   488     5.8  
Total Other Income (Expense)  512     2,754     (2,242 )   (81.4 )   (350 )   8,705     (9,055 )   (104.0 )
Interest expense  43,679     39,683     3,996     10.1     84,774     80,114     4,660     5.8  
INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES  111,945     116,686     (4,741 )   (4.1 )   196,337     224,017     (27,680 )   (12.4 )
Income tax expense 35,906     40,542     (4,636 )   (11.4 )   56,816     79,165     (22,349 )   (28.2 )
NET INCOME  76,039     76,144     (105 )   (0.1 )   139,521     144,852     (5,331 )   (3.7 )
Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests 3,974     3,804     170     4.5     7,795     6,927     868     12.5  
NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO WESTAR ENERGY, INC. $ 72,065     $ 72,340     $ (275 )   (0.4 )   $ 131,726     $ 137,925     $ (6,199 )   (4.5 )
BASIC AND DILUTED EARNINGS PER AVERAGE COMMON SHARE OUTSTANDING ATTRIBUTABLE TO WESTAR ENERGY, INC. (See 10-Q Note 2):                              
Basic earnings per common share  $ 0.50     $ 0.51     $ (0.01 )   (2.0 )   $ 0.92     $ 0.97     $ (0.05 )   (5.2 )
Diluted earnings per common share  $ 0.50     $ 0.51     $ (0.01 )   (2.0 )   $ 0.92     $ 0.97     $ (0.05 )   (5.2 )
AVERAGE EQUIVALENT COMMON SHARES OUTSTANDING  (in thousands):                              
Basic 142,466     142,034     432     0.3     142,451     142,013     438     0.3  
Diluted  142,596     142,497     99     0.1     142,579     142,361     218     0.2  
DIVIDENDS DECLARED PER COMMON SHARE  $ 0.40     $ 0.38     $ 0.02     5.3     $ 0.80     $ 0.76     $ 0.04     5.3  
Effective income tax rate  32 %   35 %           29 %   35 %        

 
Media Contact:Gina PenzigMedia Relations ManagerPhone: 785-575-8089Gina.Penzig@westarenergy.comMedia line: 888-613-0003Investor Contact:Cody VandeVeldeDirector, Investor RelationsPhone: 785-575-8227Cody.VandeVelde@westarenergy.com