TOPEKA, Kan., Oct. 31, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE:WR) today announced earnings of $158 million, or $1.11 per share, for the third quarter 2017 compared with earnings of $155 million, or $1.09 per share, for the third quarter 2016. Earnings for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2017 were $290 million, or $2.03 per share, compared with $293 million, or $2.06 per share, for the same period in 2016.

Higher earnings per share for the third quarter were driven by lower income tax expense. Partially offsetting the lower income tax expense were lower residential and commercial sales due primarily to mild weather, a decrease in corporate-owned life insurance income, and an increase in depreciation related to Western Plains Wind Farm.

Lower earnings per share for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2017 were driven by the effect of mild weather resulting in lower residential and commercial sales. Also contributing to lower earnings was a decrease in corporate-owned life insurance income and increased depreciation due to Western Plains Wind Farm. Partially offsetting lower sales was lower income tax expense.

Conference Call and Additional Company Information

Westar Energy management will host a conference call Wednesday, Nov. 1 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 96033428. 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 third-quarter financial information, the company's quarterly report on Form 10-Q for the period ended Sept. 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, Aug. 8, 2017 and Oct. 31, 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 Oct. 31, 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.

Media Contact:Gina PenzigMedia Relations ManagerPhone: 785-575-8089 Gina.Penzig@westarenergy.com Media line: 888-613-0003

Investor Contact:Cody VandeVeldeDirector, Investor RelationsPhone: 785-575-8227 Cody.VandeVelde@westarenergy.com 
 
Westar Energy, Inc.
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Income
(Unaudited)
       
  Three Months Ended September 30,   Nine Months Ended September 30,
  2017   2016   Change   % Change   2017   2016   Change   % Change
                                                           
  (Dollars In Thousands, Except Per Share Amounts)
REVENUES:                              
Residential $ 278,138     $ 282,272     $ (4,134 )   (1.5 )   $ 642,449     $ 664,400     $ (21,951 )   (3.3 )
Commercial 219,414     218,377     1,037     0.5     557,232     572,247     (15,015 )   (2.6 )
Industrial 117,721     106,021     11,700     11.0     324,227     314,723     9,504     3.0  
Other retail 149     7,883     (7,734 )   (98.1 )   (22,293 )   (23,002 )   709     3.1  
Total Retail Revenues 615,422     614,553     869     0.1     1,501,615     1,528,368     (26,753 )   (1.8 )
Wholesale 102,113     86,421     15,692     18.2     242,524     220,520     22,004     10.0  
Transmission 69,504     58,462     11,042     18.9     209,097     188,996     20,101     10.6  
Other 7,288     5,218     2,070     39.7     22,986     17,668     5,318     30.1  
Total Revenues 794,327     764,654     29,673     3.9     1,976,222     1,955,552     20,670     1.1  
OPERATING EXPENSES:                              
Fuel and purchased power 189,804     155,673     34,131     21.9     415,449     374,361     41,088     11.0  
SPP network transmission costs 62,578     57,939     4,639     8.0     185,015     173,925     11,090     6.4  
Operating and maintenance 79,856     86,758     (6,902 )   (8.0 )   248,211     250,135     (1,924 )   (0.8 )
Depreciation and amortization 94,668     84,972     9,696     11.4     277,322     252,838     24,484     9.7  
Selling, general and administrative 65,630     60,582     5,048     8.3     182,367     192,762     (10,395 )   (5.4 )
Taxes other than income tax 41,815     48,154     (6,339 )   (13.2 )   126,421     145,529     (19,108 )   (13.1 )
Total Operating Expenses 534,351     494,078     40,273     8.2     1,434,785     1,389,550     45,235     3.3  
INCOME FROM OPERATIONS 259,976     270,576     (10,600 )   (3.9 )   541,437     566,002     (24,565 )   (4.3 )
OTHER INCOME (EXPENSE):                              
Investment earnings 2,593     2,619     (26 )   (1.0 )   8,384     6,916     1,468     21.2  
Other income 3,849     13,353     (9,504 )   (71.2 )   5,672     26,212     (20,540 )   (78.4 )
Other expense (6,493 )   (5,887 )   (606 )   (10.3 )   (14,457 )   (14,338 )   (119 )   (0.8 )
Total Other (Expense) Income (51 )   10,085     (10,136 )   (100.5 )   (401 )   18,790     (19,191 )   (102.1 )
Interest expense 43,458     40,897     2,561     6.3     128,232     121,011     7,221     6.0  
INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES 216,467     239,764     (23,297 )   (9.7 )   412,804     463,781     (50,977 )   (11.0 )
Income tax expense 55,743     81,211     (25,468 )   (31.4 )   112,559     160,376     (47,817 )   (29.8 )
NET INCOME 160,724     158,553     2,171     1.4     300,245     303,405     (3,160 )   (1.0 )
Less: Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests 2,418     3,833     (1,415 )   (36.9 )   10,213     10,760     (547 )   (5.1 )
NET INCOME ATTRIBUTABLE TO WESTAR ENERGY, INC. $ 158,306     $ 154,720     $ 3,586     2.3     $ 290,032     $ 292,645     $ (2,613 )   (0.9 )
BASIC AND DILUTED EARNINGS PER AVERAGE COMMON SHARE OUTSTANDING ATTRIBUTABLE TO WESTAR ENERGY, INC. (See 10-Q Note 2):                              
Basic earnings per common share $ 1.11     $ 1.09     $ 0.02     1.8     $ 2.03     $ 2.06     $ (0.03 )   (1.5 )
Diluted earnings per common share $ 1.11     $ 1.08     $ 0.03     2.8     $ 2.03     $ 2.05     $ (0.02 )   (1.0 )
AVERAGE EQUIVALENT COMMON SHARES OUTSTANDING (in thousands):                              
Basic 142,473     142,091     382     0.3     142,459     142,039     420     0.3  
Diluted 142,516     142,578     (62 )       142,496     142,413     83     0.1  
DIVIDENDS DECLARED PER COMMON SHARE $ 0.40     $ 0.38     $ 0.02     5.3     $ 1.20     $ 1.14     $ 0.06     5.3  
Effective income tax rate 26 %   34 %           27 %   35 %