ALLETE
Jul 21, 2004

ALLETE Reports Second Quarter Earnings

DULUTH, Minn.--ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE: ALE) today reported second quarter 2004 earnings of 40 cents per share, compared with 53 cents per share in the second quarter of 2003. Earnings from continuing operations were 38 cents per share for the quarter, compared with 45 cents per share in the second quarter of 2003. Net income from continuing operations was $32.9 million for the quarter, compared with $37.1 million in the second quarter of 2003. For the first six months of the year, earnings from continuing operations increased from $75.1 million to $86 million.

"In spite of an impairment loss in our emerging technology investment portfolio and charges related to our business separation plans, earnings from continuing operations are up 15 percent year-to-date over last year," said Don Shippar, ALLETE President and CEO. "Energy Services reported another strong quarter, and demand for Florida real estate remains high."

Second quarter earnings at Energy Services climbed 37 percent from a year ago, aided by higher energy demand from industrial customers.

Within Investments and Corporate Charges, ALLETE Properties performance remained strong, earning $2.2 million compared to an exceptional $5.2 million in the second quarter of 2003. For the six months ended June 30, 2004, net income from ALLETE Properties was $13.2 million compared with $9.4 million for the first six months of 2003. The second quarter of 2004 also reflected the $4.7 million after-tax impairment on the emerging technology investment portfolio and lower interest expense due to decreased debt balances.

ALLETE expects 2004 net income for those businesses that will comprise post-spin-off ALLETE to increase by 15 percent over their 2003 results, excluding separation-related costs.

Net income from continuing operations at Automotive Services was $32.3 million for the quarter compared with $34.1 million during the same period last year and includes incremental expenses related to its separation from ALLETE. ADESA (NYSE: KAR) issued a press release today that provides details regarding its second quarter results.

ALLETE's board of directors is expected to meet in late August to finalize details of the proposed spin-off of ADESA, Inc. Dave Gartzke, ADESA Chairman, President and CEO, said the spin-off is on track to be completed by the end of September.

"Relevant details will be disclosed by press release, communications with our shareholders and public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission after ALLETE's August board meeting," Gartzke said. Gartzke will resign his position as ALLETE board chairman immediately after the ADESA spin-off and is expected to be succeeded by Bruce Stender, 62, a member of the ALLETE board since 1995.

ALLETE's corporate headquarters are located in Duluth, Minnesota. ALLETE provides energy services in the upper Midwest and has significant real estate holdings in Florida. ALLETE is the majority owner of ADESA, Inc., a leading vehicle remarketing company. More information about the company is available on ALLETE's Web site at www.allete.com.

The statements contained in this release and statements that ALLETE may make orally in connection with this release that are not historical facts, are forward-looking statements. Actual results may differ materially from those projected in the forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties and investors are directed to the risks discussed in documents filed by ALLETE with the Securities and Exchange Commission.