ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) today reported third quarter 2005 earnings of 58 cents per share from continuing operations compared to a loss of two cents per share in the third quarter a year ago. Last year's third quarter was impacted by a one-time charge of 38 cents per share for the early retirement of debt associated with the spin-off of ADESA, Inc.
Excluding that charge, ALLETE's third quarter earnings per share from continuing operations increased 61 percent compared with the same period a year ago.
"Our industrial energy customers continue to operate at high levels, and demand for our Florida real estate remains strong," said Don Shippar, ALLETE President and CEO. "We believe these positive trends will continue."
Regulated Utility income climbed to $10.6 million in the third quarter of 2005 from $8.2 million in the comparable period a year ago because of higher sales to all of Minnesota Power's customer classes, including the continued strong demand from large industrial customers.
Income from Nonregulated Energy Operations improved by $0.9 million from last year's third quarter, primarily due to the elimination of losses from the Kendall County power purchase agreement, which was assigned to a third party earlier this year.
Real Estate income increased to $4 million this year from $1.5 million in the third quarter of 2004. ALLETE Properties sales under contract at the end of the quarter were $94.2 million, with most of these contracts scheduled to close over the next few years. Of the sales under contract, $64.6 million are for the Town Center at Palm Coast development.
The $10.6 million improvement in earnings in ALLETE's "Other" segment was mainly due to the aforementioned debt prepayment charge, which was recorded in the third quarter of 2004. "Our financial performance through the first three quarters of 2005 has exceeded our original expectations," Shippar said. ALLETE is increasing its 2005 guidance, he said, to 60 percent earnings per share growth from continuing operations over 2004, excluding the Kendall transaction.
ALLETE, headquartered in Duluth, Minn., provides energy services in the upper Midwest and has significant real estate holdings in Florida. More information about the company is available 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 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.