ALLETE (NYSE: ALE) today reported earnings of 68 cents per share of common stock in the first quarter of 2006, a six percent increase over the 64 cents per share recorded during the same period a year ago.
ALLETE recorded $18.8 million of net income on operating revenue of $192.5 million in the first quarter of 2006 compared to net income of $17.4 million and operating revenue of $193.3 million in the first quarter of 2005.
"Our quarterly earnings were in line with what we anticipated at the beginning of the year," said CEO Donald J. Shippar. "ALLETE's energy and real estate businesses are positioned to deliver another solid year of financial performance. We're on track to meet our projected 15 percent to 20 percent increase in earnings per share compared to 2005."
Although record warm temperatures in early 2006 curtailed energy sales to residential and commercial customers in Minnesota and Wisconsin, sales to large power customers remained strong. Minnesota Power's taconite mining customers continue to operate at historically high output levels.
ALLETE's real estate segment was a significant contributor to earnings, with net income of $5 million during the first quarter. ALLETE Properties had $85 million of land sales under contract as of March 31, 2006. Most of that contracted land is located in the 1,550-acre Town Center at Palm Coast development taking shape in fast-growing Flagler County, Florida. On May 4, ALLETE Properties announced an additional $52.5 million contract for the sale of property at its Palm Coast Park development.
Shippar said several factors support ALLETE's projection of a 15 percent to 20 percent increase in earnings per share from continuing operations this year. He noted that earnings from its investment in the American Transmission Company, the elimination of operating losses associated with the Kendall County agreement, a smaller loss in the emerging technology portfolio, and continued strong Florida real estate sales will contribute to earnings growth as the year unfolds. ALLETE plans to invest $60 million into ATC during 2006.
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. 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.