ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE: ALE) today reported earnings from continuing operations of 78 cents per share in the third quarter of 2006, a 34 percent increase over the 58 cents per share recorded in the third quarter a year ago. Net income for the quarter was $21.8 million on revenue of $199.1 million.
Income from ALLETE's energy businesses was up 26 percent from a year ago, driven by higher industrial power sales to taconite facilities, paper mills and petroleum pipelines and by additional summer cooling load needed by municipal, residential, and commercial customers. Returns on ALLETE's investment in the American Transmission Company also contributed to income. ALLETE had invested $35.2 million in ATC by the end of the third quarter.
ALLETE Properties income, which was 28 percent higher than in the third quarter of 2005, continued to benefit from contract closings, recognition of deferred profit from earlier sales at ALLETE's Town Center at Palm Coast development project and from other non-project property sales. ALLETE Properties had $114.5 million in land sales under contract as of Sept. 30, 2006.
"We're very pleased with the earnings momentum demonstrated by our two primary businesses," said Don Shippar, ALLETE's chairman, president and CEO. "We now expect to be near the upper end of our 2006 earnings guidance range."
ALLETE's 2006 earnings guidance, issued in February, projected earnings per share growth of 15 to 20 percent compared with 2005. The guidance was based on diluted earnings from continuing operations in 2005 of $2.26 per share, which excluded transactions not representative of ongoing operations.
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, 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.