ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE: ALE) today reported first quarter 2007 earnings of 93 cents per share, a 37 percent increase over the 68 cents per share recorded in the first quarter of 2006. ALLETE's net income in the first quarter of 2007 was $26.3 million on operating revenue of $205.3 million, compared to net income of $18.8 million on operating revenue of $192.5 million in the first quarter of 2006.
"We're pleased to begin the year on such a positive note," said Don Shippar, ALLETE's Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer. "These results provide a solid foundation for what we expect will be another strong year financially. They're in line with our expectation of earning between $2.95 and $3.05 per share in 2007."
ALLETE's Regulated Utility net income climbed from $13.0 million in the first quarter of 2006 to $18.8 million in 2007. The increase was due, in part, to a ten percent jump in heating degree days from 2006 to 2007, which increased electricity sales to residential, commercial and municipal customers. Sales to industrial customers remained strong.
Nonregulated Energy Operations net income of $2.2 million in the first quarter of 2007 included a $1.2 million gain from a sale of property in northeastern Minnesota.
Net income from ALLETE's investment in ATC, which commenced in May of 2006, continued to grow, to $1.8 million during the first quarter of 2007. As of March 31, 2007, ALLETE had an investment balance of $63.7 million in ATC.
ALLETE's Real Estate segment recorded net income of $3.1 million during the quarter. The timing of real estate closings varies from quarter to quarter. As of March 31, 2007, ALLETE Properties had $111.1 million in sales under contract.
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.