DULUTH, Minn. - ALLETE (NYSE: ALE) today reported third quarter 2009 earnings of 49 cents per share, compared with 85 cents in the same period a year ago.
Net income in the third quarter of 2009 was $16.0 million on operating revenue of $178.8 million, compared with net income of $24.7 million and revenue of $201.7 million in the third quarter of 2008. Last year's results were boosted by a $4.9 million, or 15 cents per share, non-recurring item.
Net income from ALLETE's Regulated Operations segment was $16.6 million compared to $19.2 million in the third quarter 2008. Total kilowatt-hour sales declined approximately 10 percent from year-ago levels due to economic conditions that impacted all classes of retail electric customers. The lower retail sales were partially offset by sales to other power suppliers. In addition, currently authorized interim electric rates are lower compared with the third quarter of 2008, resulting in reduced revenue year-over-year.
"The first eight months of the year have been difficult for our taconite customers," said Chairman and CEO Don Shippar. "However, we are encouraged that they have begun to increase their production."
ALLETE's Investments and Other segment reported a loss of $600,000 in the third quarter of 2009, compared to net income of $5.5 million in the comparable period a year ago. The difference is mainly due to the aforementioned non-recurring item: a positive resolution of two outstanding tax issues in the third quarter of 2008. Also included this quarter was a $1.5 million net loss at ALLETE Properties. The company now anticipates recording a net loss for ALLETE Properties for the entire year.
Also affecting the quarterly comparison from 2008 to 2009 was the 6 cents per share dilutive impact of a higher common share balance than a year ago. ALLETE has issued equity over the past year to fund significant capital investments in its regulated operations.
Because of lowered expectations for ALLETE Properties, the company now expects its 2009 earnings will fall within a range of $1.95 to $2.05, excluding rate refunds related to 2008 that were recorded earlier this year.
ALLETE provides regulated energy services in Minnesota and Wisconsin, owns BNI Coal in North Dakota and maintains investments in the American Transmission Company and Florida real estate. 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 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.