ALLETE
Aug 2, 2012

Industrial power sales climb 3.4 percent; ALLETE reaffirms guidance, Demand nominations strong for remainder of 2012

DULUTH, Minn. - ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) today reported second quarter 2012 earnings of 39 cents per share on net income of $14.4 million and operating revenue of $216.4 million, compared to 48 cents on net income of $17.0 million and operating revenue of $219.9 million in 2011.

Last year's results included a $2.9 million, or 8 cents per share, income tax benefit. The non-recurring benefit resulted from the Minnesota Public Utility Commission's approval to defer the retail portion of a 2010 charge related to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

ALLETE's Regulated Operations segment, which includes Minnesota Power, Superior Water, Light & Power and the company's investment in the American Transmission Company, recorded net income of $14.4 million. The net income of $18.3 million recorded in 2011 included the $2.9 million benefit described above.

Second quarter 2012 results included higher current cost recovery rider revenue, higher costs under the Square Butte power purchase agreement and increased depreciation and interest expense compared to the year-ago period. Total electric sales to Minnesota Power's retail and municipal customers rose 1.9 percent compared to a year ago; among industrial customers the increase was 3.4 percent.

"Industrial demand for power remains strong," said ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO Al Hodnik. "Based on the demand nominations received this week, we expect these customers to run at near full-capacity levels for the remainder of the year."

ALLETE's Investments and Other segment broke even in the second quarter, an improvement over the $1.3 million net loss recorded in the second quarter of 2011. The difference was due primarily to lower interest and state income tax expenses.

"Our year-to-date financial results are right where we expected them to be, and we look forward to a strong second half of 2012," Hodnik said. "The company's full year earnings guidance remains unchanged, in an expected range of between $2.45 and $2.65 per share." He said 2012 guidance assumes continued strong industrial demand for electricity, increasing current cost recovery rider revenue, and an approximate increase of five percent year-over-year in operating and maintenance expense.

ALLETE will host a conference call and webcast at 10 a.m. Eastern time today to discuss details of its quarterly financial performance. Interested parties may listen live by calling (877) 303-5852, or by accessing the webcast at www.allete.com. A replay of the call will be available through Aug. 4, 2012 by calling (855) 859-2056, pass code 96261080.

ALLETE, Inc. is an energy company headquartered in Duluth, Minnesota. ALLETE's energy businesses include Minnesota Power, Superior Water, Light & Power Co., BNI Coal, and ALLETE Clean Energy. 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.

ALLETE's press releases and other communications may include certain non-Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) financial measures. A "non-GAAP financial measure" is defined as a numerical measure of a company's financial performance, financial position or cash flows that excludes (or includes) amounts that are included in (or excluded from) the most directly comparable measure calculated and presented in accordance with GAAP in the company's financial statements.

Non-GAAP financial measures utilized by the Company include presentations of earnings (loss) per share. ALLETE's management believes that these non-GAAP financial measures provide useful information to investors by removing the effect of variances in GAAP reported results of operations that are not indicative of changes in the fundamental earnings power of the Company's operations. Management believes that the presentation of the non-GAAP financial measures is appropriate and enables investors and analysts to more accurately compare the company's ongoing financial performance over the periods presented.

Investor Contact:
Tim Thorp
218-723-3953
tthorp@allete.com