ALLETE
Oct 31, 2012

ALLETE reports third quarter earnings of 78 cents per share

DULUTH, Minn. - ALLETE, Inc. (NYSE:ALE) today reported third quarter 2012 earnings of 78 cents per share on net income of $29.4 million and operating revenue of $248.8 million, compared to 57 cents on net income of $20.5 million and operating revenue of $226.9 million in the third quarter a year ago.

ALLETE benefited from increased energy sales, higher current cost recovery rider revenue and renewable energy tax credits associated with its expanding renewable wind generation portfolio.

"We're pleased to report a strong third quarter that positions ALLETE to meet its financial targets as we approach year-end," said ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO Al Hodnik. He said the company has narrowed its earnings guidance range and now expects to finish 2012 with earnings of between $2.50 and $2.60 per share.

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 $29.3 million compared to $23.8 million in the third quarter of 2011. Electric sales to retail and municipal customers were up 3.8 percent compared to the year-ago period.

Sales to Minnesota Power's industrial customers in 2012 were up 3.5 percent compared to a year ago as the company's taconite customers continue to produce at near full-capacity levels. Operating and maintenance, depreciation and interest expense increased from the year-ago period.

ALLETE's Investments and Other segment had net income of $0.1 million in the third quarter, compared to a loss of $3.3 million recorded in 2011. The difference was due primarily to lower state income tax expense.

Quarterly earnings were diluted by four cents per share due to issuances of common shares needed to fund major capital improvements.

"We expect our energy sales to continue to be strong as the regional economy trends in a positive direction," Hodnik said. "Going forward, potential new industrial customers remain on track with several major projects, we plan to make investments in a major transmission line and an environmental retrofit, and we are close to completion of our Bison 2 and 3 wind energy installations."

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 November 3, 2012 by calling (855) 859-2056, pass code 36343856.

ALLETE, Inc. is an energy company headquartered in Duluth, Minn. 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