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Nov 2, 2011

ALLETE, Inc. reports third quarter earnings of 57 cents per share; expects to finish year at higher end of guidance range

ALLETE, Inc. reports third quarter earnings of 57 cents per share; expects to finish year at higher end of guidance range

DULUTH, Minn. - ALLETE (NYSE: ALE) today reported third quarter 2011 earnings of 57 cents per share on net income of $20.5 million and revenue of $226.9 million. In the same period a year ago, ALLETE earned 56 cents per share on net income of $19.6 million and revenue of $224.1 million.

Quarterly net income from ALLETE's Regulated Operations segment improved about eight percent from $22.1 million in 2010 to $23.8 million in 2011, primarily due to an increase in industrial electric sales and higher current cost recovery revenue at Minnesota Power compared to last year. The additional revenue was partially offset by increased expense for depreciation, interest and property taxes related to recent capital investments.

"Our quarterly and year-to-date financial results reflect strong production levels from our large industrial customers," said ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO Alan R. Hodnik. "These customers expect to operate at near full-production levels for the remainder of the year. Looking ahead, we are particularly encouraged by new industrial customer activity that signals growth in our region for the future."

The Investments and Other segment recorded a net loss of $3.3 million compared to a net loss of $2.5 million in 2010. Results for the quarter included increased operating and maintenance and state tax expenses. Earnings at BNI Coal were similar to the same period a year ago, and ALLETE Properties recorded a smaller net loss than in the third quarter of 2010.

Quarterly earnings were diluted by two cents per share because of a higher common share balance from the funding of major capital improvements.

Hodnik said that ALLETE now expects to finish 2011 with earnings in the higher end of a range between $2.40 and $2.60 per share, excluding a one-time eight cent per share income tax benefit recorded in the second quarter.

The company will host a conference call and webcast at 10:00 a.m. Eastern time today to discuss details of its performance for the quarter. 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 5, 2011 by dialing (800) 585-8367, pass code 15710427.

ALLETE's corporate headquarters are in Duluth, Minn. In addition to its electric utilities, Minnesota Power and Superior Water, Light & Power Co. of Wisconsin, ALLETE owns BNI Coal in Center, N.D., ALLETE Clean Energy, also based in Duluth, and has an eight percent equity interest in the American Transmission Co. 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