Southern Company reports increased earnings

The Southern Company’s first-quarter earnings increased by $27 million or 4 cents a share in 1996 compared with the first quarter of 1995, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer A.W. Dahlberg announced today.

“The unusually cold weather during January, February and March dramatically affected the demand for electricity by residential and commercial customers,” Dahlberg said. “The performance of England’s South Western Electricity in late 1995 also contributed to our increased 1996 earnings.”

The Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the parent firm of five electric utilities: Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric. Other subsidiaries include Southern Electric International, Southern Nuclear, Southern Development and Investment Group, Southern Communications Services and Southern Company Services. The Southern Company`s common stock is one of the 20 most widely held corporate stocks in America.

In the three months ending March 31, 1996, the company earned $233 million or 35 cents a share, compared with $206 million or 31 cents a share for the comparable 1995 period. Earnings for the 12 months ending March 31, 1996, were $1.13 billion or $1.69 a share, compared with $1.05 billion or $1.61 a share for the 12 months ending March 31, 1995.

First quarter 1996 revenues were $2.4 billion, compared with $1.9 billion in 1995’s first quarter. Revenues for the 12 months ending March 31, 1996, were $9.7 billion, compared with $8.3 billion for the previous 12-month period.

Reviewing operations, Dahlberg said electricity use by retail customers in The Southern Company`s service area increased 8.0 percent during the first quarter of 1996. In-home electricity needs were up 13.0 percent to 9.7 billion kilowatt-hours. Electricity consumption by commercial customers — offices, stores and other non-manufacturing firms — gained 10.4 percent to 8.7 billion kilowatt-hours. Industrial energy use increased 3.0 percent to 12.6 billion kilowatt-hours.

Total sales of electricity to customers of The Southern Company, including sales to other utilities, were up 10.4 percent in the first quarter of 1996, compared with the first quarter of 1995.