Southern Company reports first-quarter earnings

Southern Company’s first-quarter earnings decreased by $46 million or 7 cents a share in 1997 compared with the first quarter of 1996, Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer A.W. Dahlberg announced today.

“Mild weather in January, February and March of this year resulted in lower demand for electricity,” Dahlberg said. “Our acquisition of a stake in Consolidated Electric Power Asia also had some effect.”

Southern Company (NYSE: SO), the largest producer of electricity in the United States, is the parent firm of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power and Savannah Electric. Based in Atlanta, Southern Company supplies electricity in eight countries on four continents and provides energy-related marketing, trading and technical services and wireless telecommunications. Southern Company’s common stock is one of the 20 most widely held corporate stocks in America.

In the three months ending March 31, 1997, the company earned $187 million or 28 cents a share, compared with $233 million or 35 cents a share for the comparable 1996 period. Earnings for the 12 months ending March 31, 1997, were $1.08 billion or $1.60 a share, compared with $1.13 billion or $1.69 a share for the 12 months ending March 31, 1996.

First quarter 1997 revenues were $2.6 billion, compared with $2.4 billion in 1996’s first quarter. Revenues for the 12 months ending March 31, 1997, were $10.5 billion, compared with $9.7 billion for the previous 12-month period.

Reviewing operations, Dahlberg said electricity use by retail customers in Southern Company`s service area decreased 1.7 percent during the first quarter of 1997. In-home electricity needs were down 9.7 percent to 8.8 billion kilowatt-hours. Electricity consumption by commercial customers — offices, stores and other non-manufacturing firms — rose 0.3 percent to 8.7 billion kilowatt-hours. Industrial energy use increased 2.9 percent to 12.9 billion kilowatt-hours.

Total sales of electricity to customers of Southern Company, including sales to other utilities, were down 1.3 percent in the first quarter of 1997, compared with the first quarter of 1996.