Southern Company third quarter earnings 80 cents per share; solid performance beats forecast
ATLANTA Southern Company Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Allen Franklin today reported third quarter earnings of $554 million, or 80 cents per share. Franklin said the solid results exceeding analysts consensus expectations -- were achieved despite the impact of unusually mild summer weather and a continued slowdown in manufacturing in the Southeast.
The third quarter results compared with reported earnings of $523 million, or 81 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.
Several factors -- including continued customer growth, a strong performance by Southern Companys competitive generation business and lower interest expenses from declining short-term debt and reduced interest rates contributed positively to the third quarter results.
This past summer was one of the mildest in two decades, and manufacturing industries are still in a downturn. These factors impacted demand for electricity and, thus, our earnings, Franklin said. However, the fundamental strengths of our business and successful execution of our strategy allowed us to nearly match the earnings we had during last years third quarter, when the weather was hot and the economy was stronger.
We are very pleased with our third quarter performance and confident about our long-term growth prospects, Franklin said.
For the first nine months of this year, earnings were $1.0 billion, or $1.46 per share, compared with reported earnings of $930 million, or $1.43 per share, in the first nine months of 2000.
Revenues for the third quarter were $3.2 billion, compared with $3.2 billion in the same period a year ago. Nine-month revenues for 2001 totaled $8.0 billion, compared with $7.8 billion in the first nine months last year.
Reviewing operations, Franklin said electricity use by retail customers in Southern Company`s four-state service area decreased 2.1 percent to 112.7 billion kilowatt-hours in the first nine months of 2001. In-home electricity needs were down 1.0 percent to 35.6 billion kilowatt-hours. Electricity use by commercial customers - offices, stores and other non-manufacturing firms increased 2.2 percent to 36.0 billion kilowatt-hours. Industrial energy use declined 6.4 percent to 40.4 billion kilowatt-hours, mainly because of the continued slowdown in manufacturing activity across the region.
Total sales of electricity to Southern Company`s customers in the Southeast, including sales to other utilities, increased 0.8 percent to 135.9 billion kilowatt-hours in the first nine months of this year.
In conjunction with this earnings announcement, Southern Company has posted on its Web site a package of detailed financial information on its third quarter performance. These materials are available at 7:30 a.m. EST Oct. 22 at www.southerncompany.com.
Southern Company`s financial analyst call will be at 1 p.m. EST Oct. 22, at which time Franklin and Chief Financial Officer Gale Klappa will discuss earnings and provide a general business update. Investors, media and the public may listen to a live Webcast of the call at www.southerncompany.com. A replay of the Webcast will be available at the site for 10 days.
Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is a super-regional energy company with more than 32,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Southeast. It is one of the largest producers of electricity in the United States. Southern Company is the parent firm of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power, Savannah Electric, Southern Nuclear, Southern Company Energy Solutions, Southern LINC, Southern Telecom and Southern Power, which includes the companys growing competitive generation business in the Southeast. Southern Company brands are synonymous with excellent customer service, high reliability and retail electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average. With more than 500,000 shareholders, Southern Company common stock is one of the most widely held stocks in the United States.
Forward Looking Statements Note:
Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and uncertainties. Forward-looking information includes, among other things, statements concerning Southern Company`s ability to meet its long-term growth goals. Southern Company cautions that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided. The reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such indicated results will be realized.
The following factors, in addition to those discussed in Southern Company`s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec.31, 2000, and subsequent securities filings, could cause results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such forward-looking information: the impact of recent and future federal and state regulatory change, including legislative and regulatory initiatives regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry and also changes in environmental and other laws and regulations to which Southern Company and its subsidiaries are subject, as well as changes in application of existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, including the EPA civil action against certain subsidiaries of Southern Company and the diversity litigation against certain subsidiaries of Southern Company; the effects, extent and timing of additional competition in the markets in which Southern Company`s subsidiaries operate; the impact of fluctuations in commodity prices, interest rates and customer demand; state and federal rate regulation in the United States; the performance of projects undertaken by the non-traditional business and the success of efforts to invest in and develop new opportunities; internal restructuring or other restructuring options that may be pursued; potential business strategies, including acquisitions or dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed or beneficial to Southern Company or its subsidiaries; the effects of, and changes in, economic conditions in the areas in which Southern Company`s subsidiaries operate; the direct or indirect effects on Southern Companys business resulting from the terrorist incident on Sept. 11, 2001, or any similar such incidents or responses to such incidents; financial market conditions and the results of financing efforts; the timing and acceptance of Southern Company`s new product and service offerings; the ability of Southern Company to obtain additional generating capacity at competitive prices; and weather and other natural phenomena.
# # #