Quarterly dividend raised 1 cent per share

The directors of The Southern Company today raised the quarterly dividend on the company’s common stock to 30 1/2 cents a share -- an increase of 1 cent per share over the previous quarterly rate. The dividend is payable March 6, 1995, to shareholders of record Feb. 6.

This dividend increase is the company’s fourth in as many years. The new quarterly dividend is equivalent to an annual rate of $1.22 per share.

Discussing today’s action, Southern Company Chairman Edward L. Addison said, “This decision reflects the board’s confidence in our company’s long-term earnings growth and our efforts to position The Southern Company for the challenges of an increasingly competitive business environment for electric utilities. Our goal of raising the dividend when increases can be supported by sustained earnings growth is a key component of our overall commitment to shareholder value.”

The Southern Company (NYSE: SO) is the parent firm of five electric utilities: Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi Power, and Savannah Electric. The Southern Company’s common stock is one of the 20 most widely held corporate stocks in America.

Addison also announced financial results for 1994, reporting that earnings for the year were $989 million or $1.52 a share, compared with $1.002 billion or $1.57 a share for 1993. For the fourth quarter of 1994, net income was $175 million or 27 cents a share, compared with $133 million or 20 cents a share for the comparable period a year earlier. (The 1993 per-share figure reflects a two-for-one stock split, which occurred in February 1994.)

Addison noted that earnings for 1994 were affected by a one-time charge of $61 million or 9 cents a share for work-force reduction programs at Georgia Power, Mississippi Power, and Southern Company Services and by mild weather throughout the year, particularly during the summer.

“Also during 1994, we continued to make significant investments in subsidiaries related to our core business,” Addison said. “These long-term investments -- which affected our 1994 return on equity and earnings and likely will continue to have some impact in the short term -- should provide solid, sustainable earnings growth in the future.”

Reviewing operations, Addison said electricity use by retail customers in The Southern Company’s service area increased 1.6 percent during 1994. In-home electricity needs were down 2.6 percent to 35.8 billion kilowatt-hours. Electricity consumption by commercial customers -- offices, stores, and other non-manufacturing firms -- gained 3.8 percent to 34.1 billion kilowatt-hours. Industrial energy use increased 3.2 percent to 50.3 billion kilowatt-hours. Total sales of electricity to customers of The Southern Company -- including sales to other utilities -- were down 3.4 percent in 1994, compared with 1993.

Addison said The Southern Company gained 62,000 new customers in 1994.

Concluding his report, Addison announced that the board of directors today approved a capital budget of $1.4 billion for 1995 for adding new generating capacity; for upgrading power plants, transmission lines, substations, and distribution facilities; and for environmental controls, new customer connections, and nuclear fuel.

A $4.0 billion capital budget for the period 1995-1997 also was reviewed by the board.