NiSource swings to 2Q profit

By Dow Jones Newswires
Posted Aug. 3, 2010 at 6:12 a.m.

NiSource Inc. swung to a bigger-than-expected second-quarter profit amid higher volume, but the top line slid on a tumble in non-operational revenue. NiSource posted a profit of $28.1 million, or 10 cents a share, compared with a year-earlier loss of $4.8 million, or a penny a share. Revenue slid 7.7 percent to $1.17 billion as so-called “other” revenue tumbled 60 percent.

Excluding items such as weather impacts, earnings from continuing operations rose to 13 cents from 2 cents.

The Midwest and Northeast electricity and natural-gas utility has benefited from cost-cutting recently and has seen signs of demand improving in certain markets. Power demand has been tepid in most of the country since usage fell off amid the recession.

But NiSource’s gas distribution revenue rose 2.2 percent in the latest quarter as volume jumped 12 percent. Electricity revenue jumped 19 percent amid a 12 percent increase in deliveries. At the company’s gas transmission and storage business, revenue was up 1.6 percent.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters most recently forecast earnings of 9 cents on $1.11 billion in revenue.

Gross margin jumped to 62.5 percent from 53.7 percent.

Share of NiSource, which affirmed its current-year earnings forecast, closed Monday at $16.72 and were inactive premarket.

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