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Business & Money

The collapse of wholesale markets has utilities once again making the purchasing decisions, and taking all the risks.
Fortnightly Magazine - June 1 2003

rather than at what they expect to receive throughout the life of the contract. Sempra Energy, for instance, posted first quarter net income on May 1 of $88 million, or 42 cents per share, down from $146 million, or 71 cents a share, a year earlier. The results reflect a non-cash reduction in earnings of $38 million, or 18 cents per share, from EITF Issue 2-03. Excluding the effects of the accounting charge, Sempra would have earned $126 million, or 60 cents per share, falling short of Thomson First Calls analysts' average consensus estimate of 68 cents per share. Sempra missed the analysts' estimates because of a reduction in net income from the company's trading entity. EITF Issue 2-03 also tremendously impacted TXU Corp.'s earnings. On May 1, TXU posted earnings of $40 million, or 14 cents per share, compared to $250 million, or 94 cents per share in the same quarter of 2002. The accounting change resulted in an after-tax charge of $63 million. Excluding items, income for the latest quarter was $101 million, or 30 cents per share, beating analysts' average consensus estimate of 21 cents per share. Moreover, Constellation Energy Group Inc.'s first quarter earnings were down because of the new accounting standard, which resulted in a net charge to Constellation of $198.4 million, or $1.20 per share. The company reported a first-quarter net loss $131.4 million, or 80 cents per share, compared to a net profit of $228.6 million, or $1.40 per share, a year earlier.

Detroit Edison Co. Reports 1Q Income of $155 Million, Adjusts Future Earnings

DTE Energy Co. said May 2 that net income for the first quarter was $155 million, or 92 cents per diluted share. This compared to the Thomson First Call analyst consensus of $1.30 and earnings of $200 million, or $1.24 per diluted share, for the same quarter last year. Operating earnings for the quarter, excluding discontinued operations, the effect of accounting changes and other non-recurring items, were $178 million, or $1.06 per diluted share. Earnings from operations for the year-ago quarter were $181 million, or $1.12 per diluted share.

Among some of the company's business segments, DTE Energy Resources earned 62 cents per share for the quarter, down from 69 cents in the year-ago period. The units regulated operations, which include subsidiary Detroit Edison Co.'s power generation business, suffered from higher costs for plant maintenance and replacement power, as well as higher pension and health-care costs. The unregulated segment, which includes marketing and trading and coal services, benefited from higher synthetic fuel production volumes and increased margins.

Additionally, the company adjusted its 2003 operating earnings guidance to a range of $3.75 to $3.95 per share. Previous guidance of $3.90 to $4.10 per share included the company's transmission business, which was sold in late February.

AES Swings To First-Quarter Profit

AES Corp. posted net income for the first quarter 2003 of $93 million, or 17 cents per share, compared to a net loss of $313 million, or 58 cents per share, in the same period of 2002, exceeding Wall Street estimates