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Business News Bytes
Progress Earnings Held Back by Weather
Progress Energy Inc. executives said they could not say when the synfuel tax credits/IRS audit issue would be complete. Progress reported third-quarter 2003 ongoing earnings of $306.2 million, or $1.28 per share, compared to $333.5 million, or $1.54 per share, at the same time last year. Consolidated's net income on a GAAP basis was $319 million, or $1.34 per share, compared with $151.9 million, or 71 cents per share, in the third quarter of 2002. The Thomson First Call consensus was $1.40 per share. Synfuel issues aside, major negative effects on earnings in the quarter were unfavorable weather, Hurricane Isabel costs, increased pension and benefit costs, share dilution and lower industrial sales. These factors were somewhat mitigated by increased sales of natural gas and customer growth.
FPL To Buy Enron Wind Assets
FPL Group Inc. agreed to purchase 130 MW of wind generation projects from bankrupt Enron Corp. for $80 million. The wind facilities, all of which are located in California, include the 40-MW Cabazon facility, the 16-MW Green Power projects near Palm Springs, the 18-MW ZWHC and the 7-MW Victory Garden Repower projects near Tehachapi. FPL has also agreed to buy out Enron's 50 percent ownership interest in the 77-MW Sky River project and the 22-MW Victory Garden Phase IV project. FPL Energy owns 50 percent of both Sky River and Victory Garden Phase IV projects, according to the release. The deal is subject to regulatory approvals and acceptance at a December bankruptcy auction. FPL will receive a breakup fee of $3 million in the event that it is not the confirmed buyer on all of the agreements. FPL Energy hopes to close the acquisition by early 2004. With the exception of Green Power Partners I LLC, all of these projects sell all of their output to Southern California Edison Co. under long-term contracts.
CMS To Delay Construction at LNG Terminal
CMS Energy Corp. received approval from FERC to delay expansion of its LNG plant in Lake Charles, La., according to an Oct. 22 Reuters report. In addition, FERC gave the nod to CMS's request to buy power from Entergy Corp. rather than expand on-site generation facilities.
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