Ameren's profits up 31% on drop in fuel expenses

Ameren Corp.'s third-quarter earnings were up 31 percent from a year ago, the St. Louis-based utility reported.

The company had net income of $374 million, up from $285 million a year earlier. That resulted in earnings of $1.54 per share, up from $1.18 per share in 2011.

Ameren CEO Thomas R. Voss said earnings were in line with expectations despite a "challenging" electric delivery rate order in Illinois.

The company says it expects full-year earnings per share to be between 80 cents and 90 cents a share.

Earlier this year, Ameren had indicated earnings for the year would range between 70 cents and $1 a share.

Ameren's electric revenues fell in the third quarter from a year earlier, but its expenses for fuel and purchased power also dropped, resulting in higher net income.

During the first nine months of this year, Ameren had net income of $182 million, down from $494 million for the first nine months of 2011.

For shareholders, that amounted to earnings of 75 cents per share, down from $2.05 per share for the first nine months of 2011.

The chief reason Ameren's nine-month earnings were down from a year earlier is the company took a $628 million asset impairment charge in the first quarter of this year, resulting in a net loss for that quarter.

Much of the charge was related to a write-down on Ameren's Duck Creek merchant generating energy center.

Ameren's Missouri and Illinois subsidiaries had strikingly different third-quarter results.

Ameren Missouri had net income of $236 million in the third quarter, an increase from $190 million a year earlier.

But Ameren Illinois had net income of $71 million in the third quarter, down from $98 million for the same period in 2011.

Sections (2):News, Business
Topics (1):Economy

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