Ameren's second-quarter earnings dip

Ameren's second-quarter earnings dip

A roundup of business news:

ST. LOUIS — Ameren Corp.'s second-quarter earnings dropped from a year earlier, the utility reported Thursday.

The company had earnings of 39 cents a share, down from 87 cents a share during the same quarter a year ago.

Net income for the second quarter totaled $96 million, down from $210 million a year earlier. Net income from continuing operations totaled $106 million, down from $162 million a year earlier.

The company said cooler weather accounted for a 5 cent drop in earnings per share. This year's early summer temperatures were cooler than last year's warmer-than normal temperatures, reducing electric sales.

Earnings were also hurt by a planned nuclear refueling outage at the Callaway plant, as well as court and regulatory decisions in Missouri.

However, earnings were helped by new rates for Missouri electric and Illinois transmission service, both of which took effect in January of this year.

Ameren agreed in March to divest its merchant generation business to an affiliate of Dynegy Inc. Ameren CEO Thomas R. Voss said the divestiture is expected to close in the fourth quarter of this year.

Parkland scholarship created in memory of Head

CHAMPAIGN — The Home Builders Association of East Central Illinois has created a scholarship at Parkland College in memory of the association's former executive officer Rita Rogers Head.

The scholarship will be awarded annually to a second-year Parkland student who is enrolled in the construction trades program and is a resident of the association's six-county region.

Ms. Head, who died May 15, worked for the association from 2002 to 2012.

C-U among 'best places for renters'

CHAMPAIGN — Champaign-Urbana has made "the top 20" of another list ranking the nation's metropolitan areas — this time the metros deemed "best places for renters."

In compiling the rankings, the consumer finance site NerdWallet looked at two statistics:

— The percentage of total households that are renters.

— The percentage of monthly median income needed to rent a one-bedroom apartment.

In the Champaign-Urbana area, 42 percent of households were renters and the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment was $645, according to NerdWallet.

Champaign-Urbana got an overall score of 67.9, placing it 15th on the list. The top score, 80.3, went to Fargo, N.D. Bloomington-Normal was 10th on the list.

Other metro areas with Big Ten universities appeared on the list: Lincoln, Neb., was No. 9; Lafayette-West Lafayette, Ind., No. 14; and Bloomington, Ind., No. 17.

Andersons finalize acquisition of firm

MAUMEE, Ohio — The Andersons Inc. and Lansing Trade Group have finalized the acquisition of Thompsons Limited, an Ontario-based grain and food-grade bean handler with locations in Ontario and Minnesota.

The business, which Lansing Trade Group and The Andersons will equally own, will continue to operate as Thompsons Limited.

Mike Anderson, CEO of The Andersons, said the acquisition "will nicely complement our U.S.-based grain and nutrient businesses."

Thompsons has 12 elevators, 11 retail farm centers, two seed processing plants, five soybean processing plants and a wheat processing plant.

In East Central Illinois, The Andersons has grain handling and storage facilities in Champaign and Mansfield.

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