NiSource earnings performance jumps in 1st quarter

2014-04-30T10:30:00Z 2014-04-30T17:35:18Z NiSource earnings performance jumps in 1st quarterBy Keith Benman, (219) 933-3326

The harsh winter weather drove a huge increase in NiSource Inc. revenues in the first quarter and income from continuing operations also notched a significant increase.

NiSource revenues from continuing operations in the first quarter rose to $266.4 million, or 85 cents per share, as compared to $216 million, or 69 cents per share in the first quarter of 2013, according to the company.

“Our team delivered another quarter of solid performance and steady execution on NiSource’s expansive, infrastructure-focused investment strategy,” said NiSource CEO Robert C. Skaggs Jr. on Wednesday.

Net income rose to $266.2 million, or 85 cents per share, as compared to $260.5 million, or 84 cents per share in the first quarter of 2013. The results for the first quarter of 2013 were impacted by a $36.4 million gain on the sale of the company's retail services businesses for individual utilities.

NiSource gross revenues rose to $2.32 billion in the first quarter from $1.78 billion in the first quarter of 2013, an increase of 30 percent. The increase was driven mainly by increased demand from customers who battled through a winter that was 19 percent colder than normal.

The effects of the harsh winter could also be seen in natural gas distribution, with residential customers using 18.6 percent more natural gas than last year and commercial customers 19.7 percent more.

In a morning conference call with Wall Street analysts, Skaggs touted the implementation of NIPSCO's $1.07 billion electric modernization program, which was approved by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in February.

"NIPSCO continues to advance a broad agenda of customer service, reliability and system improvements," Skaggs said.

NiSource is a Fortune 500 company and the owner of NIPSCO, which has 457,000 electric and 786,000 natural gas customers in northern Indiana. NiSource also owns utilities in six other states as well as a gas transmission business serving 16 states.

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