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NiSource swings to profit of $23.2 million in second quarter

The NiSource headquarters is shown on 86th Avenue, in Merrillville.

NiSource made $23.2 million in the second quarter after losing $44.4 million in the same period of 2017.

The Merrillville-based parent company of NIPSCO earned $0.07 per share, as compared to a loss of $0.14 per share in the second quarter of 2017. The company had made $299.3 million in net income, or $0.86 per share, during the first six months of the year, up from $263.9 million during the first half of the previous year.

The utility made a $600 million equity offering in May and refinanced long-term debt, including issuing $400 million in preferred stock and $350 million of five-year notes, and then using the proceeds to acquire $760 million worth of outstanding notes through tender offers and redemption.

"The actions we have taken through the first half of 2018 enhance the sustainability of our long-term infrastructure investment strategy, which is driving value for our customers, communities and investors," NiSource President and CEO Joe Hamrock said. "Our financing activities helped mitigate the cash flow and credit impacts arising from federal tax reform, while strengthening our credit metrics and balance sheet."

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All three major credit agencies have stable outlooks for NiSource, with Fitch Ratings upgrading its short-term debt rating to F2. The company has $2.2 billion in available liquidity.

NiSource expects to invest $1.7 billion to $1.8 billion in infrastructure this year and to make between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion a year in capital investments through 2020, growing its dividend by 5 percent to 7 percent per year during that period.

The company foresees net earnings in the range of $1.26 per share to $1.32 per share this year. It will make an additional $107.3 million per year in revenue if the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approves NIPSCO's request natural gas rate increase.

NIPSCO also is seeking state approval for $1.25 billion worth of gas infrastructure investments through 2025.

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Business Reporter

Joseph S. Pete is a Lisagor Award-winning business reporter who covers steel, industry, unions, the ports, retail, banking and more. The Indiana University grad has been with The Times since 2013 and blogs about craft beer, culture and the military.