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Archive for Tuesday, February 19, 2002

Western earnings decline

February 19, 2002

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A year after posting profits of $136.5 million, Western Resources Inc. reported losses of $20.9 million in 2001, a year marked by rate cuts, continued losses at its monitored-services subsidiary and a change in future accounting standards.

The Topeka-based provider of energy services said Monday that it lost 31 cents a share on sales of $2.19 billion for the year ended Dec. 31. That was down from earnings of $1.96 a share on sales of $2.37 billion a year earlier.

The company also said it expected to take a first-quarter charge of about $654 million for accounting changes. The changes are related to Protection One and Protection One Europe for goodwill that no longer can be amortized, and for impairment connected with Protection One customer accounts.

"This non-cash charge will not result in any violation of debt covenants and is not expected to affect liquidity," Western said in a statement.

Western also expects to take a $24 million charge in the first quarter for a severance program completed in January.

Westar Energy which holds Western's regulated utility assets, KPL and KGE contributed earnings of 50 cents a share in 2001, down from earnings of $1.12 a share a year earlier. Western blamed less-favorable weather and a reduction in retail electric rates mandated by the Kansas Corporation Commission.

Western took a charge of $14 million, or 20 cents a share, in the fourth quarter to account for job cuts.

Westar Industries, which handles the company's unregulated assets, had a loss of 81 cents a share in 2001, compared with earnings of 84 cents a year earlier.

Monitored services lost $1.38 cents per Western share in 2001, down from a loss of 88 cents a share a year earlier.

Westar Industries' investment in ONEOK, a natural gas operation, contributed earnings of 51 cents a share in 2001, down from 56 cents a share a year earlier. The operation's exposure to Enron Corp. decreased earnings.

Other unregulated holdings contributed 6 cents a share to company earnings in 2001, compared with per-share earnings of $1.16 a year earlier, which included gains from investments.

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