Archive for Friday, May 16, 2003

K.C. utility reports loss of $51.9 million

May 16, 2003

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— Aquila Inc. reported an additional $51.9 million in losses during the first quarter, largely related to last year's decision to exit the energy trading business.

Aquila attributed the loss of 27 cents per share reported Thursday to trading and contract losses, an increase in capacity payments to other plant owners, and higher interest costs because of its junk credit rating.

The losses for the quarter that ended March 31 compare with earnings of $44.4 million, or 32 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2002.

"As planned, in 2003 we are continuing our transition from being a major participant in the energy trading sector to concentrating on our core utility operations in the United States," said Richard C. Green Jr., Aquila's chairman and chief executive officer. "We will continue following our restructuring plan through 2003 and 2004."

The Kansas City, Mo.-based company reported $579.3 million in sales for the first quarter, compared with $767.4 million for the same period last year.

Aquila lost $2.1 billion during the last fiscal year, including $977.9 million during the fourth quarter, as it exited the energy trading business and returned to its roots as a domestic electric and natural gas utility. The company also sold $1.3 billion in assets and reduced its debt by $1 billion during 2002.

Aquila operates a natural gas utility in the Lawrence area.

Shares of Aquila were up 6 cents at $2.88 in trading Thursday on the New York Stock Exchange.

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