Energy provider Dominion's 3Q profit jumps

Energy provider Dominion's 3Q profit jumps on natural gas growth, year-ago comparison

Associated Press

RICHMOND, Va. (AP) -- Dominion Resources Inc. said Tuesday its third-quarter profit more than doubled as its natural gas business grew and it lapped hefty charges related to the permanent shutdown of one of its nuclear power stations.

The Richmond, Va.-based energy provider reported earnings of $569 million, or 98 cents per share, for the period ended Sept. 30. That's up from $209 million, or 36 cents per share.

In the year-ago period, the company recorded $281 million in charges from the permanent shutdown of its Kewaunee nuclear power plant in Wisconsin, $45 million in net losses for three power plants in the Midwest and the Northeast that it decided to market for sale, and other charges related to discontinued operations. In this quarter the company recorded a $17 million loss from discontinued operations of its Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Mass., and a power station in the southern Illinois town of Kincaid. It also took a charge of $23 million related to certain natural gas infrastructure assets and repositioning of that business.

Operating earnings, which Dominion uses as its primary performance measurement, grew to $1 per share during the third quarter.

Revenue increased 3 percent to $3.43 billion as it saw gains in its gas transmission business.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected earnings of 90 cents per share and revenue of $3.21 billion.

Dominion also benefited from its joint venture with natural gas company Caiman Energy II to provide services to gas producers working in the gas-rich Utica shale in Ohio and Pennsylvania. The partnership, called Blue Racer Midstream, will help companies gather, process, transport and sell natural gas liquids.

Electric sales fell due to milder-than-normal weather, and the company also experienced higher utility generation outage expenses.

Its shares rose $1.37, or about 2 percent, to $65.36 in midday trading.

Dominion said construction is proceeding on a 1,329-megawatt gas-fired combined cycle plant in Warren County and is on schedule to start operating in the fourth quarter of 2014. Construction also is moving forward for a similar facility in Brunswick County that's expected to be in operation in mid-2016.

The company said it expects to report fourth-quarter operating earnings of 85 cents to 95 cents per share. That compares with the average analyst estimate of 94 cents per share.

Dominion Resources, one of the nation's largest producers and transporters of energy, has a portfolio of about 27,500 megawatts of generation, 11,000 miles of natural gas transmission, gathering and storage pipeline and 6,400 miles of electric transmission lines. It also operates one of the nation's largest natural gas storage systems with 947 billion cubic feet of storage capacity and serves retail energy customers in 15 states.

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Michael Felberbaum can be reached at http://www.twitter.com/MLFelberbaum .

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