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American Electric Power profit beats in 4Q

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) -- American Electric Power said Friday that fourth-quarter net income shrank on some special costs for the utility, but its adjusted results beat market expectations.

AEP earned $21 million, or 5 cents per share, for the period that ended Dec. 31. That compares with $308 million, or 64 cents per share, in the same quarter of the prior year. After adjusting for impairments tied to an Ohio plant, restructuring charges and other one-time items, it made 50 cents per share from continuing operations.

Revenue increased to $3.6 billion from $3.4 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected the company to earn 45 cents per share on revenue of $3.5 billion.

President and CEO Nicholas Akins said the company struggled with sluggish demand during the quarter and customers switching to different suppliers. The company said its earnings improved each quarter in 2012 from its transmission business, and it benefited from some successful rate proceedings. It also lowered the interest rates on its debt.

For all of 2012 AEP earned $1.26 billion, or $2.60 a share, on revenue of $15.1 billion. Adjusted earnings were $3.09 per share.

American Electric Power Co. Inc. expects adjusted earnings of $3.05 to $3.25 per share in 2013. Analysts forecast earnings of $3.14 per share.

The company, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest electric utilities in the country, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states.

AEP shares rose 12 cents to $44.89 in midday trading. The stock has traded in a 52-week range of $36.97 to $45.48.