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Hawaiian Electric 1Q earnings fall 12 percent

HONOLULU (AP) -- Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. said Wednesday its first-quarter net income dropped 12.1 percent to $33.7 million as its utilities invested more than $60 million in local infrastructure.

The Honolulu-based company said its earnings of 34 cents per share, compared with earnings of 40 cents per share, or $38.3 million, during the first three months of 2012.

The company said its earnings dropped in part because of about $8 million higher expenses for operations, depreciation and investments in reliability and clean energy.

Hawaiian Electric CEO Constance Lau said the results are in line with expectations and show significant progress to start 2013.

Lau said the amount invested by utilities on local infrastructure amounted to roughly 2.5 times their earnings.

"Our companies are committed to reducing Hawaii's dependence on oil and are constantly seeking ways to increase our use of lower-cost renewable energy," Lau said. "In 2012, we reached a record 13.9 percent of energy needs from renewable generation and are on track to exceed the next clean energy goal of 15 percent in 2015."

The company declared a cash dividend of 31 cents per share, payable June 12.

Shares of Hawaiian Electric dropped 13 cents, less than 1 percent, to $27.97 Wednesday.

The company, which owns American Savings Bank, said the bank earned $14.2 million during the period that ended March 31, compared with $15.9 million during the first quarter last year. Hawaiian Electric said the bank's earnings dropped in part because of the release of $1 million in tax reserves, plus higher non-interest expenses — including staffing increases to support more volume and information technology.

Hawaiian Electric had $784.1 million of revenue in the first quarter, compared with $814.9 million in the first quarter last year.