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Utility NorthWestern 4Q income up 3.6 percent

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (AP) -- NorthWestern Corp. said Tuesday that its second-quarter profit rose 3.6 percent as the electric and gas utility made more money transmitting energy for other companies across its lines and expenses shrank.

Net income was $11.4 million, or 31 cents per share, up from $11 million, or 30 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Total Revenue fell 2.8 percent to $244.6 million from $251.8 million a year earlier.

NorthWestern said it made more money transmitting electricity as demand picked up and benefited from higher natural gas rates in South Dakota.

The gains were offset by lower natural gas volume in mild spring weather and higher property taxes in Montana.

Total operating expenses dropped to $215.9 million from $225.6 million a year ago.

The company, based in Sioux Falls, S.D., has residential and business customers in Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska.

Shares of NorthWestern fell 72 cents to close at $36.50. The company's shares have traded between $28.68 and $37.96 in the last 52 weeks.