Entergy’s profit rises on jump in sales

Published 1:39 pm Thursday, October 30, 2008

Power provider Entergy Corp. said Tuesday that a double-digit increase in sales helped boost profits during a third quarter beset by violent storms in the Gulf of Mexico.

The company said it earned $470.3 million, or $2.41 a share, up from $461.2 million, or $2.30 a share, a year ago.

Excluding items, Entergy said it earned $2.50 a share. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters, who generally exclude items from their estimates, were expecting a profit of $2.52 a share.

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“During the quarter we experienced both the worldwide collapse of the financial market and some of the most devastating storm activity (Gustav and Ike) to ever hit the Gulf Coast area,” said J. Wayne Leonard, chairman and chief executive officer. “Through sound integrated scenario planning and preparation, the company was able to meet … operational and financial needs.”

Entergy estimated last month that damage from hurricanes Ike and Gustav cost it as much as $1.2 billion.

Revenue in the third quarter rose more than 20 percent to $3.96 billion, topping analysts’ estimates of $3.86 billion.

For the first nine months of the year, Entergy said it earned net income of $1.05 billion, or $5.33 a share, compared with $941.0 million, or $4.63 a share, a year ago. Revenue for the period was $10.09 billion, up from $8.75 billion last year.

Entergy reaffirmed it expects 2008 earnings of $6.50 a share to $6.90 a share on both as-reported and operational bases. That guidance does not include expenses from Entergy’s planned spinoff of its non-utility nuclear generators into Enexus Energy Corp. and to enter a joint venture that would service both Enexus and Entergy.

Entergy said it hoped to have a regulatory decisions during the fourth quarter from the New York Public Service Commission, the Vermont Public Service Board and the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Entergy said the current credit market turmoil made it “uncertain whether or not financing fundamentals can be effected in the near term. Entergy and Enexus stand ready to launch the financing when market conditions are favorable for such an issuance.”

Entergy shares rose $7.25, or 9.8 percent, to close at $81.01.