Chesterton Tribune

NiSource posts marginally improved year and weak 4Q

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By KEVIN NEVERS

NiSource Inc. finished 2011 with a weak fourth quarter while posting a marginally improved performance for the year.

NiSource is reporting a net income in 2011 of $299.1 million or basic earnings of $1.06 per share, compared to a net income in 2010 of $282.6 million or $1.02.

For the fourth quarter of 2011, NiSource is reporting a net income of $14.7 million or 5 cents per share, compared to $31.8 or 11 cents in the year-ago period.

“2011 was a year of significant achievement, groundbreaking performance, and industry-leading growth in shareholder value,” NiSource President and CEO Robert Skaggs Jr. said in a statement released today. “Across the board, NiSource teams delivered on our well-established, infrastructure-investment-driven business strategy. This strategy generated earnings growth in line with our guidance range for the fifth consecutive year, and positioned the company to deliver total shareholder return of approximately 40 percent in 2011, significantly outperforming broader market and utility indices for the third consecutive year.”

Skaggs also announced a $1.4-billion capital investment program this year, representing nearly a 13-percent increase over last year’s $1.13 billion program. The “increase will primarily fund attractive and accretive investment opportunities at its NiSource Gas Transmission and Storage unit as well as at Northern Indiana Public Service Company,” the statement said.

In addition, NiSource expects to invest $530 million at its NiSource Gas Distribution unit.

Initiatives in 2011:

•In March the company renewed its $1.5 billion revolving credit facility for another four years.

•It issued $900 million in long-term notes, $250 million of which will be used to make an accelerated contribution to the company’s pension plans.

•In December it completed a $250-million tender offer to re-purchase high-interest long-term debt.

•It announced a $270-million investment in a new 100-mile 345-kilovolt transmission project in Northern Indiana, scheduled to be in service during the latter part of the decade.

“With a growing inventory of infrastructure investment opportunities and a strong financial foundation to support the $1.4-billion capital investment program, NiSource is well positioned to continue growing earnings and increasing shareholder value in 2012 and beyond,” Skaggs said. “Leveraging the momentum we have built over the past few years will enable NiSource to continue delivering on our financial commitments—a strong and secure dividend, stable investment-grade credit ratings, and long-term, sustainable earnings growth.”

Operating Income 2011

•Gas distribution: $392.8 million ($332.3 million in 2010).

•Gas transmission and storage: $360 million ($376.6 million in 2010).

•Electric: $209.5 million ($220.8 million in 2010).

•Corporate and other: an operating loss of $57.2 million (an operating loss of $24 million in 2010).

•Total operating income in 2011: $905.1 million ($905.7 million in 2010).

Fourth Quarter 2011

•Gas distribution: $96.7 million ($121.5 million in the year-ago period).

•Gas transmission and storage: $88.9 million ($100 million in the year-ago period).

•Electric: $39.8 million ($42.5 million in the year-ago period).

•Corporate and other: an operating loss of $39.6 million (an operating loss of $11.3 million in the year-ago period).

•Total operating income in the fourth quarter: $185.8 million ($252.7 million in the year-ago period).

 

 

Posted 2/1/2012