28.1.2005: Meldung: National Solar Technologies (NSTAR): Earnings for the Fourth Quarter and Year 2004
Thursday January 27, 1:53 pm ET
BOSTON-- Jan. 27, 2005--NSTAR (NYSE: NST - News) today reported earnings of $0.71 per basic and diluted common share for the fourth quarter of 2004, compared to $0.69 and $0.68 per basic and diluted common share, respectively, for the same period in 2003.
The company also reported earnings of $3.55 and $3.51 per basic and diluted share, respectively, for the year ended December 31, 2004, compared to $3.42 and $3.40 per basic and diluted share, respectively, for the same period in 2003.
Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas J. May said, "2004 was another very good year for both our customers and our shareholders. From an operations perspective, our service to customers was again outstanding. Based on specific service quality criteria, NSTAR"s reliability was the best among Massachusetts utilities in 2004. We focus all our efforts on keeping the lights on and the gas flowing for our customers, and when outages do occur, restoring service safely and quickly. The dedicated performance of our employees is essential to achieving these impressive service quality results."
May added, "Our total return to shareholders for the year was 17% compared to 11% for the S&P 500. In fact, NSTAR has outperformed the S&P 500 for each of the one, three, five and ten year periods ended December 31, 2004. The common dividend was also increased by 4.5% to an annual rate of $2.32 per share in December."
The increase in earnings for the fourth quarter reflects higher electric revenue partially offset by an increase in operations and maintenance expense primarily due to costs associated with a late December storm. Electric sales increased 1.9% for the quarter while gas sales increased 0.8%.
Management offers the following guidance for the year 2005:
a) Diluted earnings per share are expected to be in the $3.60 -
b) Modest improvement in economic conditions and normal weather
are expected to yield: - Unit sales growth of electricity of
2% to 3% - Unit sales growth of natural gas of 5% to 6%.
c) Capital expenditures for the year are expected to be $398
million, including approximately $110 million for the recently
approved 345kV transmission line into Boston.
On January 21, 2005, the Massachusetts Department of Telecommunications and Energy (the "MDTE") approved NSTAR"s petition to buy out of its purchase power contracts with MASSPOWER and Dartmouth Power. The MDTE also approved NSTAR"s request to finance those buyouts and deferred transition costs with rate reduction bonds totaling $675 million. The rate reduction bonds will be repaid over an eight-year period from designated revenues collected from customers under the Massachusetts securitization statute.
On January 13, 2005, the Massachusetts Energy Facilities Siting Board gave final approval to NSTAR"s request to build a new, 18-mile underground transmission line. Construction of this 345kV transmission line is expected to begin this spring. This important project, which is expected to be in service in the summer of 2006, will improve the reliability of the transmission system that serves northeastern Massachusetts and the Greater Boston area and will allow better access to the supply of electricity in southeastern Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
In a related development, on December 21, 2004, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission issued an order approving NSTAR"s request to include 50% of construction work in progress associated with transmission projects such as the 345kV line in its transmission rate base, effective January 1, 2005.
Comparative unaudited results for the fourth quarter and year-end periods were as follows*:
NSTAR, headquartered in Boston, is an energy delivery company with revenues of approximately $3 billion and assets of $7 billion that serves 1.4 million customers in Massachusetts, including approximately 1.1 million electric distribution customers in 81 communities and 300,000 natural gas distribution customers in 51 communities. NSTAR also conducts non-utility, unregulated operations. For more information, go to www.nstaronline.com.
Philip Lembo or John Gavin, (781) 441-8338