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Sempra Increases '05 Earnings Estimate; 2Q Results Flat

San Diego-based Sempra Energy Tuesday reported flat second quarter results but boosted its 2005 earnings-per-share guidance to $3.20-$3.40 from the previous $3.10-$3.30 range.

For the second quarter, Sempra reported unaudited earnings of $121 million, or 48 cents/diluted share, compared with $121 million, or 52 cents/diluted share, for the same period in 2004. For the first six months of 2005, the company earned $344 million, or $1.40/diluted share, up about 8% from $318 million, or $1.37/diluted share, during the first six months last year. Sempra added the caveat that earnings per share "have been affected by a greater number of shares outstanding."

While saying he was pleased with the second quarter results, Sempra CEO Stephen Baum said he expects "improved results from our California utilities, Sempra Commodities and other businesses over the next two quarters to meet our earnings guidance for the year." He specifically did not call out the merchant generation business, which reported lower revenues but higher profits on a quarter-over-quarter basis.

Net income for the utilities -- San Diego Gas and Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co. -- was up overall for the quarter ($87 million collectively, compared to $80 million for the period in 2004); Commodities had increased revenues but decreased earnings ($448 million and $26 million, respectively, this past quarter, compared with $344 million and $46 million, respectively, for the second quarter last year); and merchant generation had lower revenues but higher profits ($355 million and $27 million this past quarter, respectively, compared with $436 million and $19 million for the second quarter of 2004).

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