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PNM Holding Company Forecasts 2004 Earnings Range
Citing improved wholesale power sales and increased market/regulatory certainty, the holding company for New Mexico's largest utility, Public Service Company of New Mexico (PNM), Thursday increased its earnings estimate by 10 cents/share this year, compared to 2003. PNM Resources, Albuquerque, offered a range of $1.90 to $2.15/share this year, following last year's $1.80-$2.05/share estimate.
Earnings variables within the 2004 range, PNM officials said, are: (a) prices/liquidity in the wholesale power market and PNM's ability to expand long-term sales; (b) growth in the retail gas/electric utility in the midst of unknown weather over the course of any calendar year; (c) utility generating plant performance and their fuel costs; and (d) management's ability to continue to keep a lid on operating costs.
"Key drivers expected to generate earnings growth in 2004 include improving long-term wholesale electric sales, the implementation of the new gas rates, lower fuel costs, reduced interest costs, growth in gas and electric load and continued management efficiencies," according to PNM Resources' announcement on its forecast.
The company noted that the potential improvements internally and externally this year will be "partially offset" by impacts from electric rate reductions implemented last September, lower wholesale electric market prices, and higher employee benefit costs.
PNM Resources' utility serves 450,000 natural gas and 390,000 electric utility customers in New Mexico. The company sells power wholesale in the western United States. A more detailed look at the company's 2004 forecast is offered at the company web site, www.pnm.com.
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