AGL Profits Should Top Estimates
Atlanta's natural gas utility holding company, AGL Resources
Inc., whose stock prices have fallen nearly 14% in the past year,
said last week that cost cutting and more customers will push
third-quarter profits ahead of analysts' estimates. AGL was
expected to earn 21 cents a share in the three months ending last
Friday (June 30), the average estimate of several analysts polled
by First Call/Thomson Financial.
In November 1998, the state of Georgia deregulated its gas
sales, which moved AGL's Atlanta Gas Light Co. to change its focus
and begin to zero in on delivery and turn away from supply. The
change appears to have been a good one. Already, the growing
utility --- now the largest gas distributor in the Southeast ---
has added about 1.5 million customers as Atlanta's population
grows, and more businesses and homes turn to natural gas.
Company officials attributed the strength of predicted earnings
to "aggressive cost management, system modernization and growth in
the customer base." The 2000 earnings do not include gains AGL is
expected to record following Heritage Propane Partner's proposed
acquisition of US Propane, a joint venture that includes AGL.
Third quarter earnings are expected to be announced July 27. For
the same period in 1999, AGL posted a net income of $7.2 million,
or 12 cents. This year, First Call predicts the company will earn
$1.12 for fiscal 2000, and $1.20 in fiscal 2001.
Carolyn Davis, Houston
©Copyright 2000 Intelligence Press, Inc. All rights
reserved. The preceding news report may not be republished or
redistributed in whole or in part without prior written consent of
Intelligence Press, Inc.