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Williams Energy Rises, Communications Still Lag in 3Q

Williams Energy Rises, Communications Still Lag in 3Q

Joining the rather large list of third quarter 2000 earnings success stories, Williams reported net income that was more than quadruple the figure for the same period last year. Its profits rose to $121.1 million ($0.27 per share) from $28.1 million ($0.06 per share).

"The earnings growth is being driven largely by our electric power marketing and trading business, the benefit of higher energy commodity prices and greater productive capacity fueled by the continuing investment in the growth of our company," said CEO Keith E. Bailey.

The company's energy services segment showed the greatest profit, $311.5 million compared to 155.2 million in 3Q99. The growth was attributed to a $133.2 million increase in energy marketing and trading business. Williams also pointed to an increase in natural gas liquids margins and volumes, and higher natural gas production prices.

Williams' gas pipeline segment also improved on last year's third quarter due primarily to earnings contribution from joint venture investments made since the third quarter of 1999 and higher transportation and storage revenues. The segments profit rose to $153.4 million from $142.7 million.

Communications continued to lose money as it absorbs the ongoing costs of building and staffing the new broadband network company. The division recorded a $119.9 million loss, compared with a loss of $81.7 million.

"While all projections can miss their mark due to any number of factors, we remain confident that 2000 will end up being a banner year due to our increased productive capacity, solid operating performance and generally favorable market conditions," Bailey said. "We expect our energy businesses during this quarter to continue to produce year-over-year improvement in recurring results."

Alex Steis

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