AES Posts 14th Consecutive Growth Year

Joining the growing list of oil and gas industry companies that enjoyed growth during 2000, AES Corp. reported strong growth in its fourth quarter and year-end results. The diversified energy company recorded net income before a one-time environmental fine of $658 million a 189% increase over 1999. Diluted earnings before special charges were $1.46 per share compared to $0.62 per share in 1999.

AES said that 2000 was the 14th consecutive year that it has posted an increase in net income. For the fourth quarter, Virginia-based AES' net income rose 70%, from $129 million ($0.30 per share) to $238 million ($0.46 per share). Dennis W. Bakke, CEO of AES, said, "We had the largest increase in new business in the history of AES."

"This was a record quarter and a record year for AES, continuing to show the strength and diversification of our businesses around the world," stated Barry J. Sharp, CFO for AES. "We met our growing financial expectations despite the difficulties in the California market (included in AES's 2000 annual results is a pre-tax operating loss of $11 million from the company's generation and retail electricity businesses in California) and the lower than expected electricity pool prices in the United Kingdom. Additionally, depreciation of the Brazilian Real during the year resulted in foreign currency transaction losses of $.05 per share for the quarter and $.10 per share for the year. These impacts were offset by strong performance at several of our other businesses, particularly those in Venezuela, Brazil and parts of the U.S."

AES' stock price fell nearly 6%, yesterday, however, when the company's 1Q projections fell below analysts' estimates. AES forecasts its earnings per share will be in the range of $1.75-$1.90. Analysts had been expecting $1.91

Another utility, Conectiv posted net income before extraordinary charges of $181.4 million ($2.10 per share), compared to $185.1 million ($1.89 per share) during 1999, an 11% increase in EPS. Delaware-native Conectiv's net income climbed from $13.2 million ($0.19 per share) to $17.5 ($0.20 per share).

Howard E. Cosgrove, CEO of Conectiv, said the improved financial performance "demonstrates our expertise in the wholesale energy markets and proves Conectiv's strategy to optimize our competitive mid merit assets. We achieved measurable earnings growth while providing safe, reliable service for all our customers. Our profitable and growing mid merit energy business is complemented by our solid power delivery business. Looking ahead, we see our earnings growth continuing as we develop additional new mid merit plants to meet our region's growing demand for power. Power Delivery produced excellent results this year, with 3% higher electric sales, despite a record cool summer and restructuring-related rate reductions."

Alex Steis

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