While its shareholders approved an acquisition of the Sioux Falls, SD- energy holding company, NorthWestern Energy reported second quarter financial results that were in the red, a consolidated net loss of $2.4 million, or 7 cents/share, compared with a larger loss of $3.9 million, for the same period last year. Costs related to the pending agreement to be acquired by Babcock & Brown Infrastructure Limited (BBI) and a decrease in margins contributed to the continuing red ink, NorthWestern said.

Results from continuing operations for the three months ended June 30, were a loss of $2.8 million, or 8 cents/share, compared with net income from continuing operations of $6.4 million for the second quarter of 2005 For the first six months of the year, NorthWestern reported consolidated net income of $18.6 million, or 52 cents/share, an increase of $3.6 million, or 24%, over the $15 million of net income reported the first half of last year. The difference was primarily attributable to a $9.8 million loss from discontinued operations in the first half of 2005.

Consolidated revenues in the second quarter were down 6.8% — $232.2 million, compared with $249.4 million for the second quarter of 2005.”The decrease is due primarily to a $15.3 million decrease in unregulated natural gas revenues due primarily to certain customers contracting directly from other providers for their commodity supply needs,” a NorthWestern spokesperson said. Revenues for the first half of the year were up slightly — $593.7 million vs. $584.5 million for the first six months of 2005.

NorthWestern CEO Mike Hanson noted that the shareholders’ approval of the BBI acquisition is the “first of several steps” for the companies to complete the transaction, which NorthWestern management has touted as the best deal for its stockholders.

Hanson called the second quarter “momentous for NorthWestern,” reaching the definitive agreement with Australian-based BBI, and signing a seven-year power purchase agreement with PPL Montana starting July 1 next year at what he called “a significant discount to current market rates.”

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