Touting its third quarter financial results as an indication that its post-Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization is now complete, Sioux Falls, SD-based NorthWestern Corp. Wednesday reported net income from continuing operations of $9.3 million, or 26 cents/share, compared with a loss from continuing operations of $25.2 million for the same period last year.

Consolidated net income for the quarter was $8.8 million, or 25 cents/share, compared with a net consolidated loss of $29.6 million for the third quarter in 2004.

On a nine-month basis, for both continuing operations and consolidated earnings, NorthWestern showed substantial profits above the nine-month losses recorded at the end of the third quarter last year.”This improvement was primarily related to higher margins and decreased operating and interest expenses, offset by an increase in income taxes and a $10.2 million loss on discontinued operations related primarily to Netexit settlements reached during the second quarter of 2005,” a company spokesperson said.

“Our third quarter results reflect the successful restructuring of NorthWestern across all core areas of the business,” said NorthWestern CEO Michael Hanson, who touted stronger earnings and cash flow, along with continued debt repayment, improved operating results and a stronger balance sheet. “We have had solid financial performance and are ahead of schedule on our targets for repaying debt.”

Given the financial progress, Hanson said the company board has authorized a dividend increase and a share re-purchase program of up to $75 million.

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