Including discontinued operations, San Diego-based Sempra Energy Thursday reported second quarter net income of $373 million, or $1.43/diluted share, tripling the results for the same quarter last year ($121 million, or 48 cents/diluted share). The utility holding company said $188 million, or 72 cents/diluted share, came from discontinued operations related principally to the gains from assets sales, that offset impairment charges from assets held for sale.

Income from continuing operations increased a more modest 55% — $185 million, or 71 cents/diluted share compared with $119 million, or 47 cents/diluted share, for the same period last year. This year’s second-quarter profits were reduced by a $7 million impairment, or 3 cents/diluted share, tied to the sale of Sempra’s Texas natural gas-fired generating assets, Sempra said in its earnings announcement.

For the first six months of the year, the pattern was the same — net income of $628 million, or $2.42/diluted shared, compared with $344 million, or $1.40/diluted share, when including the discontinued operations; and on a continuing operations basis, $419 million, or $1.61/diluted share, compared to $340 million, or $1.38/diluted share, for the first half of 2005. Revenues were $2.5 billion in the second quarter, compared with $2.2 billion in the same period last year.

Sempra’s utilities — San Diego Gas and Electric Co. and Southern California Gas Co. — were strong with SDG&E net income rising to $65 million from $29 million for the second quarter a year ago, and SoCalGas staying unchanged with net income at $58 million in both this year’s and last year’s second quarter. The energy trading unit, Sempra Commodities, more than doubled its second quarter results — $69 million of net income this year, compared with $26 million for the second quarter of 2005.

Calling the core business results “outstanding,” Sempra CEO Donald Felsinger said the company’s ongoing initiative to sell nonstrategic assets “has exceeded our expectations thus far, generating $1.3 billion in pre-tax proceeds to strengthen our balance sheet and support our $10 billion, five-year capital program.” Felsinger said the strategy remains to redeploy capital into critical energy infrastructure, with the company’s natural gas businesses and the utilities leading the way.

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