A 14% increase in electric sales and the absence of $70 millionin merger-related costs (posted in 2Q97) sent Duke Energy earningsper share soaring 77% during the second quarter to 76 cents/share,well above analysts’ estimates. Duke reported earnings for commonstock of $274.4 million compared to $157.6 million in 2Q97.

“This has been an event-filled first year for Duke Energy,” saidDuke CEO Richard B. Priory. “We’ve made rapid progress towardbecoming a leading global energy company by closing on severalacquisitions and announcing major projects worldwide. Our strongsecond-quarter performance reflects solid year-to-year growth formost of our major business units, plus the operating efficiencyimprovements resulting from last year’s merger. We are wellpositioned to continue taking advantage of the opportunities comingabout from the changing energy industry.”

Record hot weather and the upbeat economy of the Carolinas ledto increased sales: residential (up 18.5%), commercial (up 10.8%)and industrial (up 2.2%). Textile sales, a large component of theindustrial sector, increased 4.6%. “Although the hot weather droveresidential sales, the healthy economy of our territory led theindustrial and commercial sectors of our sales to solid gains.,”said Priory.

The company’s 22,000 miles of interstate gas pipelines evenbrought in higher earnings. Earnings of the group before interestand taxes was $147.6 million, slightly above the $144.7 millionreported in last year’s second quarter. Earnings of Texas Easternand Algonquin were $100.6 million compared to $96.6 in 2Q97.Earnings for Panhandle and Trunkline were $47.0 million thisquarter compared to $48.1 million for last year’s quarter.

Earnings were down slightly for the energy services division,which posted $44.5 million compared to $46.5 million last year.Duke attributed the drop to lower gas liquids prices resulting insignificantly lower margins for Duke Energy’s Field Services unit.Duke Energy Trading and Marketing posted increased revenues andEBIT for the quarter despite the tumultuous wholesale power market.”Our disciplined approach to trading continues to serve us well,”said Priory. “Our trading operation performed well during periodsof historic pricing volatility in the wholesale power market.”

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