ALLETE, Inc. (ALE) on Wednesday reported full year 2016 earnings of $3.14 per share on net income of $155.3 million and operating revenue of $1.34 billion. Per share earnings came at the low end of the company’s expected range. That compares with 2015 earnings of $2.92 per share on net income of $141.1 million and operating revenue of $1.49 billion.
The corporation’s Regulated Operations segment – which includes Minnesota Power, Superior Water, Light and Power, and the company’s investment in the American Transmission Co. (ATC) – recorded net income of $135.5 million, an increase of $3.9 million compared to 2015. The corporation’s regulated utility units generated less electricity but increased revenue. Kilowatt hours sold totaled 14,132 million kilowatt hours compared with 14,352 during 2015. Revenue last year was $1.0 billion versus $991 million during 2016. CFO Steve DeVinck credited the gain to sales on the open market, where prices are higher.
“I am pleased with the company’s position and outlook as we move into 2017,” said ALLETE Chairman, President and CEO Al Hodnik, “Minnesota Power’s industrial customers start the year on a strong note, and our energy infrastructure and related services businesses are well positioned to capitalize on renewed growth and investment initiatives.”
Full-year sales to industrial customers declined by 2.7 percent but fourth quarter sales by MP’s industrial segment were $110 million compared with $103.7 million during the same year-earlier period, reflecting a mining rebound late in the year.
“We expect significant improvement in our industrial sales this year. From a taconite perspective, production was about 28 million tons, and we expect significant improvement during 2017. All of our customers expressed nominations at full production,” DeVinck said during a Wednesday conference call with market analysts. All of MP’s taconite customers will be back online this year, Hodnik added.
In its report, ALLETE said net income for 2016 was impacted by a gain related to the change in fair value of the U.S. Water Services contingent consideration liability, offset by the impact of an adverse November 2016 Minnesota Public Utilities Commission (MPUC) order on the allocation of North Dakota investment tax credits, a goodwill impairment charge related to ALLETE Clean Energy and expense related to the repayment of long-term debt.
ALLETE’s Energy Infrastructure and Related Services businesses, which include ALLETE Clean Energy and U.S. Water Services, recorded net income of $13.4 million and $1.5 million, respectively.
The Corporate and Other segment, which includes BNI Energy and ALLETE Properties, recorded net income of $4.9 million for the year, compared to a net loss of $21.3 million in 2015.
“Allete’s financial position continues to be solid. We are an organization committed to financial discipline,” DeVinck said.