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Great Plains Energy Turns To Q4 Profit; Cuts FY12 Outlook

Great Plains Energy Inc. (GXP) Monday reported a profit for the fourth quarter available for common shareholders of $1.7 million or $0.01 per share, compared to a loss of $5.3 million or $0.04 per share in the year-ago quarter.

On average, 7 analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.02 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude special items.

The company attributed the result to a $7.5 million or $0.05 per share increase at the Electric Utility segment which includes KCP&L and the regulated utility operations of GMO.

Quarterly net income for the Electric Utility segment was $10.0 million or $0.07 per share compared to $2.5 million or $0.02 per share in 2010. The results included new retail rates at KCP&L and GMO, exclusion of regulatory amortization, lower depreciation rates established in KCP&L's recent Kansas and Missouri rate cases. On a weather-normalized basis, MWh sales fell an estimated 1.2 percent with declines of 1.4 percent, 0.8 percent and 2.6 percent in the residential, commercial and industrial sectors.

The Other category generated a loss of $8.3 million or $0.06 per share compared to a loss of $7.8 million or $0.06 per share in 2010.

Operating revenues for the quarter grew to $486.3 million from $467.8 million in the year-ago quarter. Two Street analysts expected revenues of $476.3 million for the quarter.

For the full year, earnings dropped to $172.8 million or $1.25 per share from $210.1 million or $1.53 per share in 2010.

Lower earnings for the year were primarily due to coal conservation activities and other expenses associated with Missouri River flooding, regulatory lag from higher property taxes and fuel transportation costs and an organizational realignment and voluntary separation program.

Mike Chesser, chairman and CEO, said," We introduced initiatives to right-size our Company that will reduce costs and enhance operational efficiency."

For 2012, the Kansas City, Missouri-headquartered company lowered its earnings guidance to $1.20 to $1.40 per share from $1.35 to $1.55 per share provided earlier. The company cited slower than expected growth in customer demand and soft wholesale energy market conditions. Street currently expect $1.49 per share for fiscal year 2012.

GXP closed Monday's regular trading at $20.67, down $0.14 or 0.67%, on the NYSE. In the after-hours, the stock gained $0.06 or 0.29%. Over the past year, the stock traded in a range of $16.34 - $22.09.

by RTT Staff Writer

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