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AGL Resources Profit Surges; Stock Down On Weak Outlook - Update

Natural gas distributor AGL Resources Inc. (GAS), Wednesday reported a surge in fourth-quarter profit, reflecting the addition of Nicor businesses, warmer-than-normal weather and mark-to-market hedge movements. Results were also helped by lower merger-related charges, compared with last year.

Moving forward, the company provided a soft outlook for fiscal year 2013, citing weak market fundamentals at many of its unregulated subsidiaries and persistent inflationary pressures.

Shares of AGL Resources are down 4.6 percent in morning trade on the New York Stock Exchange.

Atlanta, Georgia-based AGL Resources engages in natural gas distribution, retail operations, wholesale services, midstream operations and cargo shipping. The company's results were buttressed by the December 2011 merger with Nicor Inc. that resulted in the creation of a leading natural gas distribution entity.

AGL Resources reported fourth-quarter net income of $98 million or $0.84 per share, compared with $33 million or $0.37 per share last year.

Results for the prior-year quarter included transaction costs of $0.57 per share related to the Nicor merger.

Excluding items, adjusted earnings for the quarter were $0.91 per share, compared with $.94 per share last year.

Operating revenues for the quarter sharply increased to $1.2 billion from $790 million a year ago.

For fiscal year 2013, AGL expects earnings of $2.50 to $2.70 per share on a consolidated basis, and $2.40 to $2.50 per share excluding wholesale services.

The company's stock is trading at $40.21, down $1.95 or 4.63%.

by RTT Staff Writer

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