HEI earnings surge 32.8% in 1st quarter
By Rick Daysog
Advertiser Staff Writer
Benefiting from higher rates and increased usage, Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc. posted a 32.8 percent rise in its first quarter earnings.
The company said it netted $27.1 million, or 29 cents per share, during the three months ending March 31, 2010, compared with $20.4 million, or 22 cents in the year-earlier period.
The results were well within the 30 cents per share range projected by Wall Street analysts surveyed by Bloomberg News.
Shares of Hawaiian Electric were up 96 cents, or more than 4.3 percent, to $23.08 on the New York Stock Exchange yesterday.
"We are making solid progress in improving the performance of our operating companies," said Constance Lau, HEI's president and CEO.
The company said higher electricity rates added $9 million in revenue during the quarter while kilowatt-hour sales rose 1.9 percent.
Since August, the state Public Utilities Commission has approved two interim rate hikes totaling 5.7 percent to pay for HECO's new biodiesel-fueled generating unit at Campbell Industrial Park and other investments.
The company also noted it benefited from this year's warmer weather conditions compared with last year's unusually cool temperatures.
HEI supplies power to more than 400,000 resident and business customers in Hawai'i, or about 95 percent of the state's electricity needs.
It also owns American Savings Bank, the state's third largest financial institution. During the quarter, the company said American Savings' net income rose 25.6 percent during the first quarter to $13.7 million.
The company said its noninterest expenses dropped by $2 million while noninterest income rose by $1 million. The bank's provision for loan losses fell $2.9 million to $5.4 million.
"We are encouraged by another quarter of lower noninterest expenses and moderating credit costs," Lau said.