Piedmont Natural Gas fiscal 3Q loss narrows

Associated Press Published: September 7, 2012

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Piedmont Natural Gas Co. said Friday that its fiscal third-quarter loss narrowed, helped by added utility customers and lower costs for natural gas.

For the quarter ended July 31, Piedmont posted a loss of $4.6 million, or 6 cents per share, compared with a loss of $8.7 million, or 12 cents per share, in the same quarter last year.

The loss was smaller than Wall Street expected. Analysts, on average, expected a loss of 8 cents per share, according to a FactSet poll.

Revenue fell 18 percent to $161.1 million from $197.3 million.

The Charlotte, N.C.-based company said its utility profitability improved, helped by increases in commercial and residential customers, higher base utility rates in Tennessee and increased services in its power generation markets.

The company's cost of gas dropped 35 percent to $74.7 million. An overabundance of natural gas on the market, coupled with lower winter demand, has resulted in record-low natural gas prices this year.

Piedmont backed its full-year profit prediction of $1.58 to $1.68 per share, adding that it's likely that the earnings will fall in the middle of that range. Analysts expect $1.57 per share.

Piedmont shares rose 8 cents to $32.08 in morning trading.

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