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California and the West

Edison's profit up 5.9% in quarter

March 01, 2007|Elizabeth Douglass | Times Staff Writer

Edison International, owner of California's second-largest electricity utility, said Wednesday that fourth-quarter profit rose 5.9%, boosted in part by the sale of international power projects.

Chief Executive John Bryson said the company expected higher growth at its Southern California Edison utility over the next five years because electricity demands were rising in its service territory and because California regulators wanted more in-state power supplies. Bryson reiterated Edison's 2007 earnings estimate of $3.05 to $3.45 a share.

Responding to questions about this week's mega-buyout of TXU Corp., which owns power plants and runs a Texas utility, Bryson said: "Our strategy is not the same as TXU's, but the scale of our growth prospects has some similarity with what they had foreseen." He added that he viewed the TXU deal as "an indication of special value potentially in our business as well."

The Rosemead-based holding company reported net income of $288 million, or 87 cents a share, for the three months that ended Dec. 31, up from $272 million, or 82 cents, in the year-earlier quarter.

Results for the quarter reflected 3.3% higher operating earnings of $158 million at Southern California Edison, including tax and other special items.

Higher electricity rates, revenue from its new Mountainview power plant in Redlands and lower taxes pushed up profit from the utility's core operations to $105 million, a 19% increase from the final quarter of 2005.

Earnings at Mission Energy Holding Co., Edison's power production and trading arm, plummeted to $69 million from $148 million a year earlier, reflecting lower margins on power sales and a drop in trading income.

The company's power project investment unit, Edison Capital, posted income of $44 million for the quarter, up from $5 million, on gains from such holdings as global infrastructure funds.

For the full year, Edison posted net income of $1.18 billion, or $3.58 a share, up nearly 4% from earnings of $1.14 billion, or $3.47, in 2005.

Edison shares gained 17 cents to $47.

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elizabeth.douglass@latimes.com

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