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Edison earnings decline

May 09, 2008|Elizabeth Douglass | Times Staff Writer

Utility owner Edison International said Thursday that sales rose for the year's first quarter, but net income fell 10% compared with the year-ago period, when results were boosted by a tax-related gain.

The Rosemead-based company, which owns Southern California Edison Co., said net profit totaled $299 million, or 91 cents a share, for the three months that ended March 31, down from $333 million, or $1 a share, for the first quarter of 2007.

Not counting special items, the per-share earnings were 92 cents, up from 90 cents and equal to analysts' mean estimate, according to Thomson Financial. First-quarter revenue rose to $3.1 billion, up 6%.

Edison now expects its full-year earnings to be at the high end of its earlier per-share estimate of $3.61 to $4.01, the company said.

Chief Financial Officer Thomas R. McDaniel told analysts the brighter outlook reflected higher selling prices for the electricity generated by Edison Mission Group, the company's unregulated power producer.

Edison International's shares rose 44 cents to $51.63.

Southern California Edison, which provides electricity to 4.8 million homes and businesses, collected 5.7% more in revenue for the quarter. The unit's quarterly income totaled $150 million, down almost 17% compared with $180 million in the first quarter of 2007, when the utility booked an extra $31 million in tax benefits.

At Edison Mission Group, revenue jumped 7% to $719 million, while profit rose almost 3%. The subsidiary benefited from higher margins, better energy trading results and the buyout of a coal contract, the company said.

Chief Executive John E. Bryson underscored the importance of Edison International's pending proposal to collect $5.2 billion in customer rates in 2009, a jump of more than 16% compared with current rates.

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elizabeth.douglass@latimes.com

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