Nicor Reports First Quarter 2001 Financial Results

Apr 18, 2001, 01:00 ET from Nicor Inc.

    NAPERVILLE, Ill., April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Nicor Inc. today reported first
 quarter 2001 diluted earnings per common share of $.85, compared to $.83 per
 share in 2000. Net income' of $38.8 million is the same as 2000's first
 quarter net income.  The company's common stock repurchase programs favorably
 affected per share results.
     Operating income was $68.0 million for the quarter, compared with
 $70.2 million a year ago.  The decline in operating income relates primarily
 to the shipping segment as there were substantially fewer construction
 projects and related volumes in the Caribbean region this quarter.  This was
 partially offset by an improvement in Nicor's non-traditional energy-related
 ventures.
     Our results continue to demonstrate the successful implementation of our
 strategies through challenging times in our industry," said Thomas L. Fisher,
 chairman, president and chief executive officer.
     "Assuming normal weather for the remainder of the year, we believe 2001
 annual earnings should be in the range of $3.05 to $3.15 per share and
 anticipate that second quarter earnings will be in the range of $.65 to
 $.75 per share."
     More detailed results for the first quarter follow:
     -- Gas distribution operating income was essentially unchanged for the
        first quarter at $64.6 million, compared to $65.0 million a year ago.
        Margin improvements due to colder weather, increased income from gas
        supply services and contributions from the gas cost performance-based
        rate plan, were more than offset by increased operating costs
        attributable to significantly higher natural gas prices including bad
        debt expense, company use of natural gas and customer service costs.
        The positive contributions from colder weather on year-to-year
        operating results were partially offset by the impact of weather
        insurance benefits recorded last year.
     -- Containerized shipping operating income decreased to $3.3 million in
        the first quarter from $5.6 million a year ago due to lower volumes
        shipped and higher operating costs which more than offset the positive
        impact of slightly higher average rates.   Lower volumes were primarily
        attributable to a slow down in the economy and fewer new construction
        projects in the Caribbean.
     -- Other operating income improved for the quarter due to higher
        operating results from the company's wholesale natural gas marketing
        and residential energy-related services businesses.
     -- Two additional items that had a positive impact on the year-to-year
        earnings change were an improvement in the operating results of the
        company's nonregulated retail energy marketing joint venture and a
        decrease in the effective income tax rate related to Nicor's shipping
        segment.
 
     Nicor (NYSE:   GAS) is a holding company. Its principal businesses are Nicor
 Gas, one of the nation's largest gas distribution companies, and Tropical
 Shipping, a containerized shipping business that operates between Florida and
 the Caribbean. Nicor also owns several unregulated energy-related businesses
 and is a partner in Nicor Energy, a retail energy marketer.  For more
 information, visit the Nicor website at http://www.nicor.com .
 
     Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements --
     This document includes certain forward-looking statements about the
 earnings expectations of Nicor Inc. and its subsidiaries.  Although Nicor
 believes these statements are based on reasonable assumptions, actual results
 may vary materially from stated expectations.  Factors that could cause
 materially different results include, but are not limited to, natural gas
 prices, weather conditions, economic and market conditions, interest rates,
 legislative and regulatory actions, performance-based rate plan results,
 property sales and any future mercury-related charges or credits.
 
 
                     CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
                  Unaudited (millions, except per share data)
 
                                     Three months ended   Twelve months ended
                                           March 31           March 31
                                         2001     2000     2001      2000
 
     Operating revenues                $1,473.7  $659.3  $3,112.5  $1,698.1
 
     Operating expenses
       Cost of gas                      1,174.6   390.2   2,188.3     866.6
       Operating and maintenance          101.4    94.3     393.9     363.7
       Depreciation                        58.6    56.9     145.9     142.1
       Taxes, other than income taxes      71.1    47.7     144.4     109.0
       Other                                -       -       148.0       -
                                        1,405.7   589.1   3,020.5   1,481.4
 
     Operating income                      68.0    70.2      92.0     216.7
 
     Other income (expense), net            4.6     2.4      17.7      18.9
 
     Income before interest on debt
       and income taxes                    72.6    72.6     109.7     235.6
 
     Interest on debt, net of
       amounts capitalized                 14.3    12.3      50.6      45.3
 
     Income before income taxes            58.3    60.3      59.1     190.3
 
     Income taxes                          19.5    21.5      12.4      66.1
 
     Net income                            38.8    38.8      46.7     124.2
 
     Dividends on preferred stock            .1      .1        .3        .3
 
     Earnings applicable to
       common stock                       $38.7   $38.7     $46.4    $123.9
 
     Average shares of common stock
       outstanding
         Basic                             45.4    46.7      45.8      47.1
         Diluted                           45.6    46.8      45.9      47.2
 
     Earnings per average share of
       common stock
         Basic                             $.85    $.83     $1.01     $2.63
         Diluted                            .85     .83      1.01      2.63
 
 
     Nicor Inc.
 
     FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
     Unaudited (millions, except per share data)
 
                                     Three months ended  Twelve months ended
                                           March 31           March 31
                                          2001     2000      2001      2000
 
     Operating revenues
       Gas distribution                $1,346.5  $573.6  $2,668.8  $1,387.2
       Shipping                            58.7    59.3     247.6     235.4
       Other energy ventures               93.4    26.5     236.9      77.6
       Corporate and eliminations         (24.9)    (.1)    (40.8)     (2.1)
 
                                       $1,473.7  $659.3  $3,112.5  $1,698.1
 
     Operating income (loss)
       Gas distribution                   $64.6   $65.0     $64.4    $195.1
       Shipping                             3.3     5.6      23.4      23.7
       Other energy ventures                 .9     (.1)      7.4       1.1
       Corporate and eliminations           (.8)    (.3)     (3.2)     (3.2)
 
                                          $68.0   $70.2     $92.0    $216.7
 
     Other income (expense), net
       Interest income                     $2.5    $1.2      $6.3      $5.4
       Asset sales                           .3     -         7.4       1.3
       Other                                1.8     1.2       4.0      12.2
 
                                           $4.6    $2.4     $17.7     $18.9
 
     Net income                           $38.8   $38.8     $46.7    $124.2
 
     Earnings applicable to
       common stock                       $38.7   $38.7     $46.4    $123.9
 
     Average shares of common stock
       outstanding
         Basic                             45.4    46.7      45.8      47.1
         Diluted                           45.6    46.8      45.9      47.2
 
     Earnings per average share of
       common stock
         Basic                             $.85    $.83     $1.01     $2.63
         Diluted                            .85     .83      1.01      2.63
 
 

SOURCE Nicor Inc.
    NAPERVILLE, Ill., April 18 /PRNewswire/ -- Nicor Inc. today reported first
 quarter 2001 diluted earnings per common share of $.85, compared to $.83 per
 share in 2000. Net income' of $38.8 million is the same as 2000's first
 quarter net income.  The company's common stock repurchase programs favorably
 affected per share results.
     Operating income was $68.0 million for the quarter, compared with
 $70.2 million a year ago.  The decline in operating income relates primarily
 to the shipping segment as there were substantially fewer construction
 projects and related volumes in the Caribbean region this quarter.  This was
 partially offset by an improvement in Nicor's non-traditional energy-related
 ventures.
     Our results continue to demonstrate the successful implementation of our
 strategies through challenging times in our industry," said Thomas L. Fisher,
 chairman, president and chief executive officer.
     "Assuming normal weather for the remainder of the year, we believe 2001
 annual earnings should be in the range of $3.05 to $3.15 per share and
 anticipate that second quarter earnings will be in the range of $.65 to
 $.75 per share."
     More detailed results for the first quarter follow:
     -- Gas distribution operating income was essentially unchanged for the
        first quarter at $64.6 million, compared to $65.0 million a year ago.
        Margin improvements due to colder weather, increased income from gas
        supply services and contributions from the gas cost performance-based
        rate plan, were more than offset by increased operating costs
        attributable to significantly higher natural gas prices including bad
        debt expense, company use of natural gas and customer service costs.
        The positive contributions from colder weather on year-to-year
        operating results were partially offset by the impact of weather
        insurance benefits recorded last year.
     -- Containerized shipping operating income decreased to $3.3 million in
        the first quarter from $5.6 million a year ago due to lower volumes
        shipped and higher operating costs which more than offset the positive
        impact of slightly higher average rates.   Lower volumes were primarily
        attributable to a slow down in the economy and fewer new construction
        projects in the Caribbean.
     -- Other operating income improved for the quarter due to higher
        operating results from the company's wholesale natural gas marketing
        and residential energy-related services businesses.
     -- Two additional items that had a positive impact on the year-to-year
        earnings change were an improvement in the operating results of the
        company's nonregulated retail energy marketing joint venture and a
        decrease in the effective income tax rate related to Nicor's shipping
        segment.
 
     Nicor (NYSE:   GAS) is a holding company. Its principal businesses are Nicor
 Gas, one of the nation's largest gas distribution companies, and Tropical
 Shipping, a containerized shipping business that operates between Florida and
 the Caribbean. Nicor also owns several unregulated energy-related businesses
 and is a partner in Nicor Energy, a retail energy marketer.  For more
 information, visit the Nicor website at http://www.nicor.com .
 
     Caution Concerning Forward-Looking Statements --
     This document includes certain forward-looking statements about the
 earnings expectations of Nicor Inc. and its subsidiaries.  Although Nicor
 believes these statements are based on reasonable assumptions, actual results
 may vary materially from stated expectations.  Factors that could cause
 materially different results include, but are not limited to, natural gas
 prices, weather conditions, economic and market conditions, interest rates,
 legislative and regulatory actions, performance-based rate plan results,
 property sales and any future mercury-related charges or credits.
 
 
                     CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS
                  Unaudited (millions, except per share data)
 
                                     Three months ended   Twelve months ended
                                           March 31           March 31
                                         2001     2000     2001      2000
 
     Operating revenues                $1,473.7  $659.3  $3,112.5  $1,698.1
 
     Operating expenses
       Cost of gas                      1,174.6   390.2   2,188.3     866.6
       Operating and maintenance          101.4    94.3     393.9     363.7
       Depreciation                        58.6    56.9     145.9     142.1
       Taxes, other than income taxes      71.1    47.7     144.4     109.0
       Other                                -       -       148.0       -
                                        1,405.7   589.1   3,020.5   1,481.4
 
     Operating income                      68.0    70.2      92.0     216.7
 
     Other income (expense), net            4.6     2.4      17.7      18.9
 
     Income before interest on debt
       and income taxes                    72.6    72.6     109.7     235.6
 
     Interest on debt, net of
       amounts capitalized                 14.3    12.3      50.6      45.3
 
     Income before income taxes            58.3    60.3      59.1     190.3
 
     Income taxes                          19.5    21.5      12.4      66.1
 
     Net income                            38.8    38.8      46.7     124.2
 
     Dividends on preferred stock            .1      .1        .3        .3
 
     Earnings applicable to
       common stock                       $38.7   $38.7     $46.4    $123.9
 
     Average shares of common stock
       outstanding
         Basic                             45.4    46.7      45.8      47.1
         Diluted                           45.6    46.8      45.9      47.2
 
     Earnings per average share of
       common stock
         Basic                             $.85    $.83     $1.01     $2.63
         Diluted                            .85     .83      1.01      2.63
 
 
     Nicor Inc.
 
     FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS
     Unaudited (millions, except per share data)
 
                                     Three months ended  Twelve months ended
                                           March 31           March 31
                                          2001     2000      2001      2000
 
     Operating revenues
       Gas distribution                $1,346.5  $573.6  $2,668.8  $1,387.2
       Shipping                            58.7    59.3     247.6     235.4
       Other energy ventures               93.4    26.5     236.9      77.6
       Corporate and eliminations         (24.9)    (.1)    (40.8)     (2.1)
 
                                       $1,473.7  $659.3  $3,112.5  $1,698.1
 
     Operating income (loss)
       Gas distribution                   $64.6   $65.0     $64.4    $195.1
       Shipping                             3.3     5.6      23.4      23.7
       Other energy ventures                 .9     (.1)      7.4       1.1
       Corporate and eliminations           (.8)    (.3)     (3.2)     (3.2)
 
                                          $68.0   $70.2     $92.0    $216.7
 
     Other income (expense), net
       Interest income                     $2.5    $1.2      $6.3      $5.4
       Asset sales                           .3     -         7.4       1.3
       Other                                1.8     1.2       4.0      12.2
 
                                           $4.6    $2.4     $17.7     $18.9
 
     Net income                           $38.8   $38.8     $46.7    $124.2
 
     Earnings applicable to
       common stock                       $38.7   $38.7     $46.4    $123.9
 
     Average shares of common stock
       outstanding
         Basic                             45.4    46.7      45.8      47.1
         Diluted                           45.6    46.8      45.9      47.2
 
     Earnings per average share of
       common stock
         Basic                             $.85    $.83     $1.01     $2.63
         Diluted                            .85     .83      1.01      2.63
 
 SOURCE  Nicor Inc.