Southern Company Announces 27 Percent Increase In First Quarter Earnings Per Share

Apr 26, 2001, 01:00 ET from Southern Company

    ATLANTA, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company (NYSE:   SO) today said
 first quarter earnings from operations increased by 27 percent over the same
 period a year ago, boosted by the strong performance of its Mirant subsidiary
 and growing demand for electricity in the Southeast.
     Earnings from operations for the first quarter were $320 million, or
 47 cents per share, compared with $237 million, or 37 cents per share, in the
 same period a year ago.  The first quarter of 2001 is the last quarter in
 which Southern Company will have earnings contributions from Mirant, the
 global energy company that was spun off to Southern Company shareholders
 April 2.
     After non-recurring items, Southern Company's first quarter reported
 earnings were $320 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with $245 million,
 or 38 cents per share, in the first quarter a year ago.
     Following the spinoff of Mirant, Southern Company is focusing on
 three main businesses in the Southeast:  its traditional regulated business in
 Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi; a growing competitive generation
 business in the eight-state "Super Southeast" region; and energy-related
 products and services for its retail customers.
     Excluding any contribution from Mirant, Southern Company exceeded
 analysts' estimates with first quarter earnings from operations of
 $180 million, or 26 cents per share, compared with $151 million, or 23 cents
 per share, in the first three months of 2000.
     "We are on track to deliver on the financial, operating and customer
 service targets we have set for 2001," said Allen Franklin, Southern Company
 chairman, president and chief executive officer.  "Our success in meeting our
 commitments and executing the fundamentals will continue to distinguish
 Southern Company."
     Reviewing operations, Franklin said electricity use by retail customers in
 Southern Company's four-state service area increased 0.9 percent to
 34.2 billion kilowatt-hours in the first quarter, compared with the first
 quarter of 2000.  In-home electricity needs were up 8.6 percent to
 10.7 billion kilowatt-hours.  Electricity use by commercial customers --
 offices, stores and other non-manufacturing firms -- rose 5.1 percent to
 10.7 billion kilowatt-hours.  Industrial energy use declined 7.9 percent to
 12.6 billion kilowatt-hours, mainly because of an overall slowdown in
 manufacturing activity that is occurring across the region.
     Total sales of electricity to Southern Company's customers in the
 Southeast, including sales to other utilities, increased 4.3 percent to
 40.8 billion kilowatt-hours in the first quarter.
     In conjunction with this earnings announcement, Southern Company has
 posted on its Web site a package of detailed financial information on its
 first quarter performance.  These materials are available at 7:30 a.m. EDT
 April 26 at www.southerncompany.com .
     Southern Company's financial analyst call will be at 2:30 p.m. EDT
 April 26, at which time Franklin and Chief Financial Officer Gale Klappa will
 discuss earnings and provide a general business update.  Investors, media and
 the public may listen to a live Webcast of the call at
 www.southerncompany.com .  A replay of the Webcast will be available at the
 site for 10 days.
 
     Southern Company (NYSE:   SO) is a super-regional energy company with more
 than 32,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Southeast.  It is
 one of the largest producers of electricity in the U.S. Southern Company is
 the parent firm of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi
 Power, Savannah Electric, Southern Nuclear, Southern Company Energy Solutions,
 Southern LINC and Southern Telecom.  Southern Company also owns a growing
 competitive generation business in the Southeast.  Southern Company brands are
 synonymous with excellent customer service, high reliability and retail
 electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average.  With more
 than 500,000 shareholders, Southern Company common stock is one of the most
 widely held stocks in the United States.
 
     Forward-looking statements note
     Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking
 information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and
 uncertainties.  Forward-looking information includes, among other things,
 statements concerning Southern Company's ability to meet its financial,
 operating and customer service targets for 2001.  Southern Company cautions
 that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ
 materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided.  The
 reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking
 information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to
 a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the
 control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such
 indicated results will be realized.  The following factors, in addition to
 those discussed in Southern Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year
 ended December 31, 2000, and subsequent securities filings, could cause
 results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such
 forward-looking information:  the impact of recent and future federal and
 state regulatory change, including legislative and regulatory initiatives
 regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry and
 also changes in environmental and other laws and regulations to which Southern
 Company and its subsidiaries are subject, as well as changes in application of
 existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, including the
 EPA civil action against certain subsidiaries of Southern Company and the
 diversity litigation against certain subsidiaries of Southern Company; the
 effects, extent and timing of additional competition in the markets in which
 Southern Company's subsidiaries operate; the impact of fluctuations in
 commodity prices, interest rates and customer demand; state and federal rate
 regulation in the United States; the performance of projects undertaken by the
 non-traditional business and the success of efforts to invest in and develop
 new opportunities; internal restructuring or other restructuring options that
 may be pursued; potential business strategies, including acquisitions or
 dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed
 or beneficial to Southern Company or its subsidiaries; the effects of, and
 changes in, economic conditions in the areas in which Southern Company's
 subsidiaries operate; financial market conditions and the results of financing
 efforts; the timing and acceptance of Southern Company's new product and
 service offerings; the ability of Southern Company to obtain additional
 generating capacity at competitive prices; and weather and other natural
 phenomena.
 
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SOURCE Southern Company
    ATLANTA, April 26 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern Company (NYSE:   SO) today said
 first quarter earnings from operations increased by 27 percent over the same
 period a year ago, boosted by the strong performance of its Mirant subsidiary
 and growing demand for electricity in the Southeast.
     Earnings from operations for the first quarter were $320 million, or
 47 cents per share, compared with $237 million, or 37 cents per share, in the
 same period a year ago.  The first quarter of 2001 is the last quarter in
 which Southern Company will have earnings contributions from Mirant, the
 global energy company that was spun off to Southern Company shareholders
 April 2.
     After non-recurring items, Southern Company's first quarter reported
 earnings were $320 million, or 47 cents per share, compared with $245 million,
 or 38 cents per share, in the first quarter a year ago.
     Following the spinoff of Mirant, Southern Company is focusing on
 three main businesses in the Southeast:  its traditional regulated business in
 Alabama, Florida, Georgia and Mississippi; a growing competitive generation
 business in the eight-state "Super Southeast" region; and energy-related
 products and services for its retail customers.
     Excluding any contribution from Mirant, Southern Company exceeded
 analysts' estimates with first quarter earnings from operations of
 $180 million, or 26 cents per share, compared with $151 million, or 23 cents
 per share, in the first three months of 2000.
     "We are on track to deliver on the financial, operating and customer
 service targets we have set for 2001," said Allen Franklin, Southern Company
 chairman, president and chief executive officer.  "Our success in meeting our
 commitments and executing the fundamentals will continue to distinguish
 Southern Company."
     Reviewing operations, Franklin said electricity use by retail customers in
 Southern Company's four-state service area increased 0.9 percent to
 34.2 billion kilowatt-hours in the first quarter, compared with the first
 quarter of 2000.  In-home electricity needs were up 8.6 percent to
 10.7 billion kilowatt-hours.  Electricity use by commercial customers --
 offices, stores and other non-manufacturing firms -- rose 5.1 percent to
 10.7 billion kilowatt-hours.  Industrial energy use declined 7.9 percent to
 12.6 billion kilowatt-hours, mainly because of an overall slowdown in
 manufacturing activity that is occurring across the region.
     Total sales of electricity to Southern Company's customers in the
 Southeast, including sales to other utilities, increased 4.3 percent to
 40.8 billion kilowatt-hours in the first quarter.
     In conjunction with this earnings announcement, Southern Company has
 posted on its Web site a package of detailed financial information on its
 first quarter performance.  These materials are available at 7:30 a.m. EDT
 April 26 at www.southerncompany.com .
     Southern Company's financial analyst call will be at 2:30 p.m. EDT
 April 26, at which time Franklin and Chief Financial Officer Gale Klappa will
 discuss earnings and provide a general business update.  Investors, media and
 the public may listen to a live Webcast of the call at
 www.southerncompany.com .  A replay of the Webcast will be available at the
 site for 10 days.
 
     Southern Company (NYSE:   SO) is a super-regional energy company with more
 than 32,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity in the Southeast.  It is
 one of the largest producers of electricity in the U.S. Southern Company is
 the parent firm of Alabama Power, Georgia Power, Gulf Power, Mississippi
 Power, Savannah Electric, Southern Nuclear, Southern Company Energy Solutions,
 Southern LINC and Southern Telecom.  Southern Company also owns a growing
 competitive generation business in the Southeast.  Southern Company brands are
 synonymous with excellent customer service, high reliability and retail
 electric prices that are 15 percent below the national average.  With more
 than 500,000 shareholders, Southern Company common stock is one of the most
 widely held stocks in the United States.
 
     Forward-looking statements note
     Certain information contained in this release is forward-looking
 information based on current expectations and plans that involve risks and
 uncertainties.  Forward-looking information includes, among other things,
 statements concerning Southern Company's ability to meet its financial,
 operating and customer service targets for 2001.  Southern Company cautions
 that there are certain factors that can cause actual results to differ
 materially from the forward-looking information that has been provided.  The
 reader is cautioned not to put undue reliance on this forward-looking
 information, which is not a guarantee of future performance and is subject to
 a number of uncertainties and other factors, many of which are outside the
 control of Southern Company; accordingly, there can be no assurance that such
 indicated results will be realized.  The following factors, in addition to
 those discussed in Southern Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year
 ended December 31, 2000, and subsequent securities filings, could cause
 results to differ materially from management expectations as suggested by such
 forward-looking information:  the impact of recent and future federal and
 state regulatory change, including legislative and regulatory initiatives
 regarding deregulation and restructuring of the electric utility industry and
 also changes in environmental and other laws and regulations to which Southern
 Company and its subsidiaries are subject, as well as changes in application of
 existing laws and regulations; current and future litigation, including the
 EPA civil action against certain subsidiaries of Southern Company and the
 diversity litigation against certain subsidiaries of Southern Company; the
 effects, extent and timing of additional competition in the markets in which
 Southern Company's subsidiaries operate; the impact of fluctuations in
 commodity prices, interest rates and customer demand; state and federal rate
 regulation in the United States; the performance of projects undertaken by the
 non-traditional business and the success of efforts to invest in and develop
 new opportunities; internal restructuring or other restructuring options that
 may be pursued; potential business strategies, including acquisitions or
 dispositions of assets or businesses, which cannot be assured to be completed
 or beneficial to Southern Company or its subsidiaries; the effects of, and
 changes in, economic conditions in the areas in which Southern Company's
 subsidiaries operate; financial market conditions and the results of financing
 efforts; the timing and acceptance of Southern Company's new product and
 service offerings; the ability of Southern Company to obtain additional
 generating capacity at competitive prices; and weather and other natural
 phenomena.
 
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                http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X75482955
 
 SOURCE  Southern Company