FPL Group, Inc. today announced at a company-hosted investor conference that it expects to report 2002 first quarter recurring earnings per share of 78 cents to 80 cents. The company is scheduled to issue its first quarter results later this month.
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Analysts' consensus for FPL Group's earnings (as reported by First Call) falls within the company's earnings projection range. FPL Group officials said earnings would have been higher were it not for drought conditions in the Northeast where FPL Energy owns and operates numerous hydroelectric plants.
At the conference in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, Moray Dewhurst, chief financial officer, also said he expects 2002 earnings to be $4.78 to $4.82. The modest increase reflects projected flat earnings at the company's principal subsidiary, Florida Power & Light, due to a recent Florida Public Service Commission-approved rate reduction for the utility and a slow-down in the Florida economy. He said the company's independent power producer subsidiary, FPL Energy, is expected to increase earnings in 2002 by 15 to 20 percent compared to 2001. That subsidiary's earnings growth reflects the impact of the Northeast drought in the first quarter and assumes the addition of approximately 500 megawatts of wind generation, normal weather conditions the remainder of the year and no major declines in power markets.
For 2003 through 2005, Mr. Dewhurst indicated that FPL Group expects to realize 6 to 8 percent average annual earnings growth. He said he expects FPL to achieve average annual earnings growth of 4 to 5 percent, driven by anticipated growth in customer accounts and usage per customer, cost management and lower depreciation. FPL Energy is expected to grow earnings on average 20 to 30 percent per year during that period, as several gas-fired power projects transition from construction to operation, and the company adds at least 500 to 1,000 megawatts of wind generation.
At the conference, the company also announced that its 2002 first quarter net income will be affected by two nonrecurring items, including a $30-million gain on the settlement of litigation with the Internal Revenue Service and a potential impairment loss on goodwill. The potential impairment is primarily associated with previously acquired assets in Maine and is a result of implementing a new accounting standard (FAS 142), which changes the methodology for assessing impairment.
Based on the new accounting standard, FPL Group has conducted a preliminary initial impairment test of goodwill that indicates it is likely that an impairment loss of up to pre-tax $365 million will be recorded in the first quarter of 2002. The company expects to finalize the initial impairment test prior to the release of its first quarter 2002 earnings later this month.
FPL Group, with annual revenues of more than $8 billion, is nationally known as a high-quality, efficient, and customer-driven organization focused on energy-related products and services. With a growing presence in more than a dozen states, it is widely recognized as one of the country's premier power companies. Its principal subsidiary, Florida Power & Light Company, serves approximately 3.9 million customer accounts in Florida. FPL Energy, LLC, an FPL Group energy-generating subsidiary, is a leader in producing electricity from clean and renewable fuels. Additional information is available on the Internet at www. fplgroup.com, http://www.fpl.com/ and http://www.fplenergy.com/.
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SOURCE: FPL Group, Inc.