July 25, 2012 / 1:22 PM / 5 years ago

Southern Co profit beats Street on lower costs

(Reuters) - Power company Southern Co’s (SO.N) quarterly profit beat analysts’ estimates as lower costs offset a fall in residential and commercial energy sales.

Southern Co added 20,000 new residential customers in the first six months of 2012.

Strong residential customer growth was the latest indicator of a continuing economic recovery in the Southeast, Chief Executive Thomas Fanning said.

Near-normal weather during the second quarter, however, hurt sales, the company said. Residential and commercial energy sales decreased 4.3 percent and 1.4 percent, respectively.

Profit rose to $623 million, or 71 cents per share, in the second quarter from $604 million, or 71 cents per share, a year earlier.

Profit on an adjusted basis was 69 cents per share. Analysts had expected 68 cents per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Revenue fell about 8 percent to $4.18 billion while costs fell 10 percent.

(This story corrected headline and first paragraph to say Southern Co beat analysts’ estimates. Adds adjusted earnings and analysts’ estimates in paragraph six.)

Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore

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