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UPDATE 1-Southern Co says southeast economy improving
July 25, 2012 / 6:57 PM / 5 years ago

UPDATE 1-Southern Co says southeast economy improving

* Sees Q3 EPS $1.12 vs est. $1.16

* Q2 adj EPS $0.69 vs est. $0.68 (Adds Q3 forecast from conference call, details on economy)

July 25 (Reuters) - Southern Co, the second-largest U.S. power company by market value, said strong growth in its residential customer numbers indicated continuing economic recovery in the southeastern states of the country.

As power demand tends to reflect growth in a region, Southern Co’s and bigger rival Duke Energy Corp’s comments on customer addition are keenly followed by investors.

“In the first six months of 2012, our traditional operating companies have already added 20,000 new residential customers - more than we originally projected for the entire year,” Southern Co Chief Executive Thomas Fanning said in a statement.

Southern Co, which owns and operates more than 42,000 megawatts of generation capacity and serves 4.3 million customers in Alabama, Georgia, Florida, and Mississippi, forecast a slightly lower-than-expected earnings for the third quarter.

The company sees current-quarter earnings of $1.12 per share. Analysts were expecting $1.16 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Second-quarter earnings rose 3 percent to $623 million, or 71 cents per share. Adjusted profit of 69 cents per share beat estimates of 68 cents per share.

Revenue fell about 8 percent to $4.18 billion, while costs fell 10 percent. (Reporting by Swetha Gopinath in Bangalore; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila)

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