Allegheny Energy Inc. , blaming mild weather and a slowing economy, cut its earnings forecast for 2001 yesterday and said it expected earnings in 2002 to be flat.
The Hagerstown energy company said it now expected earnings for the year to range from $3.60 to $3.70 a share, excluding one-time items, down from an earlier estimate of $3.80 to $4.10 a share. The profit next year is expected to be in the same range.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial/First Call had expected earnings of $3.90 a share for the fiscal year ending Monday, and $4.15 for 2002.
The earnings revision was issued after the stock market closed yesterday. Allegheny shares rose 56 cents to close at $36.39, 34 percent off its 52-week high.
"Mild weather and reduced economic activity have negatively affected earnings in the fourth quarter, which, in spite of solid performance in the first nine months of the year, will result in full-year earnings below previously expected levels of $3.80 to $4.10," said Chief Financial Officer Bruce E. Walenczyk.
Allegheny earned $2.84 a share in 2000.
Walenczyk said the recession, lower wholesale electricity prices, price caps in the West and increases in security expenses would likely keep 2002 earnings flat.
Allegheny Energy expects to report earnings in late January.
Allegheny Energy is the parent of Allegheny Power, sells electricity and natural gas to about 3 million people in Western Maryland, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and West Virginia.
It also operates Allegheny Energy Supply Co., its unregulated wholesale generating and energy trading subsidiary, and Allegheny Ventures, which invests in and develops telecommunications and energy-related projects.