Duke Energy Corp. said yesterday that its third-quarter profit plunged 71 percent because of weakness in the U.S. economy, forcing it to cut 1,500 regular positions and 400 contract workers.
Richard Priory, chairman and chief executive officer, said the move will save Duke about $100 million a year.
The company, based in Charlotte, N.C., said net income in the third quarter was $230 million, or 27 cents a share, down from $796 million, or $1.01 a share, in the third quarter last year.
Excluding charges, earnings per share were 52 cents, which fell short of Wall Street's expectations.
The consensus forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call projected 57 cents a share for the quarter.
Revenue fell to $4.21 billion, down from $4.78 billion a year earlier.
Duke also said its earnings statement has been subpoenaed by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission, an independent federal agency that regulates commodity futures and option markets, and by a federal grand jury investigating its energy-trading activities.
The company said it was cooperating with all of the governmental agencies.
In August, Duke acknowledged that it had identified 89 "round-trip," or wash, trades. In such a trade, an equal amount of electricity is bought and sold at the same price. Such trades inflate revenue and trading volume.
Duke forecast that its earnings per share this year would be at the low end of its previously stated estimate of $1.95 to $2.05, which the company lowered last month.
Duke Energy shares fell $1.06 to $19.08 in trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Bristol-Myers Squibb Co.
The maker of Excedrin and other drugs plans to restate more than $2 billion in revenue dating back to 2000 after the pharmaceutical company improperly lifted sales by offering discounts to wholesalers.
The world's fifth-biggest drug maker said yesterday that reduced demand from overstocked wholesalers helped push third-quarter profit down 75 percent. Net income before expected adjustments dipped to $314 million, or 16 cents a share, from $1.25 billion, or 63 cents, a year earlier. Sales fell 12 percent to $4.2 billion.
U.S. regulators have been probing Bristol-Myers' accounting for sales incentives that left bloated inventories. With the restatement out of the way, Bristol-Myers Chairman Peter Dolan can focus on developing new products to help reverse a stock slump that's made the company a takeover target, investors said.
Sales and earnings will probably be adjusted higher for this year and lower for 2000 and last year, Dolan said in a conference call with investors. The company said this year that a restatement was possible, though "unlikely."
Bristol-Myers shares rose 38 cents to close at $24.17 in New York Stock Exchange composite trading. The stock has lost more than half its value this year.
The drug maker relied on sales incentives to help sustain growth until new heart and cancer medications were ready to sell this year, analysts said. The strategy failed when those experimental drugs encountered setbacks. In April, Bristol-Myers cut 2002 profit forecasts.
Eastman Kodak Co.
The world's largest photography company is cutting 1,300 to 1,700 jobs - up to 2.3 percent of its global payroll - as it struggles to rebound from a two-year slump in film sales it blamed largely on a downturn in the U.S. economy.
The cuts were announced as the world's largest photography company posted sharply higher third-quarter earnings of $334 million, or $1.15 a share, up from $96 million, or 33 cents a share, a year ago.
Sales edged up 1 percent to $3.35 billion from $3.31 billion.
Excluding one-time items, earnings were $304 million, or $1.04 a share.
Dow Chemical Co.
The No. 2 U.S. chemical maker's earnings more than doubled in the third quarter, but the company said it was hindered by higher fuel costs and said it would cut spending to combat the uncertain economy.
The company, based in Midland, Mich., reported net income of $128 million, or 14 cents a share. That compared with $57 million, or 6 cents a share, in the third quarter last year. Excluding one-time expenses, net income was $148 million, or 16 cents a share.
Sales in the third quarter rose 5 percent to $7 billion.
Wendy's International Inc.
The No. 3 hamburger chain's third-quarter earnings rose 16 percent to $60.9 million, or 52 cents a share, for the quarter that ended Sept. 30 on sales of $722.1 million.
That compared with a profit of $52.4 million, or 44 cents a share, on sales of $610.4 million in the third quarter last year.
Wendy's said it was investing $12 million in Pasta Pomodoro, a fast-casual chain with 24 restaurants, mainly in the San Francisco area. Pomodoro chief executive Andriano Paganini said the company plans to have 75 to 100 stores by 2005.
The owner of CBS, MTV, Paramount movie studio and Blockbuster had net earnings of $640 million, or 36 cents a share, in the three months that ended Sept. 30.