American Electric 2Q Profit Drops 54% on Low Demand

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American Electric Power Co. (NYSE:AEP) reported Friday a 54% drop in its second-quarter profit, partially driven by still-low demand that has yet to offset expenses.

The electricity utility posted earnings of $136 million, or 28 cents a share, compared with $316 million, or 67 cents a share, in the same quarter last year. Excluding special items, the company’s EPS were 74 cents, landing ahead of average analyst estimates of 69 cents, according to a Thomson Reuters poll.

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Revenue for the Columbus, Ohio-based company was $3.4 billion, up from $3.2 billion a year ago, only marginally missing the Street’s view of $3.48 billion.

American Electric CEO Michael G. Morris said he believed the company had a “solid financial performance,” despite the “continued slow economic recovery,” though he noted that the industrial sector has seen recovery, as sales increased 9.4% from the prior year quarter. Demand in other sectors however, has remained virtually flat, he said.

"We benefited from our geographic diversity, with sales volumes by our western and Ohio utilities showing growth over the prior period, while sales volumes in our east regulated utilities have seen little improvement,” he said.

A staff reduction last quarter may help the company improve on its profit for the remainder of the year, he said.

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