* Adjusted profit $1.47/share vs Street view $1.45
* CEO says on track to hit 2012 profit forecast
* Progress-Duke integration on schedule, CEO says
By Ernest Scheyder
Nov 8 Duke Energy Corp, the largest
power company in the United States, posted a
better-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday due to
benefits from its summer acquisition of rival Progress Energy.
For the third quarter, the company posted net income of $594
million, up from $472 million a year earlier. Earnings per share
fell to 85 cents from $1.06 as shares outstanding increased 57
percent, due in part to the Progress deal.
Excluding charges to integrate Progress and other one-time
items, Duke earned $1.47 per share. By that measure, analysts
expected $1.45, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Chief Executive Jim Rogers said Duke is "on track" to hit
its 2012 earnings forecast of $4.20 to $4.35 per share, and the
integration of the two companies is progressing.
"I've pretty much stopped speaking outside the company,"
Rogers said in an interview. "I've been focused internally
trying to integrate these two teams. We're on the way."
The integration has been challenged by the way Rogers was
put into his current role.
Shortly after the $18 billion Progress Energy deal closed in
July, the combined company's new board said Progress Chief
Executive Bill Johnson had resigned and would not be taking the
top job at the combined company as had been planned.
Rogers, Duke's CEO as the merger was negotiated, was asked
to stay at the helm.
The swap left many legacy Progress employees uneasy about
the change and about Rogers. Rogers told North Carolina
regulators that Duke's board had grown worried about Johnson's
"autocratic" management style and ability to lead such a large
Johnson now runs the Tennessee Valley Authority.
Rogers, 65, says he has no plans to leave Duke any time
"I'm serving at the pleasure of the board and focused on
getting these two companies to come together," he told Reuters.
"Sixty-five, in my judgment, is the new 55."
Charlotte, North Carolina-based Duke is the largest U.S.
power company, with 57,000 megawatts of generating capacity and
7.1 million electricity customers in North Carolina, South
Carolina, Florida, Indiana, Kentucky and Ohio.
Duke is also the second-largest U.S. operator of nuclear
Shares of Duke closed Wednesday at $62.94, down nearly 5
percent this year.