* FPL to cut 2009 spending, reduce wind power growth
* FPL earnings rise
* Shares flat in premarket NYSE trading (Adds details on capital spending, share price)
NEW YORK, Oct 27 (Reuters) - FPL Group (FPL.N), the largest operator of wind-power generation in the United States, said on Monday it would slash its 2009 spending because of the economic slump, reducing its wind turbine additions.
The company said it would cut 2009 planned capital expenditures nearly 25 percent to $5.3 billion and add 1,100 megawatts in new wind-power generation rather than the 1,500 megawatts it originally had planned.
“Current planning allows the flexibility to quickly ramp plans up or down as credit and market conditions change,” the company said, adding that it could also seek to buy assets.
So far in 2008, FPL has put 499 megawatts of new wind capacity into service and is on track to reach a total of 1,300 megawatts for the year, about equivalent to one large coal-fired power plant.
FPL reported third-quarter earnings rose 45 percent to $774 million, or $1.92 per share on revenue of $5.39 billion. It now expects full-year adjusted earnings per share to be at the low end of the $3.83 to $3.85 per share range previously forecast, but reaffirmed its forecasts for 2009 and 2010.
Excluding extraordinary gains, earnings were $1.25 per share in the third quarter, lagging analysts’ average forecast of $1.35 per share, according to Reuters Estimates.
Juno Beach, Florida-based FPL, which owns the utility Florida Power & Light and a wholesale power generation business, said it had maintained a strong balance sheet and had used only a small portion of its $6.75 billion existing credit facility.
FPL Energy, the company’s wholesale power business, is the largest owner and operator of wind power in the United States with nearly 5,100 megawatts of wind generation at more than 50 sites in 16 states.
The company has said it hopes to add 8,000 to 10,000 megawatts to its portfolio through 2012.
FPL’s shares, which have shed 36 percent so far this year, were unchanged from Friday’s close at $43.20 apiece in premarket trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Matt Daily; Editing by Maureen Bavdek)