* Dominion - Looking for modestly improving economy in '10
* AEP - Not seeing continued decline in sales
* Rev at all three cos falls short of expectations
* Dominion, AEP, Xcel shares fall 1 pct
(Adds details from conf calls, updates share movement)
By Hezron Selvi and Adveith Nair
BANGALORE, Jan 28 Power producers Dominion
Resources Inc (D.N), American Electric Power Co (AEP.N) and
Xcel Energy Inc (XEL.N) posted better-than-expected quarterly
profits and backed their full-year earnings outlooks,
indicating confidence that the economy is turning around.
"The best news is that we aren't seeing a continued decline
in sales," AEP Chief Executive Michael Morris said in a
On a conference call with analysts, executives at Richmond,
Virginia-based Dominion echoed Moriss' views.
"The Virginia economy has held up relatively well during
the economic downturn... we are looking for a modestly
improving economy in 2010," Dominion Chief Executive Thomas
Farrell said, adding that he was "optimistic" about 2010.
Executives at Minneapolis-based Xcel said while 2009 was
largely defined by sluggish electric retail sales, "we do
retain some slight optimism for 2010."
AEP's Morris noted that industrial sales showed a slight
uptick in December, but cautioned that one month does not
represent a trend.
He said residential and commercial sales, an area of
significant year-on-year growth before the recession, have
stalled, but did not decline as much as expected.
However, a weak economy did manage to put a damper on
fourth-quarter electricity sales, and revenue at all three
companies came in below consensus estimates.
Dominion reported the largest drop. Fourth-quarter revenue
at the company fell 22 percent to $3.27 billion, well short of
analysts estimates of about $4 billion. [ID:nN28146487]
Xcel reported sales of $2.62 billion, down 3 percent from a
year-ago, and way below consensus estimates of $3.50 billion.
And while AEP reported a slight uptick in revenue -- up 3
percent at $3.3 billion -- this was still below the $3.5
billion that analysts had expected. [ID:nN28187085].
This mirrored Southern Co's (SO.N) results. On Wednesday,
the company reported sales way short of estimates, but edged
past Wall Street's profit expectations. [ID:nSGE60P0CW]
Profit at Columbus, Ohio-based AEP climbed to 50 cents a
share, from 38 cents a share a year earlier. This topped
analysts' average forecast of a profit of 46 cents per share.
Xcel reported a fourth-quarter profit of 37 cents a share,
1 cent above both Wall Street estimates and its year-ago profit
of 36 cents a share.
Excluding one-time items, Dominion earned 63 cents per
share, topping the 60 cents a share profit that analysts had
Shares of all three companies were down about 1 percent
Thursday afternoon the New York Stock Exchange.
(Editing by Mike Miller and Gopakumar Warrier)