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Published: Tuesday, 2/20/2007

FirstEnergy earnings up 44 percent, revenue down in 4th quarter


AKRON, Ohio - FirstEnergy Corp. said today that earnings rose 44 percent in the fourth quarter, benefiting from electric rates in Ohio and favorable regulatory rulings in Pennsylvania.

In the quarter ended Dec. 31, the regional electric power generation and transmission company earned $274 million, or 84 cents per share, on revenue of $2.69 billion. The company also reported special gains of 1 cent per share.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected earnings of 85 cents per share.

In the fourth quarter of 2005, FirstEnergy earned $190 million, or 58 cents per share, on revenue of $2.72 billion. The utility was hurt by one-time charges in the quarter, including a $28 million fine it paid after admitting its employees covered up serious damage at its Davis-Besse nuclear power plant along Lake Erie east of Toledo. The reactor corrosion damage was made public in 2002.

The lower revenue reflects the sale of some businesses.

For 2006, FirstEnergy made $1.25 billion, or $3.81 per share, including charges of 4 cents per share. Net income in 2005 was $861 million, or $2.61 per share. Revenue was $11.5 billion compared with $11.4 billion a year ago.

FirstEnergy shares climbed 67 cents, or about 1 percent, to $63.74 in trading Tuesday morning on the New York Stock Exchange. Shares have traded between $48.23 and $64.35 in the past year.

FirstEnergy controls seven electric utility operating companies. It serves 4.5 million customers in Ohio, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.

Read more in later editions of The Blade and toledoblade.com.

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