Duke Energy recorded lower profits for 2012 than the previous year but beat analysts' earnings estimates, the company reported Wednesday.
Boosted by Duke's mid-year merger with Progress Energy, net income of $435 million in the fourth quarter compared to $288 million in 2011. Reported earnings per share of 62 cents for the quarter dropped from the 65 cents of 2011.
For the full year, reported earnings of $3.07 on $1.76 billion in net income, compared to $3.83 in 2011.
CEO Jim Rogers said Duke's nuclear fleet performed well in 2012, a year in which Duke also began operating three new North Carolina power plants and resolved state investigations in North Carolina and Indiana.
"From a financial perspective, we achieved our objectives by delivering 2012 adjusted (earnings) near the top of our guidance range, increasing the dividend and maintaining the strength of our balance sheet," Rogers said in a statement.
Adjusted for special charges, fourth-quarter earnings of 70 cents beat analysts' estimates of 65 cents. For the year, adjusted earnings of $4.32 compared to $4.38 in 2011 but also beat estimates.
Costs of the Progress merger took 70 cents a share from the year's earnings, and cost overruns at the Edwardsport power plant nearing startup in Indiana took another 70 cents.
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