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Dominion Sees 2009 Operating Profit Up 4%

Dominion Resources on Thursday estimated its operating earnings in 2009 will grow up to 4.4 percent from last year and predicted 2010 earnings that beat analyst expectations.

The company forecast operating earnings, which exclude special charges not considered reflective of business operations, of $3.20 per share to $3.30 per share for 2009 and $3.33 to $3.50 per share for 2010. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters forecast earnings per share of $3.26 and $3.31, respectively. Analysts typically exclude one-time items.

Electricity
Electricity

For the first quarter of 2009, operating earning are pegged in a range of 85 cents to 90 cents per share, compared with 89 cents for the same period last year. Analysts expect earnings for the first quarter of 99 cents per share.

Chief Executive Thomas Farrell II also forecast growth in operating earnings of 6 percent or more beyond 2010.

The company also said fourth-quarter profit rose 17 percent due to significant cost cuts, but reported a full-year 2008 net income that sank 30 percent on the impact of economic woes and milder-than-normal utility weather.

Quarterly earnings rose to $348 million, or 60 cents per share, on revenue of $4.17 billion, primarily due to lower outage costs and operating expenses, lower taxes and strength in its merchant generation business.

Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters estimated a profit of 68 cents per share on revenue of $3.51 billion.

For the full-year 2008, Dominion's net income fell 28 percent to $1.83 billion, or $3.16 per share, compared with $2.54 billion, or $3.88 per share, in 2007, due to a "challenging" market and lower demand due to milder utility weather.

Shares of Dominion were up less than 1 percent Thursday.

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