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Southwest Gas Reports Second Quarter Results

LAS VEGAS, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- Southwest Gas Corporation (NYSE: SWX) recorded a 1996 second quarter net loss of $0.46 per share, a $0.05 decrease from the $0.41 per share loss reported for the same period in 1995. Consolidated net loss applicable to common stock was $11,943,000, compared to a deficit of $9,436,000 in 1995. Average common shares outstanding increased to 25,817,000 in the second quarter of 1996 compared to 22,816,000 in the second quarter of 1995.

The gas operations segment experienced a net loss of $12,389,000 during the second quarter of 1996, compared to a deficit of $9,951,000 recorded in the second quarter of 1995. Net losses during the second and third quarters are normal and not generally indicative of earnings for a complete 12-month period. According to Michael O. Maffie, President and Chief Executive Officer, the reduction between periods was principally the result of higher depreciation expenses, general taxes and financing costs.

In July, the Company completed the previously announced sale of its wholly owned financial services subsidiary PriMerit Bank (PriMerit) to Norwest Corporation. The finalization of the sale did not impact second quarter results of operations as the effects of the transaction were recorded as discontinued operations in the fourth quarter of 1995. However, second quarter 1995 net income included a $610,000 contribution from PriMerit.

For the twelve months ended June 30, 1996, consolidated net loss applicable to common stock was $17,387,000, or $0.70 per share, versus consolidated net income applicable to common stock of $18,254,000, or $0.84 per share, during the twelve-month period ended June 30, 1995. The current period included an $18,342,000, or $0.74 per share, net loss attributed to discontinued operations, which occurred primarily as a result of the disposition of PriMerit.

The gas operations segment contribution to consolidated net income for the twelve months ended June 30, 1996 was $626,000 compared to $17,024,000 reported for the prior period. Unseasonably warm weather experienced during much of the fourth quarter of 1995 and the first quarter of 1996 caused operating margin to be approximately $30 million less than expected and $24 million lower than the prior twelve-month period. Continued customer growth partially mitigated the negative impact of warmer weather on operating margin between periods. Over the last 12 months, the Company added 58,000 new customers who contributed approximately $13 million of additional operating margin.

Overall, on a net basis, operating margin declined $11 million, or three percent, between periods. In addition to warmer weather, current-period earnings were negatively impacted by increased operating expenses, general taxes, and financing costs associated with the Company's growing customer base.

Southwest Gas Corporation provides natural gas to approximately 1,051,000 customers in Arizona, Nevada and California. Its service territory is centered in the fastest growing region of the country.

                  SOUTHWEST GAS CONSOLIDATED EARNINGS DIGEST
    QUARTER ENDED JUNE 30,                             1996               1995

    Operating Revenues                       $123,611,000      $122,189,000
    Net Loss - Continuing Operations          $11,943,000        $9,951,000
    Net Loss Applicable to Common Stock       $11,943,000        $9,436,000
    Average Number of Common Shares Outstanding25,817,000        22,816,000
    Loss Per Share from Continuing Operations       $0.46             $0.44
    Loss Per Share of Common Stock                  $0.46             $0.41

    SIX MONTHS ENDED JUNE 30,
    Operating Revenues                       $311,963,000      $325,710,000
    Net Income - Continuing Operations         $2,916,000        $4,498,000
    Net Income Applicable to Common Stock      $2,916,000        $5,114,000
    Average Number of Common Shares Outstanding25,211,000        22,110,000
    Earnings Per Share from Continuing Operations   $0.12             $0.19
    Earnings Per Share of Common Stock              $0.12             $0.23

    TWELVE MONTHS ENDED JUNE 30,
    Operating Revenues                       $549,755,000      $609,345,000
    Net Income - Continuing Operations         $1,072,000       $17,024,000
    Net Income (Loss) Applicable
     to Common Stock                        $(17,387,000)       $18,254,000
    Average Number of Common Shares Outstanding24,773,000        21,615,000
    Earnings Per Share from Continuing Operations   $0.04             $0.77
    Earnings (Loss) Per Share of Common Stock     $(0.70)             $0.84

SOURCE Southwest Gas Corporation
CONTACT: Dante Pistone, media contact, 702-876-7253, or Laura Hobbs, shareholder contact, 702-876-7237, both of Southwest Gas