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Empire District Electric reports 25% gains

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Joplin-based Empire District Electric Co. (NYSE: EDE) recorded second-quarter profits of $9.2 million, a 24.5 percent increase compared to earnings of $7.4 million in the same quarter a year ago.

As a result of the EF-5 tornado that hit Joplin May 22, roughly 4,200 of Empire's residential, commercial and industrial customers are still unable to receive service. The company estimates storm restoration costs are between $20 million and $30 million. Of those, $18 million has been paid and the majority of costs have been capitalized. The loss of revenue, however, was offset by rate increases, increased usage due to recovery efforts and severe heat during the month of June, according to a news release.

Following the tornado, company officials decided to suspend its quarterly dividend payments for the third and fourth quarters.

On June 15, rate increases resulting from a settlement agreement with the Missouri Public Service Commission went into effect, which will result in an estimated $18.7 million of additional annual revenue for Empire.

During the second quarter, Empire pulled in revenues of roughly $129.1 million, comprising electric, $120.3 million; gas, $7.3 million; and other sources, $1.7 million.

Earnings per share were 22 cents, a 4-cent increase compared to the same quarter last year.

A day after releasing its second-quarter results, Empire announced it had elected Laurie Delano - controller, principal accounting officer, assistant secretary and assistant treasurer - as vice president of finance and chief financial officer. Rob Sager, director of financial services, will fill her vacated position, effective Aug. 1.

Empire District provides electricity, natural gas and water services to approximately 211,000 customers in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma and Arkansas.

As of 9:08 a.m., the company's shares were trading at $20.45, compared to a 52-week range of $18.01 to $23.26.[[In-content Ad]]

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