Entergy’s earnings plummet, utility will cut 800 jobs

NEW ORLEANS — Entergy Corp. said its second-quarter net income dropped 55 percent, weighed down by higher expenses and absent a favorable tax ruling received during the prior-year period.

EntergyThe New Orleans-based utility also said today that it is cutting about 800 jobs, or about 5 percent of its workforce of 15,000. It says that the job cuts are part of a reorganization plan aimed at saving $200 million to $250 million by 2016.

Entergy earned $163.7 million, or 92 cents per share, for the three months ended June 30. That compares with $365 million, or $2.06 per share, a year earlier.

The year-ago period included favorable tax terms on financing costs for fixing damage to lines and equipment caused by hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Entergy realized a gain of $122 million as a result of the tax ruling.

Stripping out certain items tied to the utilities and wholesale commodities segments, earnings were $1.01 per share.

Analysts polled by FactSet predicted higher earnings of $1.15 per share.

Utility earnings fell mostly because of a much large income tax expense. Depreciation expense and non-fuel operation and maintenance expense also rose. Wholesale commodities earnings declined mostly because of lower revenue and increased decommissioning expense.

Operating revenue climbed 9 percent to $2.74 billion from $2.52 billion, beating Wall Street’s $2.62 billion estimate. Utility revenue rose partly on higher prices and the absence of a regulatory charge.

Entergy Corp. reiterated its 2013 earnings outlook of $4.60 to $5.40 per share. Analysts expect $4.96 per share.

Shares fell 39 cents to $70.18 in midday trading. They have traded in a 52-week range of $61.09 to $74.50 over the past year.

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