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Duke Energy's earnings increase in fourth quarter

Duke Energy's earnings rose in the fourth quarter of 2012, beating analysts' estimates.

The utility on Wednesday reported net income of $435 million, or 62 cents a share, compared with $288 million, or 65 cents, in 2011.

Duke, the parent company of Progress Energy Florida, said its $32 billion merger with Progress Energy in July cost the company $636 million, including $164 million in the fourth quarter.

"For Duke Energy, 2012 was a year of unprecedented accomplishment, highlighted by the merger with Progress Energy that has already begun providing savings for our customers," said Jim Rogers, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

Duke plans to write off the Crystal River nuclear plant and ask customers to pay more than $1.6 billion in costs related to upgrades and damage to its sole nuclear plant in Florida. The company plans to build a natural gas plant that would come on line as early as 2018.

Rogers said the Crystal River plant was the only nonperformer in the utility's fleet.

"The nuclear fleet maintained a capacity factor greater than 90 percent, excluding Crystal River 3, for the 13th consecutive year, and the company achieved its best safety record ever," Rogers said.

"From a financial perspective, we achieved our objectives by delivering 2012 adjusted diluted EPS (earnings per share) near the top of our guidance range, increasing the dividend and maintaining the strength of our balance sheet," he said.

Duke's share price finished the day at $68.82, up 8 cents.

Ivan Penn can be reached at ipenn@tampabay.com or (727) 892-2332.

Duke Energy's earnings increase in fourth quarter 02/13/13 [Last modified: Wednesday, February 13, 2013 7:21pm]
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