Williams first quarter results nearly triple

Thursday, April 26th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

TULSA, Okla. (AP) _ Williams' income from continuing operations nearly tripled in the first quarter with soaring demand for the electricity and natural gas it markets and transports.

The Tulsa-based energy company reported first-quarter results from continuing operations Wednesday of $378.3 million, or 78 cents per share, compared with a restated $138.9 million, or 31 cents per share, for the same period last year.

Including a loss from the company's telecommunications division, which was spun off to shareholders earlier this week, Williams had net income of $199.2 million, nearly double first-quarter profits in 2000.

``We continue to benefit from generally favorable market conditions in most of the industry sectors in which we operate and from our strategy of expanding the productive capacity of the company,'' said Keith Bailey, chairman, president and chief executive officer.

The company reported first-quarter revenues of more than $3 billion, up from $1.9 billion a year earlier.

The biggest jump came in the company's energy marketing and trading division, which provides energy commodities marketing and trading and price risk management services.

Profits in that segment were $484.5 million, a six-fold increase over $77.8 million in the same period last year.

The increase came primarily from higher results from electric power and natural gas proprietary trading activities, increased structured transactions and additional value in trading in cash markets, the company said.

Physical power volumes during the first quarter were about 2.5 times greater than the same period a year ago, Williams reported.

Williams markets about 4,000 megawatts of power in California and faces allegations it overcharged California customers for electricity sold in January, February and March. Williams denies the claims.

The company is owed $252 million for power sales there.

Williams reported a $179.1 million loss from discontinued operations, which included the spinoff of Williams Communications.