* EPS of 90 cents tops Wall Street prediction of 77 cents
* Revenue of $3.7 bln
* Shares rise 3.5 percent
NEW YORK, April 28 (Reuters) - Power company FPL Group Inc FPL.N posted better-than-expected quarterly earnings on Tuesday as the U.S. stimulus package helped lift its profits from new wind farms, and it raised its profit forecast, boosting its shares 3.5 percent.
The company, the largest wind power generator in the United States, said net profit for the first quarter rose to $364 million, or 90 cents per share, from $249 million, or 62 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.
Revenues rose to $3.7 billion in the quarter from $3.4 billion.
Analysts, on average, had expected the company to post earnings of 77 cents per share on revenues of $3.57 billion.
Profits at FPL’s NextEra Energy Resources wholesale power arm climbed 15 percent on an adjusted basis to $252 million from $164 million.
The passage of the U.S. economic stimulus package in February enabled the company to record a $15 million benefit in the quarter for new wind farms on top of tax benefits from states and in Canada. That offset a decline in earnings from the unit’s existing power plants.
“The public policy support for renewable energy development as it relates to tax credits has changed significantly as a result of the stimulus package,” Chief Financial Officer Armando Pimentel told a conference call.
NextEra had delayed some wind power investments, but expects to add more than 1,000 megawatts of wind capacity this year, about equivalent to a coal-fired power plant. It expects to build another 1,000 to 2,000 megawatts of wind power in 2010.
Earnings from the company’s regulated utility, Florida Power & Light Co, rose to $127 million from $108 million, as reduced maintenance costs offset lower power sales, which the company attributed to the weak economy.
FPL raised its 2009 profit forecast to between $4.20 to $4.40 per share from the $4.05 to $4.25 per share it had forecast in January.
For 2010, the company expects earnings per share between $4.65 to $5.05, up from the range of $4.50 to $4.90 it had previously forecast.
Shares in FPL rose as much as 6.3 percent in early trading before paring gains to trade at $53.31, up 4 percent near midday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Matt Daily; Editing by Brian Moss)