July 30, 2010 / 2:16 PM / 8 years ago

UPDATE 1-Atco Q2 net tops estimates; Canadian Utilities misses

* Canadian Utilities Q2 adj EPS C$0.61 vs est. C$0.66

* Atco rev up 23 pct; Canadian Utilities rev up 8 pct

July 30 (Reuters) - Atco Ltd’s (ACOx.TO) quarterly profit beat estimates helped by its structures and logistics segment, but its unit, Canadian Utilities Ltd (CU.TO) fell short as strong energy segment results were partially offset by decreased storage revenue.

Second quarter results at the firms’ energy segments were driven by higher spark spreads — the margin from selling a unit of electricity — in the Alberta electricity market, but timing and lower demand dragged on their natural gas storage business.

Atco’s revenue jumped 23 percent to C$844 million. Canadian Utilities rose 8 percent to C$648.6 million, as this quarter excluded the gains from a unit that was merged with two units of Atco to form Atco Structures & Logistics Ltd. [ID:nBNG497321]

Revenue at the two firms rose as they recorded revenue associated with the lease of two units of a power plant in Australia, which opened early last month.

Atco’s profit rose to C$61.7 million, or C$1.06 a share, from C$49.5 million, or 85 Canadian cents a share, driven by higher manufacturing and rental fleet activity at its structures and logistics segment. Canadian Utilities, which mainly operates in the utilities and energy segments, earned C$76.2 million, or 60 Canadian cents a share, versus C$73.2 million, or 58 Canadian cents a share, a year ago.

On an adjusted basis, Atco earned C$1.06 a share, while Canadian Utilities earned 61 Canadian cents a share.

Analysts on average were expecting Atco to earn 95 Canadian cents a share, and Canadian Utilities to earn 66 Canadian cents a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Atco shares took a slight hit late June, on news of government plans to phase out older coal-fired power plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions [ID:nN23203608], but have gained about 5 percent since. TransAlta Corp (TA.TO), Canada’s largest operator of coal-fired plants, posted a quarterly profit on Thursday versus a year-ago loss, but said it does not expect a noticeable market recovery until next year. [ID:nN29242137]

Atco’s shares were trading lower at C$49.99, while Canadian Utilities’ shares were off by a percent at C$48.30 in early trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Gowri Jayakumar in Bangalore; Editing by Savio D’Souza)

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