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Avista reports drop in third-quarter profit

As expected, Avista Corp. today reported third-quarter results and a forecast for the fourth quarter that fall below expected performance for the Spokane-based energy company.

Net income was $5.8 million, or 10 cents per share, for the third quarter, the company said today. That’s down from $10.7 million, or 18 cents per share, for the third quarter of 2011.

Shares of Avista’s stock were up 30 cents, or 1 percent, to $25.11 in mid-day trading.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, net income attributable to Avista Corp. was $62.4 million, or $1.06 per share, compared to $75.6 million, or $1.30 per share, for the nine months ended Sept. 30, 2011.

“As we initially reported on Oct. 22, 2012, our results for the third quarter and forecasted results for the remainder of 2012 are below our expectations,” Avista Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris stated.

“However, we are well-positioned for the future at our utility, which contributes over 90 percent of our earnings,” Morris continued.

Avista last month warned that its third-quarter earnings would fall below expectations and attributed the decline mainly to the performance of its non-utility operations, namely energy-services subsidiary Ecova.

Formerly known as Advantage IQ, Ecova saw revenue growth of about 13 percent in 2011, and Avista executives had expected the pattern to continue this year. But the company lowered the revenue growth expectation to 5 percent.

Avista has lowered its earnings guidance for this year to a range of $1.50 to $1.60 per share, down from the lower end of the range of $1.65 to $1.85 per share. The revision is primarily due to lower than expected earnings from Ecova and disappointments related to other non-utility businesses.

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