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Southwest Gas' earnings rise YOY even as natural gas segment net income falls

on May 9reported first-quarter 2016 consolidated net income of $75.4 million, or $1.58per share, compared to $72.0 million, or $1.53 per share, in the year-agoquarter.

Consolidatedoperating revenues for the quarter totaled $731.2 million, compared to $734.2million in the same period last year.

The company'snatural gas segment reported first-quarter net income of $77.6 million, downfrom $78.9 million in the prior-year period. Its operating marginrose by $12 million, between quarters, but the company said its operations andmaintenance expenses increased $5.3 million and depreciation and general taxesalso jumped $8.1 million.

"Weexperienced solid results from our natural gas segment operations, thoughslightly under the results of the prior-year quarter," said John Hester,president and CEO of Southwest Gas. "Favorable weather conditions helpedour construction services segment to post revenues of $206 million and narrowthe loss normally experienced during the first quarter."

Southwestforecast 2016 CapEx for the natural gas segment at $460 million, which would beused for customer growth, system improvements and accelerated pipe replacementprograms.