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Empire District earnings rise, beating analyst estimates

EmpireDistrict Electric Co. on April 28 reported first-quarter 2016consolidated earnings rose to $16.6 million, or 38 cents per share, excludingcosts related to Algonquin Power& Utilities Corp.'s pending acquisition of the company. The utility had reportedadjusted earnings of $14.6 million, or 34 cents per share, in the 2015 firstquarter

The S&P Capital IQ consensus normalized EPS estimate forfirst-quarter 2016 earnings was 30 cents.

On a GAAP basis, the company reported first-quarter earningsof $14.0 million, or 32 cents per share, down from $14.6 million, or 34 centsper share, in the first quarter of 2015.

First-quarter electric margin climbed to $96.5 million from$93.7 million, while gas margin fell to $7.6 million from $8.4 million in theprior year quarter. Mild weather impacted revenues at bothsegments, according to the company.

Operating income for the first quarter dropped to $23.2million compared to $24.7 million in the same period of 2015.

The company maintained its earnings guidance range of $1.26per share to $1.44 per share, and announced a quarterly dividend of 26 centsper share payable on June 15 to shareholders of record as of June 1. Thecompany will hold a shareholders meeting on June 16 to vote on the merger.