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MDU Resources beats Q1 estimates on strong utility segment results

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MDU Resources beats Q1 estimates on strong utility segment results

MDU ResourcesGroup Inc.'s first-quarter consolidated adjusted earnings were upyear over year to $32.6 million, or 17 cents per share, from $20.9 million, or11 cents per share, in the corresponding quarter of 2015.

The result also beat the S&P Global Market Intelligencenormalized EPS consensus estimate of 13 cents. MDU Resources said May 3 thatits earnings were driven by the utility business, which saw a 22%year-over-year increase in first-quarter earnings to $36.3 million.

"Success in recovering electric and natural gasinvestments through tracking mechanisms and rate cases was a significantfactor. The utility invested a record $464 million in 2015, with an additional$1.5 billion planned over the next five years, to serve a customer base that isexpected to continue growing by 1.5 to 2 percent per year," MDU said.

These gains were offset by the construction business, whichreported a first-quarter loss of $8.5 million; the segment had posted a first-quarter2015 loss of $9.8 million. First-quarter earnings at the pipeline and midstreambusiness also narrowed to $5.3 million from $6.4 million a year earlier, givenlower gathering and processing volumes at the Pronghorn facilities in which thecompany owns a 50% interest.

MDU Resources' first-quarter operating revenues were up to$905.2 million from $862.3 million in the corresponding quarter of 2015.Operating expenses were also up to $863.4 million from $818.6 million in theopening months of 2015, while first-quarter 2016 operating income narrowed to$41.8 million from $43.7 million in the same year-ago period.

MDU Resources posted first-quarter 2016 earnings of $24.7million, or 13 cents per share, on a GAAP basis, compared to a loss of $306.1million, or $1.57 per share, in the comparable quarter of 2015.

GAAP figures include results from the refining businesswhich booked a loss of $7.2 million during the first quarter this year. Theloss widens from $2.4 million in the first quarter of 2015.

First-quarter 2015 GAAP result also include a noncashwrite-down of oil and natural gas properties of $315.3 million after tax.

MDU continues to target2016 adjusted EPS of $1.00 to $1.15 and GAAP EPS of 85 cents to $1.10 for 2016.The company has scheduled a conference call at 10 a.m. ET on May 4 to discussits results