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Otter Tail Q2 earnings improve on electric, plastics segments results

Otter Tail Corp. recorded a year-over-year increase in second-quarter net income from continuing operations to $16.7 million, or 42 cents per share, from $15.6 million, or 41 cents per share, in the same quarter of 2016.

Second-quarter operating revenues were up to $212.1 million, from $203.5 million a year ago, while operating income also improved year over year to $29.6 million, from $27.1 million, results released Aug. 7 showed.

The company's electric segment booked $10.1 million in second-quarter net income, up from $9.1 million in the prior-year period. Net income for the manufacturing segment was largely flat year over year at $3.0 million, while the plastics segment contributed $4.6 million toward second-quarter net income, up from $3.5 million in the corresponding quarter of 2016.

"Our second quarter Manufacturing segment results and corporate costs were in line with our expectations," Otter Tail President and CEO Chuck MacFarlane said in the company's earnings release. "Our Electric and Plastics segments drove the earnings improvement. The utility had higher transmission service revenues and lower generating plant operating and maintenance costs this quarter compared to second quarter last year and the PVC pipe companies earned higher margins."

Otter Tail raised its full-year 2017 EPS guidance range to $1.65 to $1.80 from the previous EPS range of $1.60 to $1.75.

The company also noted that the two 345-kV transmission lines remain on budget and on schedule. The Big Stone South-Brookings line will be completed later this year while the Big Stone South-Ellendale project is scheduled for completion in 2019.

The company expects to invest $862 million from 2017 through 2021, including investments in the ongoing regional transmission projects as well as new wind and natural gas power facilities. "This will produce a projected compounded annual growth rate of 7.5% in utility rate base from 2015 through 2021," MacFarlane said.