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Avista's Q1 earnings rise on utility segment results

Avista Corp.on May 4 reported net income attributable to its shareholders of $56.1 million,or 89 cents per share, for the first quarter of 2016, compared to $46.4million, or 74 cents per share, during the corresponding quarter of 2015.

The first-quarter consensus normalized EPS estimate was 80cents, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

"During the first quarter, gross margin was better thanexpected and the decoupling mechanisms we have in place mostly offset lowerthan expected electric and natural gas loads as a result of warmer than normalweather," Avista Chairman, President and CEO Scott Morris said.

Avista Utilities contributed $53.4 million, or 85 cents pershare, toward first-quarter 2016 results, up from $44.4 million, or 71 centsper share, in the comparable quarter of 2015. contributed about $3.0 million, or 5 cents per share, compared to $2.6 million,or 4 cents per share, during the 2015 quarter.

Avista's first-quarter 2016 operating revenues dropped to$418.2 million from $446.5 million in the comparable period of 2015. Totaloperating expenses for the first quarter were $312.1 million, compared to about$357.0 million, during the 2015 quarter.

The company confirmedits 2016 earnings guidance with a consolidated range of $1.96 per share to$2.16 per share.