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PNM pleased by 2012 report

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PNM Resources reported $105.5 million in net earnings in 2012, down about $71 million from the $176.4 million it earned in 2011.

The drop reflects a one-time, $97 million boost the company earned in 2011 from sale of its unregulated utilities in Texas.

In contrast, ongoing earnings last year – which exclude one-time gains and charges – rose by $9 million, from $96.6 million in 2011 to $105.6 million.

That reflects improving financial health at the company’s two regulated utilities, Public Service Company of New Mexico and Texas New Mexico Power, said Chairman, President and CEO Pat Vincent-Collawn.

“Both TNMP and PNM are now earning strong returns for their retail segments,” Vincent-Collawn said.

PNM’s net earnings last year reached $91 million, up from $54 million in 2011. The utility benefitted from higher retail rates that took effect in August 2011, higher wholesale transmission and generation rates enacted last yea, savings in operation and maintenance costs, and PNM Resources’ repurchase in 2011 of outstanding equity securities.

On the other hand, PNM suffered from lower retail sales in 2012, higher plant outage costs, and higher interest expense from the issuance of long-term debt in late 2011.

TNMP’s net earnings, meanwhile, increased from $22.3 million in 2011 to $26.7 million. Cooler weather last summer reduced retail sales compared to 2011, which saw record-breaking heat. But a rate increase for transmission cost of service, plus PNM Resources’ repurchase of outstanding equity securities, boosted finances.

Given the improved financial performance at its utilities, PNM Resources’ Board of Directors voted unanimously on Thursday to increase the company’s dividend payment by 14 percent to an indicated annual rate of 66 cents per share of common stock. As a result, shareholders will receive a $1.65 per-share quarterly dividend in May.

The board also agreed to review the dividend again in December, rather than next February, to uphold the company’s targeted payout range of 50 to 60 percent of ongoing earnings by year-end.

PNM Resources is trying to regain ground for shareholders following large losses during the recession, said spokeswoman Valerie Smith.

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