American Electric cuts profit forecast, spending plan

COLUMBUS, OHIO - American Electric Power Co., the biggest U.S. producer of power from coal, lowered its 2009 earnings forecast because of the recession and dilution from a planned offering of about 50 million shares.

Planned spending next year will be cut by 47 percent.

Earnings from continuing operations, excluding one-time items, will be $2.75 to $3.05 a share, down from an earlier forecast of $3 to $3.40, Columbus, Ohio-based American Electric said in a statement. Proceeds from the planned share sale will be used to reduce debt, the company said in a separate statement.

“In addition to the effect of dilution from our planned stock issuance, the ongoing economic downturn is a significant factor in our revised guidance,” Chief Executive Officer Michael Morris said in the statement. “Retail demand for electricity, primarily from our industrial customers, is down, which has a negative impact on earnings from our regulated utilities.”

The recession also is curbing the sale of power on wholesale markets, Morris said.


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