The parent company of Duluth-based Minnesota Power today reported third-quarter earnings of 57 cents per share on net income of $20.5 million and revenue of $226.9 million.

That compares to Allete's earnings of 56 cents per share on net income of $19.6 million and revenue of $224.1 million for the same quarter last year.

Quarterly net income from Allete's regulated operations improved about 8 percent from $22.1 million in 2010 to $23.8 million in 2011, due in part to an increase in industrial electric sales.

"Our quarterly and year-to-date financial results reflect strong production levels from our large industrial customers," Alan R. Hodnik, Allete chairman, president and CEO, said in a news release announcing the earning the numbers. "These customers expect to operate at near full-production levels for the remainder of the year. Looking ahead, we are particularly encouraged by new industrial customer activity that signals growth in our region for the future."

Hodnik said that Allete expects to finish 2011 with earnings in the higher end of a range between $2.40 and $2.60 per share, excluding a one-time eight-cents-per-share income-tax benefit recorded in the second quarter.

Allete's investments and other segment recorded a net loss of $3.3 million compared to a net loss of $2.5 million last year. Results for the quarter included increased operating and maintenance and state tax expenses. Earnings at BNI Coal were similar to the same period a year ago, and Allete Properties recorded a smaller net loss than in the third quarter of 2010.

Quarterly earnings were reduced by two cents per share because of a higher common-share balance from the funding of major capital improvements.