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Earnings on track at Minnesota Power

Across the board earnings growth gave Minnesota Power, Inc. a strong second quarter and has it well positioned to meet corporate goals. "We're pleased to report another strong quarter for Minnesota Power," said CEO Ed Russell in a recent teleconf...

Across the board earnings growth gave Minnesota Power, Inc. a strong second quarter and has it well positioned to meet corporate goals.
"We're pleased to report another strong quarter for Minnesota Power," said CEO Ed Russell in a recent teleconference. "Each of our four business units grew their earnings over the same period last year."
"Our net income increased by 30 percent over last year," he said. "I'm pleased with the quarter-by-quarter increases for all of our business segments.
"This steady progress reflects the growth in value of each business as well as the company as a whole. We continue to demonstrate a successful transition to a multi-services company,"
The corporation's four legs are electric services, water services, automotive services and investments, particularly real estate holdings.
"We're on track to meet our 10 percent earnings growth for 2000," Russell said. "We should be able to be in the range of 11-12-13 percent for next year. You want to pick a target, pick 12."
Minnesota Power's automotive services continued its double-digit growth with a 23 percent increase in net income over the same quarter last year. There was a 15 percent increase in the number of vehicles financed, and the number sold was up 14 percent.
He said the figures reflect sales of a number of auctions that Minnesota Power did not own in 1999. It also plans to acquire two more automotive auctions, giving that division additional future growth potential.
"We want to cement a strong number two position in the industry across North America," Russell said.
Led by real estate sales, investment portfolio income increased to $10 million for the quarter versus $6.4 million a year ago. He said real estate was the biggest contributor to the 59 percent increase.
Both water and electric services showed an 8 percent increase in net income. Continued strong retail sales and reduced expenses helped the electric figures. Water income growth was attributed to a growing customer base and increased consumption.

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