(By Mani) Energy firm Southern Co. (NYSE: SO) reported higher fourth-quarter earnings due to lower operating and maintenance costs, and colder weather in the regions that the company serves resulting in higher energy use.
The company reported fourth quarter 2012 earnings of $383 million, or 44 cents a basic share, compared with earnings of $261 million, or 30 cents a basic share, in the fourth quarter of 2011.
Fourth quarter revenues were $3.703 billion, compared with $3.696 billion for the same period in 2011, an increase of 0.2 percent.
Analysts, on average, polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 40 cents a share on revenue of $4.53 billion.
Kilowatt-hour sales to retail customers in Southern Company's four-state service area rose 2.6 percent. Residential, Industrial and commercial energy sales in the fourth quarter advanced 6.6 percent, 1.2 percent and 0.7 percent, respectively. Total energy sales to Southern Company's customers in the Southeast, including wholesale sales, improved 2.4 percent.
Shares of Atlanta, Georgia-based Southern were up 17 cents at $44.79 on the NYSE.