They may not exactly have been fit for a king in the purest sense, but Duke Energy
For the quarter, the Charlotte-based company chalked up earnings of $351 million, or $0.28 a share, versus $293 million, or $0.23 a share a year ago. The per-share results were three pennies to the good versus expectations. And to make certain that we cover all those pesky accounting nuances, the June 2008 quarter included a $100 million charge related to a restructuring of a real estate joint venture. It also had a nearly offsetting $107 million accounting gain on hedges in the company's commercial power operations.
Duke's strong results were helped along by strong performances in each of its three largest business segments. Indeed, the Commercial Power unit weighed in with more than a tripling of earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) from a year ago, helped considerably by gains on hedges. At the same time, U.S. Franchised Electric and Gas and International Energy both grew their EBIT by double-digit percentages.
Lest you think, however, that all the public utilities have shot the lights out for the quarter, those that have reported thus far have been pretty much a mixed bag. For instance, Southern Company
Duke has been breaking the mold of the stereotypical stodgy utility company during the past couple of years. Apart from some M&A wheeling and dealing earlier this decade, and last year's spinoff of Spectra Energy
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