June 8, 2016 - 8:40 AM EDT
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Piedmont Natural Gas earnings drop in 2nd quarter

June 08--Piedmont Natural Gas reported slightly lower second-quarter earnings Wednesday as the Charlotte-based company prepares for its acquisition by Duke Energy.

The company reported profits of $63.4 million, or 78 cents a share, for the quarter that ended April 30. That's a 4 percent drop compared to the $66.4 million or 84 cents a share for the same period in 2015.

Not counting merger-related costs, Piedmont earned $64.1 million or 79 cents a share.

Warmer weather that hurt sales during the quarter were partly offset by increases in rates related to pipeline safety programs and by a growing customer base, Piedmont said.

Piedmont lowered its earnings forecast for 2016 from $1.92 to $2.02 per diluted share before merger expenses to $1.90 to $1.95 per share.

The change is related to expected lower earnings from its investment in the Constitution Pipeline, for which New York state environmental officials have denied a needed water-quality permit. The pipeline would ship natural gas from Pennsylvania to markets in the Northeast.

The N.C. Utilities Commission is scheduled to begin hearing testimony on Duke's $4.9 billion acquisition of Piedmont on July 18. The companies hope to close the deal by the end of this year.

Bruce Henderson: 704-358-5051, @bhender


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Source: Equities.com News (June 8, 2016 - 8:40 AM EDT)

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