The Paducah Sun
The Paducah Sun
Paducah, Kentucky
Thursday, April 26, 2001

USEC earnings fall $14.5 million

By Joe Walker jwalker@paducahsun.com--270.575.8650

USEC Inc., which runs the 1,500-employee Paducah Gaseous Diffusion Plant, had $14.5 million less in quarterly earnings than during the same period a year ago, but the firm expects to earn at least $5 million more than expected the rest of the year.

The company earned $8.1 million, or 10 cents per share, during the quarter ending March 31, compared to $22.6 million, or 25 cents per share, last year. Comparative nine-month earnings showed a significant drop from $71.3 million, or 77 cents per share, to $33.6 million, or 42 cents a share.

During the quarter, USEC had a special income tax credit of $37.3 million because of a change in estimating deferred income taxes. The change arose from going from a nontaxable government entity to a publicly held company in 1998. Including the credit, quarterly earnings rose to $45.4 million, or 56 cents a share; nine-month earnings were $70.9 million, or 88 cents per share.

William Timbers, USEC president and chief executive officer, said the company is on pace to earn $35 million to $40 million, up from previous estimates of $30 million to $35 million. He credited lower power costs and net interest expense.

Timbers said the projections assume that the first year of plant consolidation and six months' benefit of buying Russian uranium at market-based prices will offset a decline in average sale prices for enriched uranium under older contracts. In June, USEC will close its Ohio enrichment plant, leaving Paducah as a stand-alone facility. The company expects to have a cheaper-price agreement with Russia by January.

"This quarter we again exceeded our financial expectations, and we are well on track to meet the improved guidance for the year that we are setting today," Timbers said. "We are building a foundation of solid performance that we intend to continue in fiscal 2002."

USEC will hold its quarterly-earnings conference call with the financial community at 7:30 a.m. today. The call will be carried live, and a replay about an hour later, on the firm's Web site at www.usec.com.