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Westar Energy, Inc. (WR - Snapshot Report) reported second-quarter 2013 earnings per share of 53 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9 cents. Quarterly earnings were 10.4% higher than the year-ago level primarily due to effective cost-containment efforts and increased proceeds from corporate-owned life insurance.

Operational Update

Westar Energy posted total revenues of $569.6 million, marginally below the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $573 million. However, revenue increased 0.6% from the year-ago figure of $566.3 million.

A strong contribution from Wholesale, Transmission and Other segments, partially offset by a decline in revenues from Retail – Residential, Commercial and Industrial led to the moderate top-line increase.

The company’s total operating expenses increased 1.1% year over year to $438.1 million mainly attributable to higher fuel and purchased power as well as operating and maintenance costs. Westar Energy reported operating income of $131.5 million, down 1.2% year over year.

Interest expenses increased 2.2% year over year to $45.8 million primarily due to a rise in the long-term debt level.

Financial Condition

Cash and cash equivalents of Westar Energy as of Jun 30, 2013, were $4.0 million, down from $5.8 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

The company’s long-term debt increased to $5.7 billion as of Jun 30, 2013 from $5.5 billion as of Dec 31, 2012 due to the issuance of $250 million principal amount of first mortgage bonds.

Westar Energy’s cash flow from operating activities during the first six months of 2013 was $231.3 million, up 124.2% than $103.2 million in the first six months of 2012. Cash flow surged on account of receipts from retail and wholesale customers, lower pension and post-retirement benefit as well as fuel and purchased power costs.

Guidance

Westar Energy increased its full-year 2013 earnings guidance to the range of $2.05-$2.15 from the prior $2.00-$2.15 per share.

Other Company Releases

ALLETE Inc. (ALE - Snapshot Report) reported second quarter earnings of 35 cents per share, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5 cents.

FirstEnergy Corporation (FE - Analyst Report) announced second quarter operating earnings of 59 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 7 cents.

PPL Corporation (PPL - Analyst Report) reported second quarter operational earnings of 49 cents per share ahead of the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.

Zacks Rank

Westar Energy currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Topeka, KS-based Westar Energy provides electricity to retail as well as wholesale customers. The company utilizes coal, natural gas, uranium, wind and landfill gas for electricity generation.

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