American Electric Power Co. said Friday that its fourth-quarter earnings surged 75 percent, largely due to a court decision in Texas that went in the company's favor.
The power supplier said that its net income rose to $308 million, or 64 cents per share, in the three months ending Dec. 31. That compares with $176 million, or 37 cents per share, a year ago.
AEP said a Texas Supreme Court ruling that reversed an unfavorable state regulatory ruling was worth $558 million to the company's bottom line. The company's revenue for the quarter held steady at $3.4 billion.
Excluding special items, AEP earned $194 million in the quarter, or 40 cents a share. Analysts polled by FactSet expected adjusted earnings of 41 cents a share on revenue of $3.1 billion. Those estimates typically do not include special items.
By early afternoon Friday, AEP's stock was down $1.34, or 3.2 percent, at $39.94. The shares have traded in a range of $33.09 to $41.98 over the past year.
"We had solid financial performance for both the fourth quarter and the year," president and CEO Nicholas Akins said in a statement. "We benefited from favorable weather conditions throughout most of the year, and our industrial volumes were up 4 percent in 2011."
AEP's industrial sales have had a tough recovery from a recession which sapped demand for power from manufacturers and other major customers that closed plants and made other cutbacks.
For the full year, AEP said that its net income rose to $1.9 billion, or $4.02 per share, from $1.2 billion, or $2.53 per share, in 2010. Revenue in 2011 was $15.1 billion, up from $14.4 billion the previous year.
American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is one of the largest electric utilities in the United States, delivering electricity to more than 5 million customers in 11 states. AEP ranks among the nation's largest generators of electricity, owning nearly 38,000 megawatts of capacity.