PPL's Earnings Leap by 54 Percent for First Quarter; Company Forecasts Increased Earnings for 2001, 2002, Through Mid-Decade
PRNewswire

ALLENTOWN, Pa., April 24 /PRNewswire Interactive News Release/ -- For the sixth straight quarter, PPL Corporation (NYSE: PPL) has achieved record earnings. First-quarter earnings, announced Tuesday (4/24), were $1.52 per diluted share, a 54 percent increase over the same period a year ago and 36 percent higher than the Wall Street consensus estimate.

(Photo: http://www.newscom.com/cgi-bin/prnh/19981015/PHTH025 )

PPL also has significantly increased its earnings forecasts for 2001 and 2002, based on the following factors:

   -- The first securitization of a U.S. electricity delivery company, which
       is a unique strategic initiative that more than doubles the company's
       generating capacity available for sale in wholesale electricity
       markets, while lowering its cost of capital (see accompanying news
       release for more details of this plan).
   -- The record earnings performance in the first quarter of 2001.
   -- Increased margins on energy transactions.
   -- Increased supply of electricity to sell in the competitive wholesale
       markets, including a new natural gas-powered plant in Illinois.
   -- Strong growth in the electricity delivery business in Pennsylvania.
   -- Higher earnings from the company's international businesses.
   -- Success in continuing to reduce costs.

Using conservative assumptions about future business conditions, PPL now forecasts earnings in excess of $4.00 per share for 2001 and $4.55 to $4.65 per share for 2002. Earnings per share of $4.00 in 2001 would represent an increase of about 22 percent over 2000's adjusted, diluted earnings of $3.28 per share. Earnings per share of $4.55 to $4.65 in 2002 would represent an increase of about 15 percent over earnings now forecast for 2001.

"We are confident that our strong asset base, combined with our proven operating, marketing and development capabilities, will lead to additional growth in earnings through the middle of this decade," said William F. Hecht, PPL's chairman, president and chief executive officer. "For that period, we expect a compound annual earnings per share growth rate of 12 to 15 percent, based on our 2000 adjusted earnings."

The major drivers of PPL's earnings growth for the first quarter were: increased margins on wholesale energy transactions; positive results from the company's regulated energy delivery business in Pennsylvania and from the company's international operations; and success in continuing to control costs.

Hecht said PPL's corporate strategy of concentrating on the generation and sale of competitively priced energy in key U.S. markets while operating high- quality energy delivery businesses in selected regions around the world has led to record-breaking, sustainable growth.

Adjusted earnings per diluted share for the 12 months ended March 31, 2001, were $3.81, compared to $2.54 reported in the same period last year.

Actual earnings per diluted share for the 12 months ended March 31, 2001, were $3.97, including a nonrecurring benefit of 16 cents per share from a settlement with various insurers for environmental and other liabilities. Actual earnings per diluted share for the same period of 2000 were $3.04, reflecting one-time gains from the sale of a generation plant in Sunbury, Pa., a gain from the sale of the supply portion of the company's electricity business in the United Kingdom, and a net gain from the sale of transition bonds in the securitization process. Partially offsetting these benefits during the period a year ago was a one-time adjustment to write down the carrying value of certain investments made by PPL Global, the company's international energy development subsidiary.

PPL now operates nearly 10,000 megawatts of generation capacity in Pennsylvania, Maine and Montana. PPL has more than 4,600 megawatts under development including:

   -- A 225-megawatt plant in Wallingford, Conn., expected to be in service
       by mid-2001.
   -- A 600-megawatt plant near Kingman, Ariz., expected to be in service by
       mid-2001 (PPL owns 50 percent of this facility).
   -- A 450-megawatt plant near Phoenix, Ariz., expected to be in service in
       summer 2002.
   -- A 540-megawatt plant near Chicago, Ill., expected to be in service in
       summer 2002.
   -- A 600-megawatt plant in Lower Mount Bethel, Pa., expected to be in
       service in 2003.
   -- More than 900 megawatts of capacity at five small plant sites in
       eastern Pennsylvania, expected to be in service by 2003.
   -- About 300 megawatts of capacity located on Long Island near Smithtown,
       N.Y., expected to be in service in summer 2003.
   -- An extra 100 megawatts of capacity at PPL's existing Susquehanna
       nuclear plant, near Berwick, Pa., through turbine upgrades in the
       spring of 2003 and 2004.
   -- A 1,200-megawatt plant located near Starbuck, Wash., expected to come
       online in late 2004 or early 2005.

PPL Corporation, headquartered in Allentown, Pa., generates electricity at power plants in Pennsylvania, Maine and Montana; markets wholesale or retail energy in 42 U.S. states and Canada; and delivers energy to nearly 6 million customers in Pennsylvania, the United Kingdom and Latin America.

                 PPL CORPORATION AND SUBSIDIARY COMPANIES
              CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL INFORMATION (UNAUDITED)

                        Consolidated Balance Sheet
                          (Millions of Dollars)

                                         March 31, 2001   Dec. 31, 2000(a)
  Assets
  Current Assets                               $1,933         $1,945
  Investments                                   1,292          1,161
  Property, plant and equipment -- net
    Transmission and distribution               2,832          2,841
    Generation                                  2,252          2,177
    General and intangible                        278            294
    Construction work in progress                 323            261
    Nuclear fuel and other leased property        122            123
      Electric utility plant                    5,807          5,696
    Gas and oil utility plant                     188            177
    Other property                                 73             75
                                                6,068          5,948
  Recoverable transition costs                  2,353          2,425
  Regulatory and other assets                     900            881
    Total assets                              $12,546        $12,360

  Liabilities and Equity
  Current liabilities                          $3,022         $2,511
  Long-term debt (less current portion)         4,196          4,467
  Deferred income taxes and ITC                 1,428          1,412
  Liability for above market NUG purchases        559            581
  Other noncurrent liabilities                    938            976
  Minority interest                                60             54
  Company-obligated mandatorily redeemable
   securities                                     250            250
  Preferred stock                                  97             97
  Earnings reinvested                           1,182            999
  Other common equity                           1,650          1,849
  Treasury stock                                 (836)          (836)
    Total liabilities and equity              $12,546        $12,360

   (a) Certain amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year
       presentation.


                      Consolidated Income Statement
                          (Millions of Dollars)

                                     3 Months Ended      12 Months Ended
                                        March 31             March 31
                                    2001      2000(a)    2001       2000(a)

  Operating Revenues
    Retail electric and gas         $956        $845     $3,278     $3,005
    Wholesale energy marketing
     and trading                     469         462      2,087      1,606
    Energy-related businesses        141         106        471        325
                                   1,566       1,413      5,836      4,936
  Operating Expenses
    Fuel and purchased power         583         608      2,436      2,227
    Other operation and maintenance  238         209        980        873
    Amortization of recoverable
     transition costs                 71          63        235        212
    Depreciation                      63          68        256        265
    Other                            155         145        591        429
                                   1,110       1,093      4,498      4,006
  Operating income                   456         320      1,338        930
  Other income and (deductions)        4          (1)       (10)        96
  Income before interest, income
   taxes and minority interest       460         319      1,328      1,026
  Interest expense                   104          88        392        303
  Income taxes                       126          82        338        182
  Minority interest                    2           1          5         15
  Income before extraordinary items  228         148        593        526
  Extraordinary items (net of taxes)   0           0         11        (46)
  Income before dividends on
   preferred stock                   228         148        604        480
  Preferred stock dividend
   requirements                        6           6         26         26
  Net income                        $222        $142       $578       $454

  Earnings per share of
   common stock - basic
     Income before nonrecurring
      items                        $1.53       $0.99      $3.83      $2.54
     Nonrecurring items
      (net of tax)                  0.00        0.00       0.16       0.50
  Net income                       $1.53       $0.99      $3.99      $3.04

  Earnings per share of
   common stock - diluted
     Income before nonrecurring
      items                        $1.52       $0.99      $3.81      $2.54
     Nonrecurring items
      (net of tax)                  0.00        0.00       0.16       0.50
  Net income                       $1.52       $0.99      $3.97      $3.04

  Average number of shares
   outstanding (thousands)       145,317     143,697    144,746    149,080

   (a) Certain amounts have been reclassified to conform to the current year
       presentation.


                              Key Indicators

   Financial
                                          12 Months Ended   12 Months Ended
                                          March 31, 2001     March 31, 2000

  Dividends declared per share                  $1.060           $1.015
  Book value per share (a)                      $13.71           $12.09
  Market price per share (a)                   $43.960          $20.938
  Dividend yield (a)                              2.4%             4.8%
  Dividend payout ratio -
   basic and diluted (b)                           28%              40%
  Price/earnings ratio -
   basic and diluted (a, b)                       11.5              8.2
  Return on average common equity (b)            30.4%            20.3%

   (a) End of period
   (b) Excluding nonrecurring items


   Operating - Domestic Energy

                        3 Months Ended March 31    12 Months Ended March 31
                                         Percent                    Percent
  PPL Corp.             2001      2000   Change     2001     2000    Change
  (millions of kwh)

  Retail
    Delivered (a)       9,881     9,481     4.2    34,305   33,335     2.9
    Supplied           10,552     9,864     7.0    38,446   34,675    10.9

  Wholesale
    East                5,244     9,769   -46.3    27,060   32,864   -17.7
    West
      Montana Power (b) 1,199     1,341   -10.6     4,954    1,341     (c)
      Other             1,026       907    13.1     4,363      907     (c)

   (a) Electricity delivered to retail customers represents the kwh
       delivered to customers within PPL Electric Utilities Corp.'s service
       territory.
   (b) Energy sold to Montana Power for resale to retail customers under
       power sale agreements that expire on or before June 30, 2002.
   (c) Assets pertaining to the wholesale sales in the West were acquired in
       December 1999.  As a result, only three months of sales are reflected
       in the 12 months ended March 31, 2000.


PPL invites interested parties to listen to the live Internet Webcast of management's first quarter earnings teleconference with financial analysts at 8 a.m. Wednesday, April 25. The teleconference is available online live, in audio format, on PPL's Internet Web site: http://www.pplweb.com/. The Webcast will be available for replay on the PPL Web site for 30 days. Interested individuals also can access the live conference call via telephone at 913-981-5591.

Certain statements contained in this news release, including statements with respect to future earnings, energy prices, supply, sales, margins and deliveries, operating and financing costs, strategic initiatives, subsidiary performance, growth, project development, and generating capacity and performance, are "forward-looking statements" within the meaning of the federal securities laws. Although PPL Corporation believes that the expectations and assumptions reflected in these forward-looking statements are reasonable, these statements involve a number of risks and uncertainties, and actual results may differ materially from the results discussed in the statements. The following are among the important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements: market demand and prices for energy, capacity and fuel; weather variations affecting customer energy usage; competition in retail and wholesale power markets; the effect of any business or industry restructuring; the profitability and liquidity of PPL Corporation and its subsidiaries; new accounting requirements or new interpretations or applications of existing requirements; operating performance of plants and other facilities; environmental conditions and requirements; system conditions and operating costs; development of new projects, markets and technologies; performance of new ventures; political, regulatory or economic conditions in countries where PPL Corporation or its subsidiaries conduct business; receipt of necessary governmental approvals; capital market conditions; stock price performance; foreign exchange rates; and the commitments and liabilities of PPL Corporation and its subsidiaries. Any such forward-looking statements should be considered in light of such factors and in conjunction with PPL Corporation's Form 10-K and other reports on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

NOTE: This news release is part of a package of materials being released by PPL Corporation Tuesday (4/24). The company also is issuing a news release regarding a major new strategic initiative. All material is available at PPL's news media Web site, pplnewsroom.com. First quarter earnings, the major new strategic initiative and the company's overall strategic direction will be the subjects of an analyst meeting and conference call at 8 a.m. Wednesday. A Webcast of the call is available at pplweb.com. Alternatively, a listen-only dial-in is available at 913-981-5591.

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SOURCE: PPL Corporation

Contact: Media: Dan McCarthy, 610-774-5758, or Investors: Tim Paukovits,
610-774-4124, both of PPL, or fax, 610-774-5281

Website: http://www.pplweb.com/

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