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Aqua America 3Q Profit Slips 2 Percent

Nov. 1, 2006

BRYN MAWR, Pa. Water utility owner Aqua America Inc. said Wednesday its third-quarter profit slipped 2 percent, hurt by unfavorable wet weather and higher expenses.

Quarterly net income dropped to $27.3 million, or 21 cents per share, from $27.9 million, or 21 cents per share, in the prior-year period.

Wall Street, on average, had been expecting a profit of 22 cents per share, according to an analyst poll by Thomson Financial.

Revenue during the quarter grew to $147 million from $136.8 million but fell short of analysts' expectations of $147.9 million.

Chairman and Chief Executive Nicholas DeBenedictis credited favorable rate decisions and continued customer growth for the revenue rise.

But he said in a statement that the summer's wet weather hurt results for the traditionally high-demand period, both in the overall amount of rainfall and the number of rainy days. Also dragging on the bottom line were increased purchased water costs and higher power and chemical costs for water production.

Operations and maintenance expenses overall jumped to $59.1 million in this year's quarter from $52.7 million in the prior-year period.

Aqua America shares fell 75 cents, or 3.1 percent, to $23.50 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.