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SEMCO ENERGY Upbeat on Operating Prospects for 1999 and Year 2000

PORT HURON, Mich., Dec. 8 /PRNewswire/ -- SEMCO ENERGY, Inc. (Nasdaq: SMGS) held an analyst conference call today indicating that operating results for the fourth quarter are expected to be better than originally expected with good growth anticipated for the year 2000.

William L. Johnson, SEMCO ENERGY Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, stated that despite the warmer than normal weather for 1999, SEMCO ENERGY is likely to report earnings higher than the $.95 per share analyst consensus for the Company. This is being accomplished by cost cutting, revenue enhancements and the acquisition of ENSTAR Natural Gas Company, the Anchorage-based natural gas distribution company, which SEMCO ENERGY acquired on November 1, 1999. By acquiring ENSTAR ahead of schedule, SEMCO ENERGY will benefit from two months of the Alaskan heating season. Additionally, the construction business is having a strong fourth quarter and will exceed management's expectations for the year.

The year 2000 is anticipated to be an even better earnings year for SEMCO ENERGY. The natural gas distribution business should experience continued strong customer growth, a full year's benefit from the gas cost rate freeze, and revenue and cost synergies from the ENSTAR acquisition. The non-regulated businesses are expected to show improved results from continued selective and accretive acquisitions, higher revenues from increased marketing and significantly lower operating costs from implementation of a comprehensive integration plan. In summary, the Company believes that the consensus analysts' forecast of $1.15 for the year 2000 is very reasonable and could be exceeded assuming normal weather.

The Company recently filed a $500 million shelf registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The registration statement, when declared effective, will permit the Company to issue various types of debt and equity securities to the public for the purpose of financing acquisitions, repaying short-term borrowings and funding general corporate purposes. The size of the shelf registration is anticipated to meet the capital requirements for the ENSTAR acquisition and other earnings-producing opportunities that the Company may discover in the future. SEMCO ENERGY plans to finance acquisitions with a prudent balance of debt and equity to maintain a satisfactory credit rating. Stringent acquisition criteria ensure that future acquisitions add stock value and not diminish it.

Mr. Johnson concluded by emphasizing that SEMCO ENERGY is focused on enhancing shareholder value. "SEMCO ENERGY has a goal of growing earnings at double the industry average which will come from improving the operations of current businesses as well as completing future acquisitions. I feel confident that our strategy is sound and our employee team will be successful in its execution."

SEMCO ENERGY, Inc. is a diversified energy services and infrastructure company with two regulated and one unregulated divisions. SEMCO ENERGY GAS COMPANY and ENSTAR Natural Gas Co. are natural gas distribution companies with a combined total of more than 350,000 customers in Michigan and Alaska. SEMCO ENERGY VENTURES, the unregulated division, acquires and operates businesses involved in gas engineering and quality assurance services, pipeline construction services, propane distribution, intrastate pipelines and natural gas storage in various regions of the United States.

The following is a "Safe-Harbor" statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. This release contains forward-looking statements that are based on current expectations, estimates and projections. Statements that are not historical facts, including statements about SEMCO ENERGY's belief and expectations, are forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to potential risks and uncertainties and, therefore, actual results may differ materially. SEMCO ENERGY undertakes no obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. Factors that may impact forward- looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) the effects of weather and other natural phenomena; (ii) the economic climate and growth in the geographical areas where the Company does business; (iii) the capital intensive nature of the business; (iv) increased competition within the energy industry as well as from alternative forms of energy; (v) the timing and extent of changes in commodity prices for natural gas and propane; (vi) the effects of changes in governmental and regulatory policies, including income taxes, environmental compliance and authorized rates; (vii) SEMCO ENERGY's ability to bid on and win construction, engineering and quality assurance contracts; (viii) the impact of energy prices on the amount of projects and business available to the engineering business; (ix) the nature, availability and projected profitability of potential investments available to the Company; (x) SEMCO ENERGY's ability to operate acquired businesses in accordance with its plans and (xi) SEMCO ENERGY's ability to accomplish its financing objectives in a timely and cost-effective manner, including its ability to accomplish the refinancing of the ENSTAR acquisition, in light of changing conditions in the capital markets and equity markets.
CONTACT: Analysts: Edric R. Mason, Jr., 810-989-4104, or fax, 810-989-4098, or Media: Francis R. Lieder, Jr., 810-987-2200, ext. 4186, or fax, 810-989-4098, both of SEMCO ENERGY, Inc.

"Safe Harbor" Statement under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements in this press release regarding SEMCO Energy's business which are not historical facts are "forward-looking statements" that involve risks and uncertainties. For a discussion of such risks and uncertainties, which could cause actual results to differ from those contained in the forward-looking statements, see "Risk Factors" in the Company's Annual Report or Form 10-K for the most recently ended fiscal year.

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