Constellation reports 4Q loss

Mergers, Acquisitions and TakeoversQuarterly or Semiannual Financial StatementsBusinessEarningsNuclear PowerPetroleum IndustryJoint Ventures

Constellation Energy Group, which is selling itself to Exelon Corp., reported a loss Friday in the fourth quarter, what is expected to be the energy giant's last earnings release as a publicly traded Baltimore company.

Its earnings came out before the Maryland Public Service Commission approved the proposed $7.9 billion proposed merger between Constellation and Exelon, contingent on several dozen conditions.

It lost $583.6 million, or $2.91 per share, in the three months ended Dec. 31, compared with a profit of $159.8 million, or 80 cents per share, in the corresponding period the previous year.

The company said it took $891 million in charges to reflect the lower value of its investments, including a joint venture with French utility EDF. The two companies own and operate nuclear power plants in New York and Maryland.

A decline in power prices, including those of natural gas, and uncertainty over federal carbon emissions regulations affected the joint venture, the company said.

The company also incurred $77.8 million in pre-tax costs associated with its merger with Exelon. The deal still requires approval by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. On Thursday, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission approved the deal, which would create the largest competitive energy supplier in the United States.

"As we integrate our two businesses, we anticipate working with our colleagues at Exelon to more closely align our cost structure with current market conditions," Constellation Chief Executive Officer and Chairman Mayo A. Shattuck III said in a statement. "Combined, we will be a stronger and better balanced company that should be well positioned to deliver continued growth in the years ahead."

Revenue for the quarter dropped to $2.95 billion, from $3.47 billion in the corresponding quarter the previous year.

For the year, Constellation reported a loss of $340.3 million, or $1.70 per share, down from a loss of $982.6 million, or $4.90 per share, in 2010.

Revenue in 2011 was $13.8 billion, down from $14.3 billion the year before.

Constellation's utility Baltimore Gas and Electric was hurt by costs related to restoring power after Hurricane Irene in August.

Excluding the storm's costs, BGE reported adjusted earnings of 81 cents per share for 2011, up from adjusted earnings of 69 cents per share in 2010.

The company did not hold a conference call with analysts due to the pending merger.

hanah.cho@baltsun.com

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