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MDU-Resources Group Posts Record

Mon August 13, 2007 - Midwest Edition

orting a record profit for the second quarter of 2007, spurred by record earnings in nearly all its lines of business.

The Bismarck-based energy, mining and construction company posted earnings of $89.3 million the second quarter, up from $71.3 million for the same quarter a year ago.

“We’re off to an excellent start for the year,” said Terry Hildestad, president and chief executive officer. “We’re anticipating another record year in earnings.”

MDU posted record earnings of $315.1 million last year, up from $274.4 million in 2005, a 15 percent increase. In 2006, the company also paid increased dividends to its shareholders for the 16th consecutive year.

Hildestad said his company, which has operations in 44 states and Brazil, is on its way to a fifth consecutive year of record profits. The company ended the quarter with nearly 14,000 employees, which was “up slightly” from the same quarter a year ago, he said.

MDU spokesman Rick Matteson said the company’s second-quarter earnings was the second-highest quarter earnings in its history. Third-quarter earnings last year totaled more than $108 million, he said.

Third quarters — July, August and September — typically show the most profit for the company, and this year should be no different, Matteson said.

“We get higher electricity sales from air conditioner use, the construction season is in full season and we get high sales from our oil and gas customers,” Matteson said. “The season for all those activities is favorable.”

The company said its natural gas and oil production segment had $35.2 million in profit last quarter, compared with $31 million for the same quarter a year ago.

The company’s pipeline segment posted $6.1 million in earnings last quarter compared with $5.9 million for the same quarter in 2006.

In construction materials and mining, MDU reported a record $25.5 million in earnings last quarter, up from $25.3 million for the second quarter last year. Earnings for the company’s construction services group increased from $9.7 million to $13 million for the second quarter this year.

MDU’s electric and natural gas distribution groups posted a $2 million loss for the quarter last year but turned a $3 million profit for the same quarter in 2007. The company’s independent power production unit reduced its quarterly loss to $1.4 million from $1.8 million.

MDU completed its acquisition of Seattle-based Cascade Natural Gas Corp., in July, in a deal worth about $475 million.

Shares of MDU dropped 12 cents to $29.82 in morning trading July 24 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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