comscore Rate increases boost Hawaiian Electric Industries’ earnings 13.5% | Honolulu Star-Advertiser
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Rate increases boost Hawaiian Electric Industries’ earnings 13.5%

Hawaiian Electric Industries Inc.’s net income increased 13.5% in the first quarter as it benefited from rate increases at its Oahu and Maui utilities, new solar-plus-storage power purchase agreements and a strong performance from subsidiary American Savings Bank.

Investors bid up shares of the company 33 cents to a 52-week high of $42.02 on today after the results were announced in what was an overall dismal day for the stock market. HEI’s stock is now up 14.8% this year.

The state’s dominant utility provider and the owner of Hawaii’s third-largest bank reported earnings of $45.7 million, or 42 cents a share, that beat analysts’ consensus estimate of 38 cents. In the year-earlier quarter, HEI had net income of $40.2 million, or 37 cents a share.

HEI’s revenue rose 2.4% to $661.6 million from $645.9 million in the year-earlier period to easily beat analysts’ consensus estimate of $564 million.

“In the first quarter, the Public Utilities Commission approved in record time six renewable power purchase agreements that will bring a significant amount of solar-plus-­battery-storage projects onto our grids on Oahu, Maui and Hawaii Island,” HEI President and CEO Connie Lau said in a statement. “The cooperation among the energy stakeholders, regulators, customers and our companies has continued to keep Hawaii at the forefront of greening our environment while providing reliable, resilient and more affordable electricity for our customers and our economy.”

Lau also lauded the “continued healthy performance” of American Savings Bank, which separately announced last week that its net income rose 9.9% in the first quarter to $20.8 million as the margin between what it received from loans and paid out in deposits widened substantially. The bank is in the final stages of moving 650 of its 1,200 employees into its new $100 million, 11-story headquarters at 300 N. Beretania St. near Chinatown.

“(The new headquarters) offers new opportunities for the team to work better together for customers and realize operational effectiveness and cost efficiencies,” Lau said.

HEI’s three utilities — Hawaiian Electric Co., Maui Electric Co. and Hawaii Electric Light Co. — generated net income of $32.1 million in the quarter compared with $27.5 million in the year earlier period. Revenue for the utilites rose to $578.5 million from $570.4 million.

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