By Jeff Clabaugh
Staff Reporter
Thursday, February 4, 2010, 10:46am

WGL Holdings reported lower quarterly earnings from higher expenses, but raised its full-year forecast, anticipating benefits from an economic rebound.

WGL, parent company of Washington Gas Light had fiscal first quarter net income of $47.6 million, or 94 cents per share, compared to net income of $54.6 million, or $1.09 per share in the same quarter a year ago.

The decline in earnings came from its regulated utility division, impacted by higher employee benefit expenses and lower average storage gas inventory balances.

Washington Gas raised its fiscal 2010 earnings estimates, citing better margins for its retail energy marketing segment and anticipated growth in the Washington region.

"With the regional economy showing the initial signs of recovery, we are well positioned to benefit from renewed growth in our region," said CEO Terry McCallister. "In addition to our traditional services, the increasing focus on clean energy solutions will bring more opportunities to our non-utility businesses."

Washington Gas ended the quarter with 10,300 more customers than it had a year earlier.

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