Virginia Electric & Power Co. and the Norfolk & Western Railway Co. reported yesterday a decline in second-quarter profits. For Fairchild Industries, however, the April-June period was one of continued business growth, with earnings at record levels.
Vepco said profits fell to $43.5 million (35 cents a share) in the recent quarter compared with $45.5 million (41 cents) in the same period last year, as revenues increased to $374 million from $329 million.
The Richmond-based electric utility's earnings decline comes at a time when the firm is warning of a cashflow crisis, with projections of soaring fuel costs leading to a further earning squeeze in future months.
Virginia's State Corporation Commission, at a meeting last Friday, scheduled a special meeting for Thursday in Richmond to discuss the utility's warning as well as a Vepco threat to halt construction of a new generating plant because of reduced financial resources.
For a 12-month period ended June 30, Vepco profits were down to $19 million ($1.70 a share) from $206 million ($2.02) in the previous annual period. the company said yesterday. Pershare earnings are down more sharply because there are down more sharply outstanding. Revenues rose over the 12 months to $1.52 billion from $1.44 billion.
The SCC refused to reconsider a recent decision granting Vepco $9.8 million out of $53.9 million sougth to cover higher fuel charges. In adddition, the agency turned down Vepco's request to reconsider a decision to require a refund of $3.2 million to customers because of an outage at the Surry nuclear plant in November 1977. Vepco plans to appeal this decision to the State's Supreme Court.
At the hearing on Thursday, Vepco has been asked to provide projections on its cash position and to discuss alternative methods of recovering fuel expenses.
Vepco Executive Vice President W. W. Berry said he is "confident" the SCC "will agree with Vepco's evaluation of the seriousness of the cash flow problem, and hopes the commission will promptly take action which will eliminate the need for Vepco to consider substantial cutbacks in its construction program ..."
Norfolk & Western said second-Quarter profits fell 20 percent from record levels of last year, partially because of abnormally large coal shipments in the 1978 period, following a coal miner's strike.
The Roanoke-based rail firm earned $54.6 million ($1.75 a share) in the recent quarter compared with $68.6 million ($2.20) a year ago as revenues dipped to $378.9 million from $379.4 million.
For the first six months, however, N&W profits rose 55 percent to $100.8 million ($3.23 a share) from $55.9 million ($1.79). Revenues increased to $707 million from $605 million.
The six-month gains also reflect the impact of a coal mine strike during the first quarter of 1978, which sharply reduced N&W's business at that time. Export coal traffic, at 5.3 million tons in the second quarter of 1979, was up from 3.8 million tons a year earlier and "the brightest spot in N&W's traffic" for the recent period with Japanese and European steel makers among key buyers, President John Fishwick said yesterday.
Fishwick said also the rail industry is expected to request shortly freight rate increase ranging from 6.4 percent for southern roads to 9 percent for Eastern lines, effective Oct. 1. These rate hikes would be on top of several recent fuel surcharges; a pending 1 percent fuel surcharge was approved yesterday by the ICC.
N&W general merchandise traffic will be adversely affected by the recession but coal traffic is higher than projected, Fishwick said. N&W expects to haul 69 million tons of coal originating on its system, some 2 million tons higher than forecast earlier.
Consolidated Rail Corp., of Philadelphia which earlier had projected that second-quarter results would show the first profit in its history said yesterday that the quarterly profits were $29.4 million compared with a year-earlier loss of $90.3 million.Revenues rose to $1 billion from $916 million.
Preliminary figures compiled by the Association of American Railroads indicate that rail lines hauled a record amount of traffic in the first half of 1979. The increase was attributed to large gains in grain, coal and piggyback (truck trailer on flatcar) traffic.
Fairchild Industries Inc., and aerospace and communications company based in Montgomery County, reported record second-quarter profits of $9.16 million $1.48 a share) compared with $5.5 million (93 cents) a year earlier.Sales jumped to $184 million from $130 million
In the first six months, Fairchild earned $16.8 million ($2.73 a share) compared with $11.3 million (1.91) and sales rose to $339 million from $251 million.
Yesterday's report continued a three-year trend of higher quarterly sales and profits for Fairchild, reflecting increased production of the A-10 close air support fighter for the U.S. Air Force.
Manor Care Inc., a national health care chain based in Silver Spring, reported a 41 percent increase in profits for the year ended May 31. Net income was $2.5 million ($1.45 a share) compared with $1.8 million ($1.06) a year earlier. Revenues rose 28 percent to $47 million.
President Calvin Kaylor attributed the increases to continued improvements at six nursing centers opened in 1976 and 1977 and higher than expected utilization and occupancy at another nursing home since it opened in 1978.