Alliant Energy: RMT disappoints, division up for sale

Acknowledging that RMT, its renewable energy division, did not perform as well as its utility and transportation business, Alliant Energy Corp. said Friday that it is putting RMT up for sale.

Alliant Energy, releasing its 2011 financial data, said the lack of a consistent federal renewable energy policy has hampered RMT, which designs and builds wind farms.

 “2011 utility and transportation results were in line with our expectations, however RMT results disappointed,” Bill Harvey, Alliant’s chairman and CEO, said in a press release.

For the year, the company generated $3.67 billion in sales, a 7.4% increase over 2010, and $303.6 million in net income, or $2.74 per diluted share, an increase of 5.4% over the previous year.

Alliant’s utility operations, aided by new electric base rates, generated $2.77 per share (non-GAAP) from continuing operations in 2011, an increase of 12 cents per share over 2010.

However, RMT’s losses were a drag on earnings. Alliant attributed those losses to problems with a New Jersey solar project, including scheduling delays, and the need to hire additional subcontractors because the original subcontractor abandoned work. RMT has filed a lawsuit against the subcontractor.

The division also reported a “modest erosion” of margins on its wind projects in 2011. Since Alliant’s board of directors has approved plans to sell RMT, it expects to begin reporting the results of RMT in discontinued operations in 2012.

Due to the decision to sell RMT, Alliant has reduced its 2012 per-share earnings guidance by five cents per share. Guidance now calls for per-share earnings of between $2.75 and $3.05 for the full year.

In the fourth quarter of 2011, the company generated $879.2 million in sales, a 5.6% increase over the same quarter in 2010, and $57 million in net income, or 51 cents per diluted share, an increase of 18.6% over the same period in 2010.