Utility Exceeds Estimates

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Utility giant Southern Company of Atlanta beat Wall Street expectations for third quarter earnings by five cents, benefiting from continued customer growth.

The Atlanta-based company also said it was helped by solid results from its competitive generation business and rate hikes in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.

In the third-quarter, Southern Company earned $595 million, or 84 cents a share, on revenue of 3.25 billion. Analysts were expecting 79 cents a share, according to Thomson First Call.

The latest results compare with the company's earnings of $554 million, or 80 cents a share, on revenue of 3.16 billion last year.

Southern Company said it remains on track to meet or exceed its full-year earnings target of $1.74 a share. The year outlook mirrors Wall Street's consensus estimate and tops last year's 64 cents a share.

Southern Company provides electricity to nearly four million customers in Alabama, Mississippi, Florida, and Georgia.