Southwest Gas Corp. gave shareholders their best year ever with the company in 2012 as rate hikes and new customers pushed up profits.
The Las Vegas natural-gas provider said it earned $62.4 million of net income, or $1.35 per share, in the three months ending Dec. 31. That’s up from $55.3 million in profit, or $1.20 per share, in the same period a year earlier.
The company, with almost 1.9 million customers in Arizona, Nevada and California, booked $133.3 million in profit for all of 2012, up from $112.3 million in 2011.
Its earnings per share last year, $2.89, rose 18 percent from $2.45 in 2011 and was the highest in company history, according to President and CEO Jeffrey W. Shaw.
Operating revenue increased to $1.93 billion last year from $1.89 billion in 2011. Its “operating margin,” defined as revenue minus the cost of gas sold, rose by $52 million in 2012. That was largely because of “rate relief” in Arizona (accounting for $45 million of the increase) and, to a much lesser extent, in Nevada ($2 million).
Arizona state regulators voted in December 2011 to let the company raise rates by about 8 percent starting Jan. 1, 2012.
The company’s 17,000 net new customers last year accounted for the remaining $5 million bump in operating margin.