Southwest Gas realizes 1st-quarter profits of $80.8 million

Southwest Gas Corp. narrowly raised its first-quarter profit after seeing a turnaround in its pipeline construction services unit.

The Las Vegas-based natural gas provider on Friday reported earning $80.8 million of net income, or $1.75 a share, for the three months ending March 31.

That compares to a profit of $78.9 million, or $1.71 per share, in the same period last year.

The company’s operating margin, or revenue minus the cost of selling gas, was $293 million last quarter, up from $288 million a year earlier. Also, its NPL Construction Co. unit accounted for almost $1.5 million of the company’s total profit. A year earlier, NPL lost the company $447,000.

Southwest Gas has almost 1.9 million customers in Arizona, Nevada and California.