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EX-12 - COMPUTATION OF RATIO OF EARNINGS TO FIXED CHARGES AND COMBINED FIXED CHARGES AND PREFERRED STOCK DIVIDENDS - MDU RESOURCES GROUP INCexhibit12.htm
EX-32 - CERTIFICATION OF CEO AND CFO FURNISHED PURSUANT TO 18 USC SECTION 1350, AS ADOPTED PURSUANT TO SECTION 906 OF SARBANES-OXLEY ACT OF 2002 - MDU RESOURCES GROUP INCexhibit32.htm
EX-31.B - CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF FINANCIAL OFFICER FILED PURSUANT TO SECTION 302 OF THE SARBANES-OXLEY ACT OF 2002 - MDU RESOURCES GROUP INCexhibit31b.htm
EX-10.A - INSTRUMENT OF AMENDMENT TO THE MDU RESOURCES GROUP, INC. 401(K) RETIREMENT PLAN, DATED 01/05/2010 - MDU RESOURCES GROUP INCexhibit10a.htm
EX-10.B - INSTRUMENT OF AMENDMENT TO THE MDU RESOURCES GROUP, INC. 401(K) RETIREMENT PLAN, DATED 03/30/2010 - MDU RESOURCES GROUP INCexhibit10b.htm
EX-31.A - CERTIFICATION OF CHIEF EXECUTIVE OFFICER FILED PURSUANT TO SECTION 302 OF THE SARBANES-OXLEY ACT OF 2002 - MDU RESOURCES GROUP INCexhibit31a.htm
EXCEL - IDEA: XBRL DOCUMENT - MDU RESOURCES GROUP INCFinancial_Report.xls
EX-3 - CERTIFICATE OF AMENDMENT, DATED 04/27/2010, OF RESTATED CERTIFICATE OF INCORPORATION OF THE COMPANY - MDU RESOURCES GROUP INCexhibit3.htm

 
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
WASHINGTON, D.C. 20549

FORM 10-Q

x
QUARTERLY REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF
 
 
THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 
     
 
For The Quarterly Period Ended March 31, 2010
 
     
 
OR
 
     
o
TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF
 
 
THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
 

For the Transition Period from _____________ to ______________

Commission file number 1-3480

MDU Resources Group, Inc.
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)

Delaware
 
41-0423660
(State or other jurisdiction of incorporation or organization)
 
(I.R.S. Employer Identification No.)

1200 West Century Avenue
P.O. Box 5650
Bismarck, North Dakota 58506-5650
(Address of principal executive offices)
(Zip Code)

(701) 530-1000
(Registrant's telephone number, including area code)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes x No o.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes x No o.

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer, or a smaller reporting company. See the definition of "large accelerated filer," "accelerated filer" and "smaller reporting company" in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act (Check one):

Large accelerated filer x
Accelerated filer o
Non-accelerated filer o
Smaller reporting company o

(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)

Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act). Yes o No x.

Indicate the number of shares outstanding of each of the issuer's classes of common stock, as of April 29, 2010: 188,130,501 shares.
 


 
 

 

DEFINITIONS

The following abbreviations and acronyms used in this Form 10-Q are defined below:

Abbreviation or Acronym
2009 Annual Report
Company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2009
ALJ
Administrative Law Judge
ASC
FASB Accounting Standards Codification
Bbl
Barrel
Bcf
Billion cubic feet
Bcfe
Billion cubic feet equivalent
BER
Montana Board of Environmental Review
Big Stone Station
450-MW coal-fired electric generating facility located near Big Stone City, South Dakota (22.7 percent ownership)
Big Stone Station II
Formerly proposed coal-fired electric generating facility located near Big Stone City, South Dakota (the Company had anticipated ownership of at least 116 MW)
Brazilian Transmission Lines
Company’s equity method investment in companies owning ECTE, ENTE and ERTE
Btu
British thermal unit
Cascade
Cascade Natural Gas Corporation, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of MDU Energy Capital
CBNG
Coalbed natural gas
CEM
Colorado Energy Management, LLC, a former direct wholly owned subsidiary of Centennial Resources (sold in the third quarter of 2007)
Centennial
Centennial Energy Holdings, Inc., a direct wholly owned subsidiary of the Company
Centennial Capital
Centennial Holdings Capital LLC, a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Centennial
Centennial Resources
Centennial Energy Resources LLC, a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Centennial
Clean Air Act
Federal Clean Air Act
Clean Water Act
Federal Clean Water Act
Company
MDU Resources Group, Inc.
dk
Decatherm
ECTE
Empresa Catarinense de Transmissão de Energia S.A.
EIS
Environmental Impact Statement
ENTE
Empresa Norte de Transmissão de Energia S.A.
EPA
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
ERTE
Empresa Regional de Transmissão de Energia S.A.
Exchange Act
Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended
FASB
Financial Accounting Standards Board
FERC
Federal Energy Regulatory Commission
Fidelity
Fidelity Exploration & Production Company, a direct wholly owned subsidiary of WBI Holdings
GAAP
Accounting principles generally accepted in the United States of America
 
2

 
 
GHG
Greenhouse gas
Great Plains
Great Plains Natural Gas Co., a public utility division of the Company
Intermountain
Intermountain Gas Company, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of MDU Energy Capital
IPUC
Idaho Public Utilities Commission
Knife River
Knife River Corporation, a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Centennial
kWh
Kilowatt-hour
LTM
LTM, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Knife River
LPP
Lea Power Partners, LLC, a former indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Centennial Resources (member interests were sold in October 2006)
LWG
Lower Willamette Group
MBbls
Thousands of barrels
MBI
Morse Bros., Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Knife River
MBOGC
Montana Board of Oil and Gas Conservation
Mcf
Thousand cubic feet
MDU Brasil
MDU Brasil Ltda., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Centennial Resources
MDU Construction Services
MDU Construction Services Group, Inc., a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Centennial
MDU Energy Capital
MDU Energy Capital, LLC, a direct wholly owned subsidiary of the Company
MEIC
Montana Environmental Information Center, Inc.
MMBtu
Million Btu
MMcf
Million cubic feet
MMdk
Million decatherms
MNPUC
Minnesota Public Utilities Commission
Montana-Dakota
Montana-Dakota Utilities Co., a public utility division of the Company
Montana DEQ
Montana State Department of Environmental Quality
Montana First Judicial District Court
Montana First Judicial District Court, Lewis and Clark County
Montana Twenty-Second Judicial District Court
Montana Twenty-Second Judicial District Court, Big Horn County
MPX
MPX Termoceara Ltda. (49 percent ownership, sold in June 2005)
MTPSC
Montana Public Service Commission
MW
Megawatt
NDPSC
North Dakota Public Service Commission
North Dakota District Court
North Dakota South Central Judicial District Court for Burleigh County
NPRC
Northern Plains Resource Council
NSPS
New Source Performance Standards
Oil
Includes crude oil, condensate and natural gas liquids
OPUC
Oregon Public Utility Commission
Oregon DEQ
Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality
 
3

 
 
Prairielands
Prairielands Energy Marketing, Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of WBI Holdings
PRP
Potentially Responsible Party
PSD
Prevention of Significant Deterioration
ROD
Record of Decision
SDPUC
South Dakota Public Utilities Commission
SEC
U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission
SEC Defined Prices
The average price of natural gas and oil during the applicable 12-month period, determined as an unweighted arithmetic average of the first-day-of-the-month price for each month within such period, unless prices are defined by contractual arrangements, excluding escalations based upon future conditions
Securities Act
Securities Act of 1933, as amended
South Dakota Federal District Court
U.S. District Court for the District of South Dakota
South Dakota SIP
South Dakota State Implementation Plan
TRWUA
Tongue River Water Users’ Association
WBI Holdings
WBI Holdings, Inc., a direct wholly owned subsidiary of Centennial
Williston Basin
Williston Basin Interstate Pipeline Company, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of WBI Holdings
WUTC
Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission
Wygen III
100-MW coal-fired electric generating facility located near Gillette, Wyoming (25 percent ownership)
WYPSC
Wyoming Public Service Commission
 

 
4

 

INTRODUCTION

The Company is a diversified natural resource company, which was incorporated under the laws of the state of Delaware in 1924. Its principal executive offices are at 1200 West Century Avenue, P.O. Box 5650, Bismarck, North Dakota 58506-5650, telephone (701) 530-1000.

Montana-Dakota, through the electric and natural gas distribution segments, generates, transmits and distributes electricity and distributes natural gas in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. Cascade distributes natural gas in Oregon and Washington. Intermountain distributes natural gas in Idaho. Great Plains distributes natural gas in western Minnesota and southeastern North Dakota. These operations also supply related value-added products and services.

The Company, through its wholly owned subsidiary, Centennial, owns WBI Holdings (comprised of the pipeline and energy services and the natural gas and oil production segments), Knife River (construction materials and contracting segment), MDU Construction Services (construction services segment), Centennial Resources and Centennial Capital (both reflected in the Other category). For more information on the Company’s business segments, see Note 15.


 
5

 
 

INDEX




Part I -- Financial Information
Page
   
Consolidated Statements of Income --
 
Three Months Ended March 31, 2010 and 2009
7
   
Consolidated Balance Sheets --
 
March 31, 2010 and 2009, and December 31, 2009
8
   
Consolidated Statements of Cash Flows --
 
Three Months Ended March 31, 2010 and 2009
9
   
Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements
10
   
Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations
32
   
Quantitative and Qualitative Disclosures About Market Risk
49
   
Controls and Procedures
51
   
Part II -- Other Information
 
   
Legal Proceedings
51
   
Risk Factors
51
   
Unregistered Sales of Equity Securities and Use of Proceeds
53
   
Exhibits
54
   
Signatures
55
 
 
Exhibit Index
56
   
Exhibits
 
 
6

 

PART I -- FINANCIAL INFORMATION

ITEM 1.  FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

MDU RESOURCES GROUP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
(Unaudited)

   
Three Months Ended
 
   
March 31,
 
   
2010
   
2009
 
   
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
 
Operating revenues:
           
Electric, natural gas distribution and pipeline and energy services
  $ 460,245     $ 594,576  
Construction services, natural gas and oil production, construction materials and contracting, and other
    374,532       499,429  
Total operating revenues
    834,777       1,094,005  
Operating expenses:
               
Fuel and purchased power
    16,911       18,731  
Purchased natural gas sold
    233,691       356,496  
Operation and maintenance:
               
Electric, natural gas distribution and pipeline and energy services
    62,987       71,351  
Construction services, natural gas and oil production, construction materials and contracting, and other
    313,786       422,149  
Depreciation, depletion and amortization
    78,678       93,245  
Taxes, other than income
    45,795       52,952  
Write-down of natural gas and oil properties
          620,000  
 Total operating expenses
    751,848       1,634,924  
                 
Operating income (loss)
    82,929       (540,919 )
                 
Earnings from equity method investments
    2,183       1,787  
                 
Other income
    2,502       1,719  
                 
Interest expense
    20,516       20,997  
                 
Income (loss) before income taxes
    67,098       (558,410 )
                 
Income taxes
    25,326       (214,607 )
                 
Net income (loss)
    41,772       (343,803 )
                 
Dividends on preferred stocks
    172       171  
                 
Earnings (loss) on common stock
  $ 41,600     $ (343,974 )
                 
Earnings (loss) per common share -- basic
  $ .22     $ (1.87 )
                 
Earnings (loss) per common share -- diluted
  $ .22     $ (1.87 )
                 
Dividends per common share
  $ .1575     $ .1550  
                 
Weighted average common shares outstanding -- basic
    187,963       183,787  
                 
Weighted average common shares outstanding -- diluted
    188,220       183,787  

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 
7

 

MDU RESOURCES GROUP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS
(Unaudited)

   
March 31,
2010
   
March 31,
2009
   
December 31,
2009
 
(In thousands, except shares and per share amounts)
 
ASSETS
                 
Current assets:
                 
Cash and cash equivalents
  $ 106,664     $ 44,689     $ 175,114  
Receivables, net
    467,790       580,700       531,980  
Inventories
    253,931       276,268       249,804  
Deferred income taxes
    18,543             28,145  
Short-term investments
    250       2,329       2,833  
Commodity derivative instruments
    38,146       92,577       7,761  
Prepayments and other current assets
    104,437       135,734       66,021  
Total current assets
    989,761       1,132,297       1,061,658  
Investments
    141,443       114,058       145,416  
Property, plant and equipment
    6,875,397       6,550,825       6,766,582  
Less accumulated depreciation, depletion and amortization
    2,935,453       2,839,020       2,872,465  
Net property, plant and equipment
    3,939,944       3,711,805       3,894,117  
Deferred charges and other assets:
                       
Goodwill
    634,633       621,566       629,463  
Other intangible assets, net
    26,612       26,573       28,977  
Other
    249,454       254,240       231,321  
Total deferred charges and other assets
    910,699       902,379       889,761  
Total assets
  $ 5,981,847     $ 5,860,539     $ 5,990,952  
                         
LIABILITIES AND STOCKHOLDERS’ EQUITY
                       
Current liabilities:
                       
Short-term borrowings
  $ 7,700     $ 25,500     $ 10,300  
Long-term debt due within one year
    72,572       28,621       12,629  
Accounts payable
    241,465       355,951       281,906  
Taxes payable
    69,077       71,238       55,540  
Deferred income taxes
          10,143        
Dividends payable
    29,796       28,685       29,749  
Accrued compensation
    22,607       35,543       47,425  
Commodity derivative instruments
    32,328       58,062       36,907  
Other accrued liabilities
    187,368       162,271       192,729  
Total current liabilities
    662,913       776,014       667,185  
Long-term debt
    1,426,146       1,614,786       1,486,677  
Deferred credits and other liabilities:
                       
Deferred income taxes
    603,803       516,965       590,968  
Other liabilities
    680,965       551,175       674,475  
Total deferred credits and other liabilities
    1,284,768       1,068,140       1,265,443  
Commitments and contingencies
                       
Stockholders’ equity:
                       
Preferred stocks
    15,000       15,000       15,000  
Common stockholders’ equity:
                       
Common stock
                       
Shares issued -- $1.00 par value, 188,656,012 at March 31, 2010; 184,499,434 at March 31, 2009 and 188,389,265 at December 31, 2009
    188,656       184,499       188,389  
Other paid-in capital
    1,018,441       940,369       1,015,678  
Retained earnings
    1,388,914       1,244,248       1,377,039  
Accumulated other comprehensive income (loss)
    635       21,109       (20,833 )
Treasury stock at cost – 538,921 shares
    (3,626 )     (3,626 )     (3,626 )
Total common stockholders’ equity
    2,593,020       2,386,599       2,556,647  
Total stockholders’ equity
    2,608,020       2,401,599       2,571,647  
Total liabilities and stockholders’ equity
  $ 5,981,847     $ 5,860,539     $ 5,990,952  


The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 
8

 
 
MDU RESOURCES GROUP, INC.
CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF CASH FLOWS
(Unaudited)


   
Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
   
2010
   
2009
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Operating activities:
           
Net income (loss)
  $ 41,772     $ (343,803 )
Adjustments to reconcile net income (loss) to net cash provided by operating activities:
               
Depreciation, depletion and amortization
    78,678       93,245  
Earnings, net of distributions, from equity method investments
    (1,443 )     (1,531 )
Deferred income taxes
    8,226       (228,764 )
Write-down of natural gas and oil properties
          620,000  
Changes in current assets and liabilities, net of acquisitions:
               
Receivables
    61,914       129,318  
Inventories
    (6,198 )     (13,347 )
Other current assets
    (34,546 )     40,442  
Accounts payable
    (34,795 )     (59,863 )
Other current liabilities
    (21,733 )     21,713  
Other noncurrent changes
    (6,759 )     (9,586 )
Net cash provided by operating activities
    85,116       247,824  
                 
Investing activities:
               
Capital expenditures
    (123,902 )     (145,355 )
Acquisitions, net of cash acquired
    (1,725 )     (3,057 )
Net proceeds from sale or disposition of property
    1,936       4,213  
Investments
    1,404       1,229  
Net cash used in investing activities
    (122,287 )     (142,970 )
                 
Financing activities:
               
Repayment of short-term borrowings
    (2,600 )     (79,600 )
Issuance of long-term debt
          59,091  
Repayment of long-term debt
    (479 )     (62,884 )
Proceeds from issuance of common stock
    1,214       107  
Dividends paid
    (29,749 )     (28,640 )
Tax benefit on stock-based compensation
    452       111  
Net cash used in financing activities
    (31,162 )     (111,815 )
Effect of exchange rate changes on cash and cash equivalents
    (117 )     (64 )
Decrease in cash and cash equivalents
    (68,450 )     (7,025 )
Cash and cash equivalents -- beginning of year
    175,114       51,714  
Cash and cash equivalents -- end of period
  $ 106,664     $ 44,689  

The accompanying notes are an integral part of these consolidated financial statements.

 
9

 

MDU RESOURCES GROUP, INC.
NOTES TO CONSOLIDATED
FINANCIAL STATEMENTS

March 31, 2010 and 2009
(Unaudited)

 1.           Basis of presentation
 
The accompanying consolidated interim financial statements were prepared in conformity with the basis of presentation reflected in the consolidated financial statements included in the Company's 2009 Annual Report, and the standards of accounting measurement set forth in the interim reporting guidance in the ASC and any amendments thereto adopted by the FASB. Interim financial statements do not include all disclosures provided in annual financial statements and, accordingly, these financial statements should be read in conjunction with those appearing in the 2009 Annual Report. The information is unaudited but includes all adjustments that are, in the opinion of management, necessary for a fair presentation of the accompanying consolidated interim financial statements and are of a normal recurring nature. Depreciation, depletion and amortization expense is reported separately on the Consolidated Statements of Income and therefore is excluded from the other line items within operating expenses. Management has also evaluated the impact of events occurring after March 31, 2010, up to the date of issuance of these consolidated interim financial statements.

 2.           Seasonality of operations
 
Some of the Company's operations are highly seasonal and revenues from, and certain expenses for, such operations may fluctuate significantly among quarterly periods. Accordingly, the interim results for particular businesses, and for the Company as a whole, may not be indicative of results for the full fiscal year.

 3.           Allowance for doubtful accounts
 
The Company's allowance for doubtful accounts as of March 31, 2010 and 2009, and December 31, 2009, was $17.1 million, $16.1 million and $16.6 million, respectively.

 4.           Natural gas in storage
 
Natural gas in storage for the Company's regulated operations is carried at average cost, or cost using the last-in, first-out method. The portion of the cost of natural gas in storage expected to be used within one year was included in inventories and was $10.7 million, $9.5 million and $35.6 million at March 31, 2010 and 2009, and December 31, 2009, respectively. The remainder of natural gas in storage, which largely represents the cost of gas required to maintain pressure levels for normal operating purposes, was included in other assets and was $59.3 million, $42.0 million, and $59.6 million at March 31, 2010 and 2009, and December 31, 2009, respectively.

 5.           Inventories
 
Inventories, other than natural gas in storage for the Company’s regulated operations, consisted primarily of aggregates held for resale of $81.1 million, $92.0 million and $80.1 million; materials and supplies of $58.6 million, $73.0 million and $58.1 million; asphalt oil of $50.4 million, $50.0 million and $23.0 million; and other inventories of $53.1 million, $51.8 million and $53.0 million, as of March 31, 2010 and 2009, and

 
10

 
 
 
December 31, 2009, respectively. These inventories were stated at the lower of average cost or market value.

 6.           Natural gas and oil properties
 
The Company uses the full-cost method of accounting for its natural gas and oil production activities. Under this method, all costs incurred in the acquisition, exploration and development of natural gas and oil properties are capitalized and amortized on the units-of-production method based on total proved reserves. Any conveyances of properties, including gains or losses on abandonments of properties, are treated as adjustments to the cost of the properties with no gain or loss recognized.

 
Capitalized costs are subject to a “ceiling test” that limits such costs to the aggregate of the present value of future net cash flows from proved reserves discounted at 10 percent, as mandated under the rules of the SEC, plus the cost of unproved properties less applicable income taxes. Future net revenue was estimated based on end-of-quarter spot market prices adjusted for contracted price changes prior to the fourth quarter of 2009. Effective December 31, 2009, the Modernization of Oil and Gas Reporting rules issued by the SEC changed the pricing used to estimate reserves and associated future cash flows to SEC Defined Prices. Prior to that date, if capitalized costs exceeded the full-cost ceiling at the end of any quarter, a permanent noncash write-down was required to be charged to earnings in that quarter unless subsequent price changes eliminated or reduced an indicated write-down. Effective December 31, 2009, if capitalized costs exceed the full-cost ceiling at the end of any quarter, a permanent noncash write-down is required to be charged to earnings in that quarter regardless of subsequent price changes.

 
Due to low natural gas and oil prices that existed on March 31, 2009, the Company's capitalized costs under the full-cost method of accounting exceeded the full-cost ceiling at March 31, 2009. Accordingly, the Company was required to write down its natural gas and oil producing properties. The noncash write-down amounted to $620.0 million ($384.4 million after tax) for the three months ended March 31, 2009.

 
The Company hedges a portion of its natural gas and oil production and the effects of the cash flow hedges were used in determining the full-cost ceiling. The Company would have recognized an additional write-down of its natural gas and oil properties of $107.9 million ($66.9 million after tax) at March 31, 2009, if the effects of cash flow hedges had not been considered in calculating the full-cost ceiling. For more information on the Company's cash flow hedges, see Note 13.

 
At March 31, 2010, the Company’s full-cost ceiling exceeded the Company’s capitalized cost. However, sustained downward movements in natural gas and oil prices subsequent to March 31, 2010, could result in a future write-down of the Company’s natural gas and oil properties.

 7.           Earnings (loss) per common share
 
Basic earnings (loss) per common share were computed by dividing earnings (loss) on common stock by the weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding during the applicable period. Diluted earnings per common share were computed by dividing earnings on common stock by the total of the weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding during the applicable period, plus the effect of outstanding

 
11

 
 
 
stock options, restricted stock grants and performance share awards. For the three months ended March 31, 2010, there were no shares excluded from the calculation of diluted earnings per share. Diluted loss per common share for the three months ended March 31, 2009, was computed by dividing the loss on common stock by the weighted average number of shares of common stock outstanding during the applicable period. Due to the loss on common stock for the three months ended March 31, 2009, the effect of outstanding stock options, restricted stock grants and performance share awards were excluded from the computation of diluted loss per common share as their effect was antidilutive. Common stock outstanding includes issued shares less shares held in treasury.

 8.           Cash flow information
 
Cash expenditures for interest and income taxes were as follows:

   
Three Months Ended
March 31,
 
   
2010
   
2009
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Interest, net of amount capitalized
  $ 25,159     $ 25,280  
Income taxes paid (refunded), net
  $ 5,424     $ (21,914 )

 9.           New accounting standards
 
Variable Interest Entities In June 2009, the FASB issued guidance related to variable interest entities which changes how a reporting entity determines when an entity that is insufficiently capitalized or is not controlled through voting rights should be consolidated and modifies the approach for determining the primary beneficiary of a variable interest entity. This guidance requires a reporting entity to provide additional disclosures about its involvement with variable interest entities and any significant changes in risk exposure due to that involvement. The guidance related to variable interest entities was effective for the Company on January 1, 2010. The adoption of this guidance did not have a material effect on the Company’s financial position or results of operations.

 
Improving Disclosure About Fair Value Measurements In January 2010, the FASB issued guidance related to improving disclosures about fair value measurements. The guidance requires separate disclosures of the amounts of transfers in and out of Level 1 and Level 2 fair value measurements and a description of the reason for such transfers. In the reconciliation for Level 3 fair value measurements using significant unobservable inputs, information about purchases, sales, issuances and settlements shall be presented separately. These disclosures are required for interim and annual reporting periods and were effective for the Company on January 1, 2010, except for the disclosures related to the purchases, sales, issuances and settlements in the roll forward activity of Level 3 fair value measurements, which are effective on January 1, 2011. The guidance requires additional disclosures but does not impact the Company’s financial position or results of operations.

 
Subsequent Events In February 2010, the FASB issued guidance amending certain recognition and disclosure requirements related to subsequent events. The guidance requires an entity that is an SEC filer to evaluate subsequent events through the date that the financial statements are issued. The guidance also removes the requirement to disclose the date through which subsequent events were evaluated. The guidance related to subsequent

 
12

 
 
 
events was effective for the Company in the first quarter of 2010. The adoption of this guidance did not impact the Company’s financial position or results of operations.

10.           Comprehensive income (loss)
 
Comprehensive income (loss) is the sum of net income (loss) as reported and other comprehensive income. The Company's other comprehensive income resulted from gains on derivative instruments qualifying as hedges and foreign currency translation adjustments. For more information on derivative instruments, see Note 13.

 
Comprehensive income (loss), and the components of other comprehensive income and related tax effects, were as follows:

   
Three Months Ended
 
   
March 31,
 
   
2010
   
2009
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Net income (loss)
  $ 41,772     $ (343,803 )
Other comprehensive income:
               
Net unrealized gain on derivative instruments qualifying as hedges:
               
Net unrealized gain on derivative instruments arising during the period, net of tax of $13,159 and $13,895 in 2010 and 2009, respectively
    21,471       22,671  
Less: Reclassification adjustment for gain (loss) on derivative instruments included in net income (loss), net of tax of $(573) and $7,464 in 2010 and 2009, respectively
    (934 )     12,178  
Net unrealized gain on derivative instruments qualifying as hedges
    22,405       10,493  
Foreign currency translation adjustment, net of tax of $(621) and $164 in 2010 and 2009, respectively
    (937 )     251  
      21,468       10,744  
Comprehensive income (loss)
  $ 63,240     $ (333,059 )

11.           Equity method investments
 
Investments in companies in which the Company has the ability to exercise significant influence over operating and financial policies are accounted for using the equity method. The Company's equity method investments at March 31, 2010, include the Brazilian Transmission Lines.

 
In August 2006, MDU Brasil acquired ownership interests in companies owning the Brazilian Transmission Lines. The interests involve the ENTE (13.3-percent ownership interest), ERTE (13.3-percent ownership interest) and ECTE (25-percent ownership interest) electric transmission lines, which are primarily in northeastern and southern Brazil.

 
In the fourth quarter of 2009, multiple sales agreements were signed with three separate parties for the Company to sell its ownership interests in the Brazilian Transmission Lines. This sale is pending regulatory approvals. One of the parties will purchase 15.6 percent of

 
13

 
 
 
the Company’s ownership interests over a four-year period. The other parties will purchase 84.4 percent of the Company’s ownership interests at the financial close of the transaction.

 
At March 31, 2010 and 2009, and December 31, 2009, the Company's equity method investments had total assets of $374.8 million, $295.3 million and $387.0 million, respectively, and long-term debt of $166.4 million, $153.9 million and $176.7 million, respectively. The Company's investment in its equity method investments was approximately $56.0 million, $45.4 million and $62.4 million, including undistributed earnings of $10.8 million, $8.4 million and $9.3 million, at March 31, 2010 and 2009, and December 31, 2009, respectively.

12.           Goodwill and other intangible assets
 
The changes in the carrying amount of goodwill were as follows:

   
Balance
   
Goodwill
   
Balance
 
   
as of
   
Acquired
   
as of
 
Three Months Ended
 
January 1,
   
During
   
March 31,
 
March 31, 2010
 
2010
   
the Year*
   
2010
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Electric
  $     $     $  
Natural gas distribution
    345,736             345,736  
Construction services
    100,127       2,743       102,870  
Pipeline and energy services
    7,857       1,880       9,737  
Natural gas and oil production
                 
Construction materials and contracting
    175,743       547       176,290  
Other
                 
Total
  $ 629,463     $ 5,170     $ 634,633  
* Includes purchase price adjustments that were not material related to acquisitions in a prior period.
 
                         
   
Balance
   
Goodwill
   
Balance
   
as of
   
Acquired
   
as of
Three Months Ended
 
January 1,
   
During
   
March 31,
March 31, 2009
    2009    
the Year*
      2009  
   
(In thousands)
Electric
  $     $     $  
Natural gas distribution
    344,952       296       345,248  
Construction services
    95,619       4,184       99,803  
Pipeline and energy services
    1,159             1,159  
Natural gas and oil production
                 
Construction materials and contracting
    174,005       1,351       175,356  
Other
                 
Total
  $ 615,735     $ 5,831     $ 621,566  
* Includes purchase price adjustments that were not material related to acquisitions in a prior period.


 
14

 
 
   
Balance
   
Goodwill
   
Balance
   
as of
   
Acquired
   
as of
Year Ended
 
January 1,
   
During the
   
December 31,
December 31, 2009
 
2009
   
Year*
   
2009
   
(In thousands)
Electric
  $     $     $  
Natural gas distribution
    344,952       784       345,736  
Construction services
    95,619       4,508       100,127  
Pipeline and energy services
    1,159       6,698       7,857  
Natural gas and oil production
                 
Construction materials and contracting
    174,005       1,738       175,743  
Other
                 
Total
  $ 615,735     $ 13,728     $ 629,463  
* Includes purchase price adjustments that were not material related to acquisitions in a prior period.

 
Other amortizable intangible assets were as follows:

   
March 31,
2010
   
March 31,
2009
   
December 31,
2009
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Customer relationships
  $ 24,942     $ 21,688     $ 24,942  
Accumulated amortization
    (10,093 )     (7,561 )     (9,500 )
      14,849       14,127       15,442  
Noncompete agreements
    9,405       9,792       12,377  
Accumulated amortization
    (5,755 )     (5,518 )     (6,675 )
      3,650       4,274       5,702  
Other
    11,368       10,668       10,859  
Accumulated amortization
    (3,255 )     (2,496 )     (3,026 )
      8,113       8,172       7,833  
Total
  $ 26,612     $ 26,573     $ 28,977  

 
Amortization expense for amortizable intangible assets for the three months ended March 31, 2010 and 2009, was $1.0 million and $1.4 million, respectively. Estimated amortization expense for amortizable intangible assets is $4.2 million in 2010, $3.8 million in 2011, $3.6 million in 2012, $3.2 million in 2013, $2.8 million in 2014 and $10.0 million thereafter.

13.
Derivative instruments
 
The Company's policy allows the use of derivative instruments as part of an overall energy price, foreign currency and interest rate risk management program to efficiently manage and minimize commodity price, foreign currency and interest rate risk. As of March 31, 2010, the Company had no outstanding foreign currency or interest rate hedges. The following information should be read in conjunction with Notes 1 and 7 in the Company's Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in the 2009 Annual Report.

 
Cascade and Intermountain
 
At March 31, 2010, Cascade held natural gas swap agreements, with total forward notional volumes of 6.3 million MMBtu, which were not designated as hedges. Cascade utilizes, and

 
15

 

 
Intermountain periodically utilizes, natural gas swap agreements to manage a portion of their regulated natural gas supply portfolios in order to manage fluctuations in the price of natural gas related to core customers in accordance with authority granted by the IPUC, WUTC and OPUC. Core customers consist of residential, commercial and smaller industrial customers. The fair value of the derivative instrument must be estimated as of the end of each reporting period and is recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheets as an asset or a liability. Cascade and Intermountain record periodic changes in the fair market value of the derivative instruments on the Consolidated Balance Sheets as a regulatory asset or a regulatory liability, and settlements of these arrangements are expected to be recovered through the purchased gas cost adjustment mechanism. Gains and losses on the settlements of these derivative instruments are recorded as a component of purchased natural gas sold on the Consolidated Statements of Income as they are recovered through the purchased gas cost adjustment mechanism. Under the terms of these arrangements, Cascade and Intermountain will either pay or receive settlement payments based on the difference between the fixed strike price and the monthly index price applicable to each contract. For the three months ended March 31, 2010, Cascade and Intermountain recorded the change in the fair market value of the derivative instruments of $5.1 million as a decrease to regulatory assets.

 
Certain of Cascade's derivative instruments contain credit-risk-related contingent features that permit the counterparties to require collateralization if Cascade's derivative liability positions exceed certain dollar thresholds. The dollar thresholds in certain of Cascade's agreements are determined and may fluctuate based on Cascade's credit rating on its debt. In addition, Cascade's and Intermountain's derivative instruments contain cross-default provisions that state if the entity fails to make payment with respect to certain of its indebtedness, in excess of specified amounts, the counterparties could require early settlement or termination of such entity's derivative instruments in liability positions. The aggregate fair value of Cascade's derivative instruments with credit-risk-related contingent features that are in a liability position at March 31, 2010, was $22.8 million. The aggregate fair value of assets that would have been needed to settle the instruments immediately if the credit-risk-related contingent features were triggered on March 31, 2010, was $22.8 million.

 
Fidelity
 
At March 31, 2010, Fidelity held natural gas swaps and collar agreements with total forward notional volumes of 30.8 million MMBtu, natural gas basis swaps with total forward notional volumes of 18.2 million MMBtu, and oil swaps and collar agreements with total forward notional volumes of 2.0 million Bbl, all of which were designated as cash flow hedging instruments. Fidelity utilizes these derivative instruments to manage a portion of the market risk associated with fluctuations in the price of natural gas and oil and basis differentials on its forecasted sales of natural gas and oil production.

 
The fair value of the derivative instruments must be estimated as of the end of each reporting period and is recorded on the Consolidated Balance Sheets as an asset or liability. Changes in the fair value attributable to the effective portion of hedging instruments, net of tax, are recorded in stockholders' equity as a component of accumulated other comprehensive income (loss). At the date the natural gas and oil quantities are settled, the amounts accumulated in other comprehensive income (loss) are reported in the Consolidated Statements of Income. To the extent that the hedges are not effective, the ineffective portion of the changes in fair market value is recorded directly in earnings. The proceeds received for natural gas and oil production are generally based on market prices.

 
16

 

 
For the three months ended March 31, 2010, and 2009, the amount of hedge ineffectiveness was immaterial, and there were no components of the derivative instruments’ gain or loss excluded from the assessment of hedge effectiveness. Gains and losses must be reclassified into earnings as a result of the discontinuance of cash flow hedges if it is probable that the original forecasted transactions will not occur. There were no such reclassifications into earnings as a result of the discontinuance of hedges.

 
Gains and losses on derivative instruments that are reclassified from accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) to current-period earnings are included in operating revenues on the Consolidated Statements of Income. For further information regarding the gains and losses on derivative instruments qualifying as cash flow hedges that were recognized in other comprehensive income (loss) and the gains and losses reclassified from accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) into earnings, see Note 10.

 
As of March 31, 2010, the maximum term of the swap and collar agreements, in which the exposure to the variability in future cash flows for forecasted transactions is being hedged, is 33 months. The Company estimates that over the next 12 months net gains of approximately $16.4 million (after tax) will be reclassified from accumulated other comprehensive income into earnings, subject to changes in natural gas and oil market prices, as the hedged transactions affect earnings.

 
Certain of Fidelity's derivative instruments contain cross-default provisions that state if Fidelity fails to make payment with respect to certain indebtedness, in excess of specified amounts, the counterparties could require early settlement or termination of derivative instruments in liability positions. The aggregate fair value of Fidelity's derivative instruments with credit-risk-related contingent features that are in a liability position at March 31, 2010, was $12.4 million. The aggregate fair value of assets that would have been needed to settle the instruments immediately if the credit-risk-related contingent features were triggered on March 31, 2010, was $12.4 million.

 
17

 

 
The location and fair value of all of the Company’s derivative instruments on the Consolidated Balance Sheets were as follows:

Asset
Derivatives
Location on
Consolidated
Balance Sheets
 
Fair Value at
March 31,
2010
   
Fair Value at
March 31,
2009
   
Fair Value at
December 31,
2009
 
     
(In thousands)
 
Designated as hedges
Commodity derivative instruments
  $ 38,146     $ 92,577     $ 7,761  
 
Other assets – noncurrent
    6,960       5,147       2,734  
        45,106       97,724       10,495  
Not designated as hedges
Commodity derivative instruments
                 
 
Other assets – noncurrent
                 
                     
Total asset derivatives
    $ 45,106     $ 97,724     $ 10,495  

Liability
Derivatives
Location on
Consolidated
Balance Sheets
 
Fair Value at
March 31,
2010
   
Fair Value at
March 31,
2009
   
Fair Value at
December 31,
2009
 
     
(In thousands)
 
Designated as hedges
Commodity derivative instruments
  $ 11,616     $ 788     $ 13,763  
 
Other liabilities – noncurrent
    759             114  
        12,375       788       13,877  
Not designated as hedges
Commodity derivative instruments
    20,712       57,274       23,144  
 
Other liabilities – noncurrent
    2,061       17,401       4,756  
        22,773       74,675       27,900  
Total liability derivatives
    $ 35,148     $ 75,463     $ 41,777  
Note: The fair value of the commodity derivative instruments not designated as hedges is presented net of collateral provided to the counterparties by Cascade of $22.0 million at March 31, 2009.
 

14.           Fair value measurements
 
The Company elected to measure its investments in certain fixed-income and equity securities at fair value with changes in fair value recognized in income. The Company anticipates using these investments to satisfy its obligations under its unfunded, nonqualified benefit plans for executive officers and certain key management employees, and invests in these fixed-income and equity securities for the purpose of earning investment returns and capital appreciation. These investments, which totaled $36.5 million, $25.8 million and $34.8 million, as of March 31, 2010 and 2009, and December 31, 2009, respectively, are classified as Investments on the Consolidated Balance Sheets. The increase

 
18

 
 
 
in the fair value of these investments for the three months ended March 31, 2010, was $1.7 million (before tax). The decrease in the fair value of these investments for the three months ended March 31, 2009, was $1.9 million (before tax). The change in fair value, which is considered part of the cost of the plan, is classified in operation and maintenance expense on the Consolidated Statements of Income. The Company did not elect the fair value option for its remaining available-for-sale securities, which are auction rate securities. The Company’s auction rate securities, which totaled $11.4 million at March 31, 2010 and 2009, and December 31, 2009, are accounted for as available-for-sale and are recorded at fair value. The fair value of the auction rate securities approximate cost and, as a result, there are no accumulated unrealized gains or losses recorded in accumulated other comprehensive income (loss) on the Consolidated Balance Sheets related to these investments.

 
Fair value is defined as the price that would be received to sell an asset or paid to transfer a liability (an exit price) in an orderly transaction between market participants at the measurement date. The ASC establishes a hierarchy for grouping assets and liabilities, based on the significance of inputs. The Company’s assets and liabilities measured at fair value on a recurring basis are as follows:

   
Fair Value Measurements at
March 31, 2010, Using
             
   
Quoted Prices in Active Markets for Identical Assets (Level 1)
   
Significant Other Observable Inputs (Level 2)
   
Significant Unobservable Inputs (Level 3)
   
Collateral Provided to Counterparties
   
Balance at March 31, 2010
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Assets:
                             
Money market funds
  $ 10,977     $ 65,000     $     $     $ 75,977  
Available-for-sale securities:
                                       
Fixed-income securities
    2,785       11,400                   14,185  
Equity securities
    6,689                         6,689  
Insurance contract*
          27,000                   27,000  
Commodity derivative instruments - current
          38,146                   38,146  
Commodity derivative instruments - noncurrent
          6,960                   6,960  
Total assets measured at fair value
  $ 20,451     $ 148,506     $     $     $ 168,957  
Liabilities:
                                       
Commodity derivative instruments - current
  $     $ 32,328     $     $     $ 32,328  
Commodity derivative instruments - noncurrent
          2,820                   2,820  
Total liabilities measured at fair value
  $     $ 35,148     $     $     $ 35,148  
* Invested in mutual funds.
 

 
19

 

   
Fair Value Measurements at
March 31, 2009, Using
             
   
Quoted Prices in Active Markets for Identical Assets (Level 1)
   
Significant Other Observable Inputs (Level 2)
   
Significant Unobservable Inputs (Level 3)
   
Collateral Provided to Counterparties
   
Balance at March 31, 2009
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Assets:
                             
Available-for-sale securities
  $ 25,822     $ 11,400     $     $     $ 37,222  
Commodity derivative instruments - current
          92,577                   92,577  
Commodity derivative instruments - noncurrent
          5,147                   5,147  
Total assets measured at fair value
  $ 25,822     $ 109,124     $     $     $ 134,946  
Liabilities:
                                       
Commodity derivative instruments - current
  $     $ 80,017     $     $ 21,955     $ 58,062  
Commodity derivative instruments - noncurrent
          17,401                   17,401  
Total liabilities measured at fair value
  $     $ 97,418     $     $ 21,955     $ 75,463  


   
Fair Value Measurements at
December 31, 2009, Using
             
   
Quoted Prices in Active Markets for Identical Assets (Level 1)
   
Significant Other Observable Inputs (Level 2)
   
Significant Unobservable Inputs (Level 3)
   
Collateral Provided to Counterparties
   
Balance at December 31, 2009
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Assets:
                             
Money market funds
  $ 9,124     $ 151,000     $     $     $ 160,124  
Available-for-sale securities
    9,078       37,141                   46,219  
Commodity derivative instruments - current
          7,761                   7,761  
Commodity derivative instruments - noncurrent
          2,734                   2,734  
Total assets measured at fair value
  $ 18,202     $ 198,636     $     $     $ 216,838  
Liabilities:
                                       
Commodity derivative instruments - current
  $     $ 36,907     $     $     $ 36,907  
Commodity derivative instruments - noncurrent
          4,870                   4,870  
Total liabilities measured at fair value
  $     $ 41,777     $     $     $ 41,777  

 
The estimated fair value of the Company’s Level 1 money market funds is determined using the market approach and is valued at the net asset value of shares held by the Company, based on published market quotations in active markets.

 
20

 

 
The estimated fair value of the Company’s Level 1 available-for-sale securities is determined using the market approach and is based on quoted market prices in active markets for identical equity and fixed-income securities.

 
The estimated fair value of the Company’s Level 2 money market funds and available-for-sale securities is determined using the market approach. The Level 2 money market funds consist of investments in short-term unsecured promissory notes and the value is based on comparable market transactions taking into consideration the credit quality of the issuer.  The estimated fair value of the Company’s Level 2 available for-sale securities is based on comparable market transactions.

 
The estimated fair value of the Company’s Level 2 commodity derivative instruments is based upon futures prices, volatility and time to maturity, among other things. Counterparty statements are utilized to determine the value of the commodity derivative instruments and are reviewed and corroborated using various methodologies and significant observable inputs. The nonperformance risk of the counterparties in addition to the Company’s nonperformance risk is also evaluated.

 
Though the Company believes the methods used to estimate fair value are consistent with those used by other market participants, the use of other methods or assumptions could result in a different estimate of fair value.

 
The Company’s long-term debt is not measured at fair value on the Consolidated Balance Sheets and the fair value is being provided for disclosure purposes only. The estimated fair value of the Company’s long-term debt was based on quoted market prices of the same or similar issues. The estimated fair value of the Company's long-term debt was as follows:

   
Carrying
   
Fair
 
   
Amount
   
Value
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Long-term debt at March 31, 2010
  $ 1,498,718     $ 1,586,765  
Long-term debt at December 31, 2009
  $ 1,499,306     $ 1,566,331  

 
The carrying amounts of the Company's remaining financial instruments included in current assets and current liabilities approximate their fair values.

15.           Business segment data
 
The Company’s reportable segments are those that are based on the Company’s method of internal reporting, which generally segregates the strategic business units due to differences in products, services and regulation. The vast majority of the Company’s operations are located within the United States. The Company also has investments in foreign countries, which largely consist of Centennial Resources’ equity method investment in the Brazilian Transmission Lines.

 
The electric segment generates, transmits and distributes electricity in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota and Wyoming. The natural gas distribution segment distributes natural gas in those states as well as in Idaho, Minnesota, Oregon and Washington. These operations also supply related value-added products and services.

 
21

 

 
The construction services segment specializes in constructing and maintaining electric and communication lines, gas pipelines, fire suppression systems, and external lighting and traffic signalization equipment. This segment also provides utility excavation services and inside electrical wiring, cabling and mechanical services, sells and distributes electrical materials, and manufactures and distributes specialty equipment.

 
The pipeline and energy services segment provides natural gas transportation, underground storage and gathering services through regulated and nonregulated pipeline systems primarily in the Rocky Mountain and northern Great Plains regions of the United States. This segment also provides cathodic protection and other energy-related services.

 
The natural gas and oil production segment is engaged in natural gas and oil acquisition, exploration, development and production activities in the Rocky Mountain and Mid-Continent regions of the United States and in and around the Gulf of Mexico.

 
The construction materials and contracting segment mines aggregates and markets crushed stone, sand, gravel and related construction materials, including ready-mixed concrete, cement, asphalt, liquid asphalt and other value-added products. It also performs integrated contracting services. This segment operates in the central, southern and western United States and Alaska and Hawaii.

 
The Other category includes the activities of Centennial Capital, which insures various types of risks as a captive insurer for certain of the Company’s subsidiaries. The function of the captive insurer is to fund the deductible layers of the insured companies’ general liability and automobile liability coverages. Centennial Capital also owns certain real and personal property. The Other category also includes Centennial Resources' equity method investment in the Brazilian Transmission Lines.

 
22

 

 
The information below follows the same accounting policies as described in Note 1 of the Company’s Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements in the 2009 Annual Report. Information on the Company's businesses was as follows:

   
External
   
Inter-
segment
   
Earnings
(Loss)
 
Three Months
 
Operating
   
Operating
   
on Common
 
Ended March 31, 2010
 
Revenues
   
Revenues
   
Stock
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Electric
  $ 49,696     $     $ 5,884  
Natural gas distribution
    349,026             23,344  
Pipeline and energy services
    61,523       27,086       8,791  
      460,245       27,086       38,019  
Construction services
    153,066       23       127  
Natural gas and oil production
    71,659       35,927       22,211  
Construction materials and contracting
    149,807             (20,137 )
Other
          2,238       1,380  
      374,532       38,188       3,581  
Intersegment eliminations
          (65,274 )      
Total
  $ 834,777     $     $ 41,600  
                         
                         
           
Inter-
         
   
External
   
segment
   
Earnings
 
Three Months
 
Operating
   
Operating
   
on Common
 
Ended March 31, 2009
 
Revenues
   
Revenues
   
Stock
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Electric
  $ 51,248     $     $ 5,066  
Natural gas distribution
    483,156             23,881  
Pipeline and energy services
    60,172       24,927       6,385  
      594,576       24,927       35,332  
Construction services
    244,798       31       8,634  
Natural gas and oil production
    71,158       34,964       (373,317 )
Construction materials and contracting
    183,473             (15,654 )
Other
          2,699       1,031  
      499,429       37,694       (379,306 )
Intersegment eliminations
          (62,621 )      
Total
  $ 1,094,005     $     $ (343,974 )

 
Earnings from electric, natural gas distribution and pipeline and energy services are substantially all from regulated operations. Earnings from construction services, natural gas and oil production, construction materials and contracting, and other are all from nonregulated operations.

 
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16.
Employee benefit plans
 
The Company has noncontributory defined benefit pension plans and other postretirement benefit plans for certain eligible employees. Components of net periodic benefit cost for the Company's pension and other postretirement benefit plans were as follows:

               
Other
 
               
Postretirement
 
Three Months
 
Pension Benefits
   
Benefits
 
Ended March 31,
 
2010
   
2009
   
2010
   
2009
 
   
(In thousands)
 
Components of net periodic benefit cost:
                       
Service cost
  $ 804     $ 2,097     $ 357     $ 440  
Interest cost
    4,926       5,529       1,277       1,195  
Expected return on assets
    (5,692 )     (6,857 )     (1,392 )     (1,273 )
Amortization of prior service cost (credit)
    38       151       (864 )     (568 )
Recognized net actuarial loss
    972       174       388       185  
Amortization of net transition obligation
                532       438  
Net periodic benefit cost, including amount capitalized
    1,048       1,094       298       417  
Less amount capitalized
    276       281       47       46  
Net periodic benefit cost
  $ 772     $ 813     $ 251     $ 371  

 
In 2009, the Company evaluated several provisions of its employee defined benefit plans for nonunion and certain union employees. As a result of this evaluation, the Company determined that, effective January 1, 2010, all benefit and service accruals of these plans were frozen. These employees are eligible to receive additional defined contribution plan benefits.

 
Effective January 1, 2010, eligibility to receive retiree medical benefits was modified at certain of the Company’s businesses. Current employees who attain age 55 with 10 years of continuous service by December 31, 2010, will be provided the current retiree medical insurance benefits or can elect the new benefit, if desired, regardless of when they retire. All other current employees must meet the new eligibility criteria of age 60 and 10 years of continuous service at the time they retire. These employees will be eligible for a specified company funded Retiree Reimbursement Account. Employees hired after December 31, 2009, are not eligible for retiree medical benefits. 

 
In addition to the qualified plan defined pension benefits reflected in the table, the Company has an unfunded, nonqualified benefit plan for executive officers and certain key management employees that generally provides for defined benefit payments at age 65 following the employee’s retirement or to their beneficiaries upon death for a 15-year period. The Company's net periodic benefit cost for this plan for the three months ended March 31, 2010 and 2009, was $2.1 million.

17.           Regulatory matters and revenues subject to refund
 
In November 2006, Montana-Dakota filed an application with the NDPSC requesting an advance determination of prudence of Montana-Dakota's ownership interest in Big Stone Station II. In August 2008, the NDPSC approved Montana-Dakota’s request for advance determination of prudence for ownership in the proposed Big Stone Station II for a

 
24

 

 
minimum of 121.8 MW up to a maximum of 133 MW and a proportionate ownership share of the associated transmission electric resources. The intervenors in the proceeding appealed the NDPSC order to the North Dakota District Court which affirmed the order of the NDPSC. The intervenors then appealed the North Dakota District Court order to the North Dakota Supreme Court. The Big Stone Station II participants subsequently decided not to proceed with the project and in December 2009, Montana-Dakota filed an application with the NDPSC for a determination that Montana-Dakota’s continued participation in the Big Stone Station II is no longer prudent. The parties have stipulated that the intervenors will move to dismiss their appeal to the North Dakota Supreme Court if the NDPSC grants Montana-Dakota’s pending application for a determination that its participation in the Big Stone Station II is no longer prudent. In December 2009, Montana-Dakota filed applications with the NDPSC, SDPUC, and MTPSC for authority to defer the costs incurred for securing new electric generation, primarily Big Stone Station II, until the next general rate case. The SDPUC and the MTPSC approved Montana-Dakota’s applications on February 11, 2010, and April 6, 2010, respectively. On April 14, 2010, Montana-Dakota and the NDPSC Advocacy Staff filed a settlement agreement with the NDPSC. The settlement agreement provides for the recovery of approximately $10.2 million, including carrying charges, of the North Dakota allocated costs associated with the Big Stone Station II over a three-year period beginning June 1, 2010. A hearing on the settlement agreement before the NDPSC is scheduled for May 5, 2010.
 
 
 
In August 2009, Montana-Dakota filed an application with the WYPSC for an electric rate increase. Montana-Dakota requested a total increase of $6.2 million annually or approximately 31 percent above current rates. The rate increase request was necessitated by Montana-Dakota’s purchase of an ownership interest in Wygen III. On January 14, 2010, Montana-Dakota filed a supplement to the application to reflect the inclusion of bonus tax depreciation on Wygen III, reducing its request to a $5.1 million annual increase or approximately 25 percent above current rates. A hearing was held February 23 through February 25, 2010. A stipulation and agreement between Montana-Dakota and the Wyoming Office of Consumer Advocate was filed with the WYPSC on March 5, 2010, that provides a $3.3 million annual increase to be phased-in over a three-year period beginning May 1, 2010. The WYPSC held a hearing on the stipulation on March 22, 2010, and held additional deliberations on April 14, 2010, wherein the WYPSC decided on each issue in the case and Montana-Dakota was directed to file a compliance filing. Montana-Dakota submitted the compliance filing on April 23, 2010, reflecting an increase of $2.7 million annually or approximately 13.1 percent. On April 27, 2010, the WYPSC approved the compliance filing with rates effective May 1, 2010.

 
On April 19, 2010, Montana-Dakota filed an application with the NDPSC for an electric rate increase. Montana-Dakota requested a total increase of $15.4 million annually or approximately 14 percent above current rates. The requested increase includes the investment in infrastructure upgrades, recovery of the investment in renewable generation and the costs associated with Big Stone Station II. If resolution of a proposed alternate recovery mechanism pending before the NDPSC is approved for the Big Stone Station II plant costs, those costs will be withdrawn from the proceeding. Montana-Dakota requested an interim increase of $7.6 million annually to be effective within sixty days.

 
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18.           Contingencies
Litigation
 
Coalbed Natural Gas Operations Fidelity’s CBNG operations are and have been the subject of numerous lawsuits in Montana and Wyoming. The current cases involve the permitting and use of water produced in connection with Fidelity’s CBNG development in the Powder River Basin. Some of these cases challenge the issuance of discharge permits by the Montana DEQ and approval of other water management tools by the MBOGC.

 
In April 2006, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe filed a complaint in Montana Twenty-Second Judicial District Court against the Montana DEQ seeking to set aside Fidelity’s renewed direct discharge and treatment permits. The Northern Cheyenne Tribe claimed the Montana DEQ violated the Clean Water Act and the Montana Water Quality Act by failing to include in the permits conditions requiring application of the best practicable control technology currently available and by failing to impose a nondegradation policy like the one the BER adopted soon after the permit was issued. In addition, the Northern Cheyenne Tribe claimed that the actions of the Montana DEQ violated the Montana State Constitution’s guarantee of a clean and healthful environment, that the Montana DEQ’s related environmental assessment was invalid, that the Montana DEQ was required, but failed, to prepare an EIS and that the Montana DEQ failed to consider other alternatives to the issuance of the permits. Fidelity, the NPRC, and the TRWUA were granted leave to intervene in this proceeding. In January 2009, the Montana Twenty-Second Judicial District Court decided the case in favor of Fidelity and the Montana DEQ in all respects, denying the motions of the Northern Cheyenne Tribe, TRWUA, and NPRC, and granting the cross-motions of the Montana DEQ and Fidelity in their entirety. As a result, Fidelity may continue to utilize its direct discharge and treatment permits. The NPRC, the TRWUA and the Northern Cheyenne Tribe appealed the decision to the Montana Supreme Court in March 2009.

 
Fidelity’s discharge of water pursuant to its two permits is its primary means for managing CBNG-produced water. Fidelity believes that its discharge permits should, assuming normal operating conditions, allow Fidelity to continue its existing CBNG operations through the expiration of the permits in March 2011. If its permits are set aside, Fidelity’s CBNG operations in Montana could be significantly and adversely affected.

 
In October 2003, Tongue & Yellowstone Irrigation District, NPRC and MEIC filed a lawsuit in Montana First Judicial District Court challenging the MBOGC’s ROD adopting the 2003 Final EIS which analyzed CBNG development in the State of Montana. The primary legal issue before the court was whether the ROD authorized the “wasting” of ground water in violation of the Montana State Constitution and the public trust doctrine. Specifically, the plaintiffs contended that various water management tools, including Fidelity’s direct discharge permits, allowed for the waste of water. On March 5, 2010, the Montana First Judicial District Court issued an order holding that Fidelity’s direct discharge permits did not violate the Montana State Constitution. On March 15, 2010, the NPRC filed a motion to amend the order with respect to the court’s conclusion that the disposal of CBNG water by evaporation is not a beneficial use of water and, to the extent the ROD authorized evaporation pits, the ROD is unconstitutional. Fidelity does not use evaporation pits as a tool to dispose of CBNG water. On April 26, 2010, the court issued a revised order stating that the authorization of evaporation pits in the ROD violates the Montana State Constitution. Once judgment is entered, the parties will have 60 days to appeal to the Montana Supreme Court. Should the Montana Supreme Court determine the permits violate

 
26

 

 
the Montana State Constitution, Fidelity’s Montana CBNG operations could be significantly and adversely affected.

 
Fidelity will continue to vigorously defend its interests in all CBNG-related litigation in which it is involved. If the plaintiffs are successful in these lawsuits, the ultimate outcome of the actions could adversely impact Fidelity’s existing CBNG operations and/or the future development of this resource in the affected regions.

 
Electric Operations In June 2008, the Sierra Club filed a complaint in the South Dakota Federal District Court against Montana-Dakota and the two other co-owners of the Big Stone Station. The complaint alleged certain violations of the PSD and NSPS provisions of the Clean Air Act and certain violation of the South Dakota SIP. The action further alleged that the Big Stone Station was modified and operated without obtaining the appropriate permits, without meeting certain emissions limits and NSPS requirements and without installing appropriate emission control technology, all allegedly in violation of the Clean Air Act and the South Dakota SIP. The Sierra Club alleged that these actions contributed to air pollution and visibility impairment and have increased the risk of adverse health effects and environmental damage. The Sierra Club sought declaratory and injunctive relief to bring the co-owners of the Big Stone Station into compliance with the Clean Air Act and the South Dakota SIP and to require them to remedy the alleged violations. The Sierra Club also sought unspecified civil penalties, including a beneficial mitigation project. The Company believes the claims are without merit and that Big Stone Station has been and is being operated in compliance with the Clean Air Act and the South Dakota SIP. In March 2009, the District Court granted the motion of the co-owners to dismiss the complaint. The Sierra Club filed a motion requesting the District Court to reconsider its ruling on a portion of the order dismissing the complaint which was denied on July 22, 2009. On July 30, 2009, the Sierra Club appealed from the orders dismissing the case and denying the motion for reconsideration to the United States Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The United States has filed a brief as amicus curiae supporting the Sierra Club’s position in the appeal and the State of South Dakota filed a brief as amicus curiae supporting the Big Stone Station owners’ position in the appeal. Oral argument on the appeal is scheduled for May 11, 2010.

 
Construction Materials LTM is a third-party defendant in litigation pending in Oregon Circuit Court regarding the concrete floors in an industrial food processing facility located in Jackson County, Oregon. The complaint against the facility construction contractor alleges the concrete floors of the facility are defective and must be removed and replaced for suitable repair. Damages, including disruption of the food processing operations, have been estimated by the plaintiff to be approximately $26.5 million. The construction contractor’s answer and third-party complaint alleges the owner and third-party defendants, including LTM which supplied the concrete, are primarily responsible for any defects in the concrete surfaces. Discovery is currently being conducted by the parties. A trial date has not been set.

 
The Company also is involved in other legal actions in the ordinary course of its business. Although the outcomes of any such legal actions cannot be predicted, management believes that the outcomes with respect to these other legal proceedings will not have a material adverse effect upon the Company’s financial position or results of operations.

 
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Environmental matters
 
Portland Harbor Site In December 2000, MBI was named by the EPA as a PRP in connection with the cleanup of a riverbed site adjacent to a commercial property site acquired by MBI from Georgia-Pacific West, Inc. in 1999. The riverbed site is part of the Portland, Oregon, Harbor Superfund Site. The EPA wants responsible parties to share in the cleanup of sediment contamination in the Willamette River. To date, costs of the overall remedial investigation and feasibility study of the harbor site are being recorded, and initially paid, through an administrative consent order by the LWG, a group of several entities, which does not include MBI or Georgia-Pacific West, Inc. Investigative costs are indicated to be in excess of $70 million. It is not possible to estimate the cost of a corrective action plan until the remedial investigation and feasibility study have been completed, the EPA has decided on a strategy and a ROD has been published. Corrective action will be taken after the development of a proposed plan and ROD on the harbor site is issued. MBI also received notice in January 2008 that the Portland Harbor Natural Resource Trustee Council intends to perform an injury assessment to natural resources resulting from the release of hazardous substances at the Harbor Superfund Site. The Trustee Council indicates the injury determination is appropriate to facilitate early settlement of damages and restoration for natural resource injuries. It is not possible to estimate the costs of natural resource damages until an assessment is completed and allocations are undertaken.

 
Based upon a review of the Portland Harbor sediment contamination evaluation by the Oregon DEQ and other information available, MBI does not believe it is a Responsible Party. In addition, MBI has notified Georgia-Pacific West, Inc., that it intends to seek indemnity for liabilities incurred in relation to the above matters pursuant to the terms of their sale agreement. MBI has entered into an agreement tolling the statute of limitations in connection with the LWG’s potential claim for contribution to the costs of the remedial investigation and feasibility study. By letter in March 2009, LWG stated its intent to file suit against MBI and others to recover LWG’s investigation costs to the extent MBI cannot demonstrate its non-liability for the contamination or is unwilling to participate in an alternative dispute resolution process that has been established to address the matter. At this time, MBI has agreed to participate in the alternative dispute resolution process.

 
The Company believes it is not probable that it will incur any material environmental remediation costs or damages in relation to the above referenced administrative action.

 
Manufactured Gas Plant Sites There are three claims against Cascade for cleanup of environmental contamination at manufactured gas plant sites operated by Cascade’s predecessors.

 
The first claim is for soil and groundwater contamination at a site in Oregon and was received in 1995. There are PRPs in addition to Cascade that may be liable for cleanup of the contamination. Some of these PRPs have shared in the investigation costs. It is expected that these and other PRPs will share in the cleanup costs. Several alternatives for cleanup have been identified, with preliminary cost estimates ranging from approximately $500,000 to $11.0 million. An ecological risk assessment draft report was submitted to the Oregon DEQ in June 2009. The assessment showed no unacceptable risk to the aquatic ecological receptors present in the shoreline along the site and concluded that no further ecological investigation is necessary. The report is being reviewed by the Oregon DEQ. It is anticipated the Oregon DEQ will recommend a cleanup alternative for the site after it

 
28

 

 
completes its review of the report. It is not known at this time what share of the cleanup costs will actually be borne by Cascade.

 
The second claim is for contamination at a site in Washington and was received in 1997. A preliminary investigation has found soil and groundwater at the site contain contaminants requiring further investigation and cleanup. EPA conducted a Targeted Brownfields Assessment of the site and released a report summarizing the results of that assessment in August 2009. The assessment confirms that contaminants have affected soil and groundwater at the site, as well as sediments in the adjacent Port Washington Narrows. Alternative remediation options have been identified with preliminary cost estimates ranging from $340,000 to $6.4 million. Data developed through the assessment and previous investigations indicates the contamination likely derived from multiple, different sources and multiple current and former owners of properties and businesses in the vicinity of the site may be responsible for the contamination. Cascade received notice in April 2010, that the Washington Department of Ecology has determined that Cascade is a PRP for release of hazardous substances at the manufactured gas plant site. Cascade has reserved $6.4 million for remediation of this site. On April 9, 2010, Cascade filed a petition with the WUTC for authority to defer the costs, which are included in other noncurrent assets, incurred in relation to the environmental remediation of this site until the next general rate case.

 
The third claim is also for contamination at a site in Washington. Cascade received notice from a party in May 2008 that Cascade may be a PRP, along with other parties, for contamination from a manufactured gas plant owned by Cascade’s predecessor from about 1946 to 1962. The notice indicates that current estimates to complete investigation and cleanup of the site exceed $8.0 million. There is currently not enough information available to estimate the potential liability to Cascade associated with this claim.

 
To the extent these claims are not covered by insurance, Cascade will seek recovery through the OPUC and WUTC of remediation costs in its natural gas rates charged to customers.

 
Guarantees
 
In connection with the sale of MPX in June 2005 to Petrobras, an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of the Company has agreed to indemnify Petrobras for 49 percent of any losses that Petrobras may incur from certain contingent liabilities specified in the purchase agreement. Centennial has agreed to unconditionally guarantee payment of the indemnity obligations to Petrobras for periods ranging up to five and a half years from the date of sale. The guarantee was required by Petrobras as a condition to closing the sale of MPX.

 
Centennial guaranteed CEM's obligations under a construction contract with LPP for a 550-MW combined-cycle electric generating facility near Hobbs, New Mexico. Centennial Resources sold CEM in July 2007 to Bicent Power LLC, which provided a $10 million bank letter of credit to Centennial in support of the guarantee obligation. In February 2009, Centennial received a Notice and Demand from LPP under the guaranty agreement alleging that CEM did not meet certain of its obligations under the construction contract and demanding that Centennial indemnify LPP against all losses, damages, claims, costs, charges and expenses arising from CEM’s alleged failures. In December 2009, LPP submitted a demand for arbitration of its dispute with CEM to the American Arbitration Association. The demand seeks compensatory damages of $146 million plus damages for increased operating, capital and construction costs related to a water treatment facility for

 
29

 

 
the generating facility. LPP’s notice of demand for arbitration also demanded performance of the guarantee by Centennial. The Company believes the indemnification claims against Centennial are without merit and intends to vigorously defend against such claims.

 
In connection with the pending sale of the Brazilian Transmission Lines, as discussed in Note 11, Centennial has agreed to guarantee the performance of certain of the Company’s indirect wholly owned subsidiaries in three purchase and sale agreements. Centennial has agreed to unconditionally guarantee payment of the indemnity obligations of the wholly owned subsidiary sellers for periods ranging up to 10 years from the date of sale. The guarantees were required by the buyers as a condition to the sale of the Brazilian Transmission Lines.

 
In addition, WBI Holdings has guaranteed certain of Fidelity’s natural gas and oil swap and collar agreement obligations. There is no fixed maximum amount guaranteed in relation to the natural gas and oil swap and collar agreements as the amount of the obligation is dependent upon natural gas and oil commodity prices. The amount of hedging activity entered into by the subsidiary is limited by corporate policy. The guarantees of the natural gas and oil swap and collar agreements at March 31, 2010, expire in the years ranging from 2010 to 2011; however, Fidelity continues to enter into additional hedging activities and, as a result, WBI Holdings from time to time may issue additional guarantees on these hedging obligations. Fidelity had $700,000 outstanding under these agreements, which was reflected on the Consolidated Balance Sheet, at March 31, 2010. In the event Fidelity defaults under its obligations, WBI Holdings would be required to make payments under its guarantees.

 
Certain subsidiaries of the Company have outstanding guarantees to third parties that guarantee the performance of other subsidiaries of the Company. These guarantees are related to construction contracts, natural gas transportation and sales agreements, gathering contracts, a conditional purchase agreement and certain other guarantees. At March 31, 2010, the fixed maximum amounts guaranteed under these agreements aggregated $235.1 million. The amounts of scheduled expiration of the maximum amounts guaranteed under these agreements aggregate $9.7 million in 2010; $197.9 million in 2011; $17.6 million in 2012; $1.2 million in 2013; $200,000 in 2014; $1.0 million in 2018; $300,000 in 2019; $3.2 million, which is subject to expiration on a specified number of days after the receipt of written notice; and $4.0 million, which has no scheduled maturity date. The amount outstanding by subsidiaries of the Company under the above guarantees was $500,000 and was reflected on the Consolidated Balance Sheet at March 31, 2010. In the event of default under these guarantee obligations, the subsidiary issuing the guarantee for that particular obligation would be required to make payments under its guarantee.

 
Certain subsidiaries have outstanding letters of credit to third parties related to insurance policies, materials obligations, natural gas transportation agreements and other agreements that guarantee the performance of other subsidiaries of the Company. At March 31, 2010, the fixed maximum amounts guaranteed under these letters of credit, aggregated $33.0 million. In 2010 and 2011, $26.0 million and $7.0 million, respectively, of letters of credit are scheduled to expire. There were no amounts outstanding under the above letters of credit at March 31, 2010.

 
WBI Holdings has an outstanding guarantee to Williston Basin. This guarantee is related to a natural gas transportation and storage agreement that guarantees the performance of

 
30

 

 
Prairielands. At March 31, 2010, the fixed maximum amount guaranteed under this agreement aggregated $5.0 million and is scheduled to expire in 2011. In the event of Prairielands’ default in its payment obligations, WBI Holdings would be required to make payment under its guarantee. The amount outstanding by Prairielands under the above guarantee was $1.5 million. The amount outstanding under this guarantee was not reflected on the Consolidated Balance Sheet at March 31, 2010, because this intercompany transaction was eliminated in consolidation.

 
In addition, Centennial and Knife River have issued guarantees to third parties related to the Company’s routine purchase of maintenance items, materials and lease obligations for which no fixed maximum amounts have been specified. These guarantees have no scheduled maturity date. In the event a subsidiary of the Company defaults under its obligation in relation to the purchase of certain maintenance items, materials or lease obligations, Centennial or Knife River would be required to make payments under these guarantees. Any amounts outstanding by subsidiaries of the Company for these maintenance items and materials were reflected on the Consolidated Balance Sheet at March 31, 2010.

 
In the normal course of business, Centennial has purchased surety bonds related to construction contracts and reclamation obligations of its subsidiaries. In the event a subsidiary of Centennial does not fulfill a bonded obligation, Centennial would be responsible to the surety bond company for completion of the bonded contract or obligation. A large portion of the surety bonds is expected to expire within the next 12 months; however, Centennial will likely continue to enter into surety bonds for its subsidiaries in the future. As of March 31, 2010, approximately $605 million of surety bonds were outstanding, which were not reflected on the Consolidated Balance Sheet.

19.           Subsequent events
 
On April 29, 2010, Fidelity completed the acquisition of natural gas properties located in the Green River Basin in southwest Wyoming, with an October 1, 2009, effective date. The acquisition includes the purchase of 63 Bcfe of proven reserves. The purchase price for these properties was approximately $113 million, subject to accounting and purchase price adjustments customary with acquisitions of this type.

 
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ITEM 2. MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS

OVERVIEW
The Company’s strategy is to apply its expertise in energy and transportation infrastructure industries to increase market share, increase profitability and enhance shareholder value through:

 
·
Organic growth as well as a continued disciplined approach to the acquisition of well-managed companies and properties
 
·
The elimination of system-wide cost redundancies through increased focus on integration of operations and standardization and consolidation of various support services and functions across companies within the organization
 
·
The development of projects that are accretive to earnings per share and return on invested capital

The Company has capabilities to fund its growth and operations through various sources, including internally generated funds, commercial paper facilities and the issuance from time to time of debt and equity securities. In the event that access to the commercial paper markets were to become unavailable, the Company may need to borrow under its credit agreements. For more information on the Company’s net capital expenditures, see Liquidity and Capital Commitments.

The key strategies for each of the Company’s business segments and certain related business challenges are summarized below. For a summary of the Company's business segments, see Note 15.

Key Strategies and Challenges
Electric and Natural Gas Distribution
Strategy Provide competitively priced energy to customers while working with them to ensure efficient usage. Both the electric and natural gas distribution segments continually seek opportunities for growth and expansion of their customer base through extensions of existing operations, including electric generation with a diverse resource mix including wind, and transmission build-out, and through selected acquisitions of companies and properties at prices that will provide stable cash flows and an opportunity for the Company to earn a competitive return on investment.

Challenges Both segments are subject to extensive regulation in the state jurisdictions where they conduct operations with respect to costs and permitted returns on investment as well as subject to certain operational regulations at the federal level. The ability of these segments to grow through acquisitions is subject to significant competition from other energy providers. In addition, the ability of both segments to grow service territory and customer base is affected by the economic environment of the markets served and competition from other energy providers and fuels. The construction of electric generating facilities and transmission lines may be subject to increasing cost and lead time, extensive permitting procedures, and federal and state legislative and regulatory initiatives, which may necessitate increases in electric energy prices. Legislative and regulatory initiatives to increase renewable energy resources and reduce GHG emissions could increase the price and decrease the retail demand for electricity and natural gas.

 
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Construction Services
Strategy Provide a competitive return on investment while operating in a competitive industry by: building new and strengthening existing customer relationships; effectively controlling costs; retaining, developing and recruiting talented employees; focusing business development efforts on project areas that will permit higher margins; and properly managing risk. This segment continuously seeks opportunities to expand through strategic acquisitions.

Challenges This segment operates in highly competitive markets with many jobs subject to competitive bidding. Maintenance of effective operational and cost controls, retention of key personnel, managing through downturns in the economy and effective management of working capital are ongoing challenges.

Pipeline and Energy Services
Strategy Utilize the segment’s existing expertise in energy infrastructure and related services to increase market share and profitability through optimization of existing operations, internal growth, and acquisitions of energy-related assets and companies. Incremental and new growth opportunities include: access to new sources of natural gas for storage, gathering and transportation services; expansion of existing gathering, transmission and storage facilities; expansion of related energy services; and incremental expansion of pipeline capacity to allow customers access to more liquid and higher-priced markets.

Challenges Challenges for this segment include: energy price volatility; natural gas basis differentials; regulatory requirements; recruitment and retention of a skilled workforce; and competition from other natural gas pipeline and gathering companies.

Natural Gas and Oil Production
Strategy Apply technology and utilize existing exploration and production expertise, with a focus on operated properties, to increase production and reserves from existing leaseholds, and to seek additional reserves and production opportunities both in new and existing areas to further expand the segment’s asset base. By optimizing existing operations and taking advantage of new and incremental growth opportunities, this segment’s goal is to increase both production and reserves over the long term so as to generate competitive returns on investment.

Challenges Volatility in natural gas and oil prices; ongoing environmental litigation and administrative proceedings; timely receipt of necessary permits and approvals; recruitment and retention of a skilled workforce; availability of drilling rigs, materials, auxiliary equipment and industry-related field services, and inflationary pressure on development and operating costs, all primarily in a higher price environment; and competition from other natural gas and oil companies are ongoing challenges for this segment.

Construction Materials and Contracting
Strategy Focus on high-growth strategic markets located near major transportation corridors and desirable mid-sized metropolitan areas; strengthen long-term, strategic aggregate reserve position through purchase and/or lease opportunities; enhance profitability through cost containment, margin discipline and vertical integration of the segment’s operations; and continue growth through organic and acquisition opportunities. Ongoing efforts to increase margin are being pursued through the implementation of a variety of continuous improvement programs, including corporate purchasing of equipment, parts and commodities (liquid asphalt, diesel fuel, cement and other materials), and negotiation of contract price escalation provisions. Vertical integration allows the segment to manage operations from aggregate mining to final lay-down of concrete and asphalt, with control of and access to adequate quantities of permitted aggregate reserves being significant. A key element of the

 
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Company’s long-term strategy for this business is to further expand its presence, through acquisition, in the higher-margin materials business (rock, sand, gravel, liquid asphalt, ready-mixed concrete and related products), complementing and expanding on the Company’s expertise.

Challenges The economic downturn has adversely impacted operations, particularly in the private market. This business unit expects to continue cost containment efforts and a greater emphasis on industrial, energy and public works projects. Significant volatility in the cost of raw materials such as diesel, gasoline, liquid asphalt, cement and steel continue to be a concern. Increased competition in certain construction markets has also lowered margins.

For further information on the risks and challenges the Company faces as it pursues its growth strategies and other factors that should be considered for a better understanding of the Company’s financial condition, see Part II, Item 1A – Risk Factors, as well as Part I, Item 1A – Risk Factors in the 2009 Annual Report. For further information on each segment’s key growth strategies, projections and certain assumptions, see Prospective Information. For information pertinent to various commitments and contingencies, see Notes to Consolidated Financial Statements.

Earnings Overview
The following table summarizes the contribution to consolidated earnings by each of the Company's businesses.

   
Three Months Ended
 
   
March 31,
 
   
2010
   
2009
 
(Dollars in millions, where applicable)
 
Electric
  $ 5.9     $ 5.1  
Natural gas distribution
    23.3       23.9  
Construction services
    .1       8.6  
Pipeline and energy services
    8.8       6.4  
Natural gas and oil production
    22.2       (373.3 )
Construction materials and contracting
    (20.1 )     (15.7 )
Other
    1.4       1.0  
Earnings (loss) on common stock
  $ 41.6     $ (344.0 )
Earnings (loss) per common share – basic
  $ .22     $ (1.87 )
Earnings (loss) per common share – diluted
  $ .22     $ (1.87 )
Return on average common equity for the 12 months ended
    10.5 %     (4.5 )%

Three Months Ended March 31, 2010 and 2009 Consolidated earnings for the quarter ended March 31, 2010, increased $385.6 million from the comparable prior period largely due to:

·  
Absence of the 2009 noncash write-down of natural gas and oil properties of $384.4 million (after tax), higher average realized oil prices, as well as lower depreciation, depletion and amortization expense, partially offset by decreased natural gas production and lower average realized natural gas prices at the natural gas and oil production business
·  
Higher storage services revenue and lower operation and maintenance expense, partially offset by lower gathering volumes at the pipeline and energy services business

 
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Partially offsetting these increases were:
 
·  
Lower constru