Williams sees strong 2001 earnings

Williams, Tulsa, said Tuesday that expanding earnings capacity in marketing and trading combined with the growth of its other energy businesses should enable it to meet or exceed Wall Street's 2001 estimates of $1.26/share for consolidated and $1.73/share for energy-only results.


Williams, Tulsa, said Tuesday that expanding earnings capacity in marketing and trading combined with the growth of its other energy businesses should enable it to meet or exceed Wall Street's 2001 estimates of $1.26/share for consolidated and $1.73/share for energy-only results.

Keith E. Bailey, chairman, president, and CEO, said: "What 2000 made clear is that we have successfully transformed our energy business to take greater advantage of opportunities that exist in unregulated or lightly regulated parts of the industry," Bailey said. "This now represents the majority of our income growth potential, even in light of the strong and continued improving performance of our natural gas pipeline group."

Williams Gas Pipeline, the nation's second largest, provides storage services and delivers 17-20% of the country's daily demand for natural gas.

Bailey said, "The shift toward higher growth potential lines of business, of course, brings with it the chance for greater volatility in our financial results.

"Our proprietary trading investments are generating exceptional returns through record structured deal flow�highlighting our ability to capture value across nearly every energy market," Bailey said. "We've built our base business to the point where we believe it will generate a solid and sustainable level of earnings from which to grow our trading portfolio. It should also be the fastest growing part of our mix of energy businesses."

Steve Malcolm, president and chief executive officer of Williams Energy Services, said he believes the marketing and trading company, "can generate a minimum of $500 million/year in segment profit under most market conditions. And, if we achieve our growth goals for our power portfolio, we have the potential to significantly exceed that level of performance."

Pending board approval later this month, Bailey said he expects the 2001 capital budget to be approximately $2.4 billion for energy and $2.2 billion for communications.

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