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CMS chief predicts improved results for 2002

HOUSTON, Feb. 4 — CMS Energy Corp. Monday reported a 2001 fourth quarter loss of $17 million or 13à‚¢/share on warmer-than-usual weather and higher electricity costs.

That was compared to fourth quarter 2000 net income of $94 million or 79à‚¢/share. CMS shares were down 1.43% to $22.75 in late afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

The company affirmed its 2002 outlook of $2-$2.05/share, excluding uncertainty over developments in Argentina. The 2002 consensus earnings estimate among analysts polled by Thomson Financial/First Call is $1.99/share.

For the year 2001, the Dearborn, Mich., company reported a loss of $185 million or $1.4/share or $185 million, compared to 2000 net income of $246 million or $2.21/share. For the year 2001, operating income of CMS Energy’s nonutility, diversified energy businesses before reconciling items was $512 million, up 13% from $453 million in 2000. Operating income of these businesses during the fourth quarter totaled $84 million, or 30% lower than the $120 million recorded in the same period in 2000.

CEO William T. McCormick said 2001 entailed significant financial and strategic restructuring that “greatly” improved the focus of the company and positioned it for future growth.

Excluding $393 million in write-downs, independent power production operating income for 2001 was $125 million. Energy marketing, services, and trading operating income for 2001 was $71 million, up from $14 million in 2000, due to increased long-term power sales contracts and wholesale gas and power trading activity.

Operating income of the natural gas transmission business for the year, excluding write-downs of $63 million, was $227 million, unchanged from $227 million the previous year. Operating income of CMS Energy’s principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy, excluding $143 million of write-downs, totaled $454 million in 2001, down from $579 million in 2000.

Electric sales for the year totaled 40 billion kw-hr, down 3.5% from the previous year. Natural gas deliveries were 367 bcf, down 10.4% from 2000.