SOURCE: Westar Energy, Inc.

Westar Energy, Inc.

February 25, 2010 16:30 ET

Westar Energy Announces 2009 Results

TOPEKA, KS--(Marketwire - February 25, 2010) - Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) today announced earnings for 2009 were $174 million, or $1.58 per share, compared with earnings of $177 million, or $1.69 per share for 2008. Earnings for both years include substantial federal tax benefits related to prior period activity. Setting aside those benefits, 2009 earnings would have been $140 million, or $1.28 per share, compared with 2008 earnings of $138 million, or $1.32 per share.

Following is a reconciliation of GAAP to ongoing (non-GAAP) earnings per share:

                                             Twelve Months Ended
                                       ---------------------------------
                                       Dec. 31, 2009       Dec. 31, 2008
                                       -------------       -------------
Basic earnings per share               $        1.58       $        1.69
Less: adjustment for tax benefits               0.30                0.37
                                       -------------       -------------
Ongoing (non-GAAP) earnings per share  $        1.28       $        1.32
                                       =============       =============

Fourth quarter earnings were $11 million, or $0.10 per share, compared with earnings of $23 million, or $0.21 per share, for the fourth quarter 2008.

Per share results for both fourth quarter and full year 2009 reflect more shares outstanding as a result of the company having issued shares to fund capital investments.

The decrease in 2009 earnings was due primarily to lower energy sales, lower average wholesale energy prices and higher income tax expense. Retail energy sales decreased 4 percent due principally to unusually mild summer weather and lower industrial sales, which were depressed by the recession. Industrial energy sales were 11 percent lower than 2008.

Other factors that reduced earnings in 2009 included higher O&M and depreciation expense associated primarily with increased investments for wind and peaking generation, emission controls and transmission facilities. Higher interest expense also reduced earnings. In addition the company took a $0.04 per share charge related to the proposed settlement of litigation stemming from alleged violations of EPA regulations.

Partially offsetting the items that reduced 2009 earnings were authorized price increases to reflect investments in wind and peaking generation, emission controls and new transmission facilities.

Earnings Guidance

The company announced earnings guidance for 2010 of $1.65 to $1.80 per share. The company has posted to its Web site a summary of factors it considers to be principal drivers and adjustments used in arriving at 2010 earnings guidance. The summary is located under Investor Presentations within the Investors section of the company Web site at www.WestarEnergy.com.

Conference Call and Additional Company Information

Westar Energy management will host a conference call Friday, Feb. 26 with the investment community at 10 a.m. ET (9 a.m. CT). Investors, media and the public may listen to the conference call by dialing 888-680-0892, participant code 53188848. A Web cast of the live conference call will be available at www.WestarEnergy.com.

Members of media are invited to listen to the conference call and then contact Karla Olsen with any follow-up questions.

This earnings announcement, a package of detailed year end and fourth quarter 2009 financial information, the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the period ended Dec. 31, 2009 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission Feb. 25, 2010, and other filings the company has made with the Securities and Exchange Commission are available on the company's Web site at www.WestarEnergy.com.

Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) is the largest electric utility in Kansas, providing electric service to about 685,000 customers in the state. Westar Energy has about 6,800 megawatts of electric generation capacity and operates and coordinates more than 35,000 miles of electric distribution and transmission lines.

For more information about Westar Energy, visit us on the Internet at http://www.WestarEnergy.com.

Westar Energy, Inc. has presented ongoing (non-GAAP) earnings per share in this release and believes this information allows investors to more accurately compare the company's ongoing performance across periods.

Forward-looking statements: Certain matters discussed in this news release are "forward-looking statements." The Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 has established that these statements qualify for safe harbors from liability. Forward-looking statements may include words like "believe," "anticipate," "target," "expect," "pro forma," "estimate," "intend," "guidance" or words of similar meaning. Forward-looking statements describe future plans, objectives, expectations or goals. Although Westar Energy believes that its expectations are based on reasonable assumptions, all forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainty. Therefore, actual results could vary materially from what we expect. Please review our Form 10-K for the period ended Dec. 31, 2009 for important risk factors that could cause results to differ materially from those in any such forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statement speaks only as of the date such statement was made, and the company does not undertake any obligation to update any forward-looking statement to reflect events or circumstances after the date on which such statement was made except as required by applicable laws or regulations.

Attachment 1
                            WESTAR ENERGY, INC.
                    CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME
                                (UNAUDITED)
                 (IN THOUSANDS, EXCEPT PER SHARE AMOUNTS)


                                                 Three Months Ended
                                                     December 31,
                                             2009       2008       Change
                                           ---------  ---------  ---------

Retail                                     $ 316,880  $ 266,234  $  50,646
Wholesale                                     86,490    108,319    (21,829)
Energy marketing                                (280)     1,982     (2,262)
Other                                         37,028     29,562      7,466
                                           ---------  ---------  ---------
  Total Revenues                           $ 440,118  $ 406,097  $  34,021

Fuel and purchased power                     132,242    136,405     (4,163)
Operating and maintenance                    124,658    117,182      7,476
Depreciation and amortization                 64,990     53,272     11,718
Selling, general and administrative           56,421     47,712      8,709
                                           ---------  ---------  ---------
  Total Operating Expenses                   378,311    354,571     23,740
                                           ---------  ---------  ---------

  Income from Operations                      61,807     51,526     10,281

Other (expense) income                          (103)    (4,994)     4,891
Interest expense                              40,591     33,530      7,061
Income tax expense (benefit)                  10,496     (9,872)    20,368
                                           ---------  ---------  ---------

  Income from Continuing Operations           10,617     22,874    (12,257)

Results of discontinued operations, net of
 tax                                             767          -        767
                                           ---------  ---------  ---------

  Net Income                                  11,384     22,874    (11,490)
Preferred dividends                              242        242          -
                                           ---------  ---------  ---------

  Net Income Attributable to Common Stock  $  11,142  $  22,632  $ (11,490)
                                           =========  =========  =========

  Basic Earnings Per Share                 $    0.10  $    0.21  $   (0.11)
                                           =========  =========  =========

Average equivalent common shares
 outstanding                                 109,960    108,863

  Dividends declared per share             $    0.30  $    0.29  $    0.01



                                                 Twelve Months Ended
                                                     December 31,
                                             2009        2008      Change
                                           ---------- ---------- ---------

Retail                                     $1,379,981 $1,287,712 $  92,269
Wholesale                                     308,269    413,809  (105,540)
Energy marketing                               15,440     14,521       919
Other                                         154,541    122,954    31,587
                                           ---------- ---------- ---------
  Total Revenues                           $1,858,231 $1,838,996 $  19,235

Fuel and purchased power                      534,864    694,348  (159,484)
Operating and maintenance                     516,930    471,838    45,092
Depreciation and amortization                 251,534    203,738    47,796
Selling, general and administrative           199,961    184,427    15,534
                                           ---------- ---------- ---------
  Total Operating Expenses                  1,503,289  1,554,351   (51,062)
                                           ---------- ---------- ---------

  Income from Operations                      354,942    284,645    70,297

Other (expense) income                          2,598      3,881    (1,283)
Interest expense                              157,360    106,450    50,910
Income tax expense (benefit)                   58,850      3,936    54,914
                                           ---------- ---------- ---------

  Income from Continuing Operations           141,330    178,140   (36,810)

Results of discontinued operations, net of
 tax                                           33,745          -    33,745
                                           ---------- ---------- ---------

  Net Income                                  175,075    178,140    (3,065)
Preferred dividends                               970        970         -
                                           ---------- ---------- ---------

  Net Income Attributable to Common Stock  $  174,105 $  177,170 $  (3,065)
                                           ========== ========== =========

  Basic Earnings Per Share                 $     1.58 $     1.69 $   (0.11)
                                           ========== ========== =========

Average equivalent common shares
 outstanding                                  109,648    103,958

  Dividends declared per share             $     1.20 $     1.16 $    0.04