SOURCE: Westar Energy, Inc.

Westar Energy, Inc.

February 24, 2011 17:00 ET

Westar Energy Announces 2010 Results

TOPEKA, KS--(Marketwire - February 24, 2011) - Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) today announced earnings for 2010 were $203 million, or $1.81 per share, compared with earnings of $174 million, or $1.58 per share for 2009. Earnings for 2009 included a substantial federal tax benefit related to prior period activity from discontinued operations. Setting aside this benefit, 2009 earnings would have been $140 million, or $1.28 per share.

                                                      Twelve Months Ended
                                                      Dec. 31,   Dec. 31,
                                                        2010       2009
                                                     ---------- ----------
     Basic earnings per share                        $     1.81 $     1.58
     Less: adjustment for tax benefits                       --       0.30
                                                     ---------- ----------
     Earnings per share from continuing operations   $     1.81 $     1.28
                                                     ========== ==========

Fourth quarter earnings were $5 million, or $0.04 per share, compared with earnings of $11 million, or $0.10 per share, for the fourth quarter 2009.

Per share results for both fourth quarter and full year 2010 reflect more shares outstanding as a result of the company having issued shares to fund capital investments.

Income from continuing operations for 2010 increased $67 million compared with the same period last year, due principally to higher retail revenues due primarily to a 6 percent increase in kilowatt-hour sales as a result of warmer weather and economic recovery in certain industrial sectors. The higher revenues were offset in part by increased operating, interest and income tax expenses.

Earnings Guidance

The company announced earnings guidance for 2011 of $1.65 to $1.80 per share. The company has posted to its website a summary of factors it considers to be principal drivers and adjustments used in arriving at earnings guidance. The summary is located under Supplemental Materials within the Investors section of the company website at www.WestarEnergy.com.

Conference Call and Additional Company Information

Westar Energy management will host a conference call Friday, Feb. 25 with the investment community at 10:00 a.m. ET (9:00 a.m. CT). Investors, media and the public may listen to the conference call by dialing 866-770-7129, participant code 88510369. A webcast of the live conference call will be available at www.WestarEnergy.com.

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

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

Westar Energy, Inc. (NYSE: WR) is the largest electric utility in Kansas, providing electric service to about 687,000 customers in the state. Westar Energy has about 6,800 megawatts of electric generation capacity and operates and coordinates more than 34,000 miles of electric distribution and transmission lines.

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

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. The factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from these forward-looking statements include those discussed herein as well as (1) those discussed in the company's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended Dec. 31, 2010 (a) under the heading, "Forward-Looking Statements," (b) in ITEM 1. Business, (c) in ITEM 1A. Risk Factors, (d) in ITEM 7. Management's Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations, and (e) in ITEM 8. Financial Statements and Supplementary Data: Notes 13 and 15; and (2) other factors discussed in the company's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. 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.

Attachment 1

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

                  Three Months Ended             Twelve Months Ended
                      December 31,                   December 31,
                2010      2009    Change      2010       2009      Change
              --------  --------  -------  ----------  ---------- --------

Retail        $332,524  $316,880  $15,644  $1,538,785  $1,379,981 $158,804
Wholesale       78,804    86,490   (7,686)    334,669     308,269   26,400
Transmission    36,016    31,548    4,468     144,513     132,450   12,063
Other            9,379     5,200    4,179      38,204      37,531      673
              --------  --------  -------  ----------  ---------- --------
  Total
   Revenues    456,723  $440,118   16,605   2,056,171   1,858,231  197,940

Fuel and
 purchased
 power         124,568   132,242   (7,674)    583,361     534,864   48,497
Operating and
 maintenance   150,825   124,658   26,167     520,409     516,930    3,479
Depreciation
 and
 amortization   69,982    64,990    4,992     271,937     251,534   20,403
Selling,
 general and
 administrative 63,108    56,421    6,687     207,607     199,961    7,646
              --------  --------  -------  ----------  ---------- --------
  Total
   Operating
   Expenses    408,483   378,311   30,172   1,583,314   1,503,289   80,025
              --------  --------  -------  ----------  ---------- --------

  Income from
   Operations   48,240    61,807  (13,567)    472,857     354,942  117,915

Other (expense)
 income           (358)     (103)    (255)     (4,260)      2,598   (6,858)
Interest
 expense        43,080    40,591    2,489     174,941     157,360   17,581
Income tax
 expense        (1,748)   10,496  (12,244)     85,032      58,850   26,182
              --------  --------  -------  ----------  ---------- --------

  Income from
   Continuing
   Operations    6,550    10,617   (4,067)    208,624     141,330   67,294

Results of
 discontinued
 operations,
 net of tax         --       767     (767)         --      33,745  (33,745)
              --------  --------  -------  ----------  ---------- --------

 Net Income      6,550    11,384   (4,834)    208,624     175,075   33,549
Less: Net
 income
 attributable to
 noncontrolling
 interests       1,389        --    1,389       4,728          --    4,728
              --------  --------  -------  ----------  ---------- --------
  Net income
   attributable
   to Westar
   Energy        5,161    11,384   (6,223)    203,896     175,075   28,821
Preferred
 dividends         242       242       --         970         970       --
              --------  --------  -------  ----------  ---------- --------

  Net Income
   Attributable
   to Common
   Stock      $  4,919  $ 11,142  $(6,223) $  202,926  $  174,105 $ 28,821
              ========  ========  =======  ==========  ========== ========

Basic Earnings
 Per Share:
  Earnings
   available
   from
   continuing
   operations $   0.04  $   0.09  $ (0.05) $     1.81  $     1.28 $   0.53
  Discontinued
   operations,
   net of tax       --      0.01    (0.01)         --        0.30    (0.30)
              --------  --------  -------  ----------  ---------- --------
  Earnings per
   common
   share      $   0.04  $   0.10  $ (0.06) $     1.81  $     1.58 $   0.23
              ========  ========  =======  ==========  ========== ========

Average
 equivalent
 common shares
 outstanding   112,348   109,960    2,388     111,629     109,648    1,981

 Dividends
  declared
  per share   $   0.31  $   0.30  $  0.01  $     1.24  $     1.20 $   0.04