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MDU Resources Group Assesses Third Quarter

MDU Resources Group announced preliminary unaudited financial results for the third quarter of 2011. The company expects to report third quarter earnings in the range of 33 cents to 35 cents per share, near the midpoint of the guidance provided in August.

“We are pleased with the performance of our businesses in a challenging economy, which highlights the value of our diversified business model,” said President and CEO Terry D. Hildestad. “We have maintained our financial strength. Our balance sheet is strong; we have significant liquidity and a good credit rating, are generating strong cash flows and pay a competitive dividend.

“We are focused on growth, and have identified a number of projects throughout our businesses that we believe will generate earnings, cash flows and additional value for our shareholders,” he said. “We are increasing liquids as a percentage of overall production at our natural gas and oil production business. The company is on pace to increase the number of rigs deployed from two at the beginning of 2011 to six by year end, with a target of 10 rigs deployed by the end of 2012. Our drilling programs, including both development and exploratory wells, are on schedule in our Bakken, Niobrara, Heath, Paradox, Big Horn and South Texas properties.

“Our construction businesses have taken aggressive actions to reduce their cost structure, which positions them for margin and earnings expansion,” Hildestad said. “Near-term these businesses have demonstrated tremendous flexibility and adaptability to remain solidly profitable in a difficult economy, and they have shown the potential for significantly higher earnings in stronger economic times.”

Hildestad reported that the company's construction businesses did not see measurable improvement in private sector construction activity for the quarter compared to last year. “In addition, our construction materials business was impacted by the Minnesota government's shutdown during the quarter which temporarily suspended public projects,” he said.