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Constellation lost $583.6M in 4Q

Constellation Energy Group Inc., on the day it is set to learn whether it has earned key approval from state regulators for its planned acquisition by Exelon Corp., reported a $583.6 million loss for the last quarter of 2011.

The Baltimore-based company had a $159.8 million profit in the fourth quarter of 2010. The company had adjusted earnings per share of 5 cents compared with 42 cents for the same period a year earlier and the 63-cent median estimate of five analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

Constellation cited lower power prices in unregulated markets and losses at its NewEnergy subsidiary, a retail electricity provider to commercial, industrial and institutional customers throughout the United States.

Constellation recorded pretax impairment charges of $891 million because of the declining value of ownership in interests including its Constellation Energy Nuclear Group joint venture, the Baltimore-based company said. The utility recorded a loss at its NewEnergy unit in part because of “extreme weather” in Texas. The company’s merger with Exelon Corp. is on schedule to close in the first quarter.

Revenue was $2.95 billion compared with $3.5 billion revenue in the fourth quarter of 2010.

“We closed the year having met our goal to grow our national retail customer base, integrate newly acquired generation assets and deliver a diverse and innovative portfolio of energy products and services designed to help our customers make more efficient use of energy,” said Constellation CEO Mayo A. Shattuck III, in a statement.

On Friday, Constellation was set to learn how the Maryland Public Service Commission will rule in its pending $7.9 billion merger with Chicago-based Exelon.

The deal already has the blessing of Gov. Martin O’Malley, who secured new concessions from the companies in December. If approved, the deal would then need only the approval of the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission signed off on the deal on Thursday.

The company did not hold an investor conference call, citing the pending merger.

Shares of Constellation dipped slightly to $36.47, down 20-cents at 10:43 a.m. in New York Stock Exchange trading.