Middlesex Water Company MSEX reported fourth-quarter 2014 earnings of 22 cents per share, up 15.8% from 19 cents a year ago primarily on the back of higher revenues.
In 2014, the company’s earnings came in at $1.13 per share, ahead of the prior-year figure of $1.03 by 10 cents.
In the quarter under review, Middlesex Water’s operating revenues increased 2.5% to $28.1 million from $27.42 million a year ago.
Annual operating revenues stood at $117.14 million compared with $114.85 million in the prior-year quarter. The 2% year-over-year improvement in revenues was primarily driven by higher contribution from the company’s Tidewater Utilities system. This was however partially offset by a decline in Middlesex System revenues.
Annual Highlights of the Release
In 2014, Middlesex Water’s total operating expenses decreased 1.3% year over year to $82.7 million primarily due to lower operations and maintenance expenses.
Operating income in the year came in at $34.4 million, up 11% from around $31 million a year ago.
The company incurred $5.6 million as interest charges in 2014, down from $5.8 million in the year ago quarter.
As of Dec 31, 2014, Middlesex Water’s cash and cash equivalents were $2.67 million versus $4.83 million as of Dec 31, 2013.
Long-term debt as of Dec 31, 2014 was $136.04 million compared with $129.8 million as of Dec 31, 2013.
Cash flow from operating activities came in at $32.6 million in 2014 compared with $33.8 million a year ago.
In 2014, the company invested around $22.6 million as capital expenditure, up from $20.08 million a year ago.
A Glance at its Peers
American Water Works Company, Inc. AWK reported fourth-quarter 2014 adjusted earnings from continuing operations of 52 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny.
Aqua America Inc. WTR reported fourth-quarter 2014 earnings per share of 28 cents, a penny higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
Middlesex Water currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). A better-ranked stock in the same sector is Connecticut Water Service Inc. CTWS with a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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