Unitil Beats Q4 Earnings Ests, Misses Rev - Analyst Blog

By
A A A
Share |

Unitil Corporation ( UTL ) reported fourth-quarter 2013 earnings of 75 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 9 cents. Quarterly earnings jumped 13.6% year over year on the heels of higher natural gas and electricity sales margins. The positives were partially offset by increased utility operating costs.

For 2013, Unitil reported earnings of $1.57 per share compared with $1.43 per share in 2012.

Operational Highlights

In the fourth quarter, Unitil Corporation posted total operating revenues of $109.8 million, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate by $0.2 million. Quarterly revenues however climbed 11.1% year over year due to a 13.2% rise in the company's Electric segment sales and a 9.7% rise in the company's Gas segment revenues. Unitil Corporation's Other segment reported flat revenues year over year.

In 2013, operating revenue was $366.9 million, up almost 4.0% year over year.

Operation and maintenance expenses increased 0.3% and depreciation, amortization, taxes & other expenses climbed 1.5% in the quarter year over year.

Total electricity sales volume was up 0.1% year over year to 387.1 million kilowatt-hours due to a rise in residential consumption, partly offset by a fall in commercial consumption.

Total gas sales volume increased 11.2% to 53.7 million therm from 48.3 million therm a year ago. The improvement in sales was primarily driven by a rise in commercial/industrial gas sales and a higher customer count.

Financial Update

Unitil Corporation's cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 31, 2013, were $9.4 million versus $9.8 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

Long-term debt (less current portion) as of Dec 31, 2013, was $284.8 million compared with $287.3 million as of Dec 31, 2012.

During 2013, cash provided by operating activities was $96.3 million versus $66.7 million in the previous year.

The company invested $89.5 million during 2013 under its capital spending program.

Dividend Update

At the earnings call, Unitil Corporation announced that it will pay a regular quarterly dividend of 34.5 cents per share on the company's common stock. On an annualized basis, the dividend rate stands at $1.38 per share.

Peer Comparison

American Electric Power Company Inc. ( AEP ) reported fourth-quarter 2013 operating earnings of 60 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 56 cents by 7.1%. The quarterly figure also improved 20% from the year-ago profit of 50 cents.

Zacks Rank

Unitil Corporation currently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). However, other stocks from the industry that are worth considering include NRG Yield, Inc. ( NYLD ) and National Grid plc ( NGG ), each with a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).



AMER ELEC PWR (AEP): Free Stock Analysis Report

NATL GRID -ADR (NGG): Free Stock Analysis Report

NRG YIELD INC-A (NYLD): Free Stock Analysis Report

UNITIL CORP (UTL): Free Stock Analysis Report

To read this article on Zacks.com click here.

Zacks Investment Research



The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.



This article appears in: Investing , Business , Earnings , Stocks

Referenced Stocks: AEP , NGG , NYLD , UTL

Zacks.com

Zacks.com

More from Zacks.com:

Related Videos

Stocks

Referenced

Most Active by Volume

152,099,280
  • $16.13 ▼ 1.59%
76,450,549
  • $59.72 ▲ 1.07%
57,375,391
  • $36.35 ▲ 6.26%
50,140,425
  • $26.93 ▲ 0.60%
49,201,544
  • $3.17 ▲ 2.59%
39,533,031
  • $86.18 ▲ 1.33%
36,760,050
  • $13.42 ▲ 2.84%
33,109,047
  • $26.12 ▲ 1.16%
As of 4/16/2014, 04:05 PM