CenterPoint Energy Inc.
) has increased its quarterly dividend to share more benefits
with its shareholders, as it did in January 2012. The company
increased its dividend by 2.5%, bringing the annualized dividend
to 83 cents per share from the previous payout of 81 cents per
share. The increment reflects the company's commitment towards
its shareholders and its ability to deliver sustainable earnings
and cash flow.
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Following the hike, the company will now pay a quarterly dividend
of 20.75 cents compared to its previous payout of 20.25 cents.
The dividend will be paid on Mar 8, 2013, to shareholders of
record as of the close of business on Feb 15, 2013.
The company has been able to increase its dividend for the eighth
consecutive year. Last January, the company had increased its
quarterly dividend by 2.5% to 20.25 cents per share.
CenterPoint Energy with its balanced portfolio of electric and
natural gas businesses provides a diversified risk profile, along
with stable earnings and cash flow. The company believes that in
the near term it requires cash to fulfill its dividend payment,
capital expenditure requirements and interest payments on debt.
It believes that the capital expenditures will maintain
reliability and safety as well as help in expanding the systems
through value-added projects.
Going forward, key growth drivers for the company include stable
regulated operations, higher rates, ongoing infrastructure
development projects and a strong balance sheet.
However, the positives are partially offset by some pending
regulatory cases including the outcome of the Texas rate case,
the tepid economy, lower demand for electricity, falling
wholesale natural gas prices and a significant presence in a
hurricane prone section of the U.S. CenterPoint Energy has a
short-term Zacks Rank #3 (Hold rating) in view of the continued
weak economic environment in the U.S. which will weigh on the
company's power sales. In the near term, we would advise
investors to focus on its Zacks Rank #1 (short-term Strong Buy
rating) peers like
Integrys Energy Group, Inc.
Pike Electric Corporation
CenterPoint Energy is expected to release its earnings on Feb 27,
2013. The Zacks Consensus Estimates for the fourth quarter 2012
and full year 2012 are currently at 21 cents per share and $1.19
per share, respectively.
Based in Houston, Texas, CenterPoint Energy is a domestic energy
delivery company that includes electric transmission &
distribution, natural gas distribution, competitive natural gas
sales and services, interstate pipelines, and field services
operations. The company serves more than five million metered
customers primarily in Arkansas, Louisiana, Minnesota,
Mississippi, Oklahoma and Texas.