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Why Is MDU Resources (MDU) Down 5.3% Since Last Earnings Report?

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It has been about a month since the last earnings report for MDU Resources (MDU - Free Report) . Shares have lost about 5.3% in that time frame, outperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent negative trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is MDU Resources due for a breakout? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at its most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

MDU Resources Q4 Earnings Miss Estimates, Sales Rise Y/Y

MDU Resources Group Inc.reported fourth-quarter 2021 operating earnings per share (EPS) of 42 cents, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 55 cents by 23.6%. The bottom line narrowed 25% from the year-ago earnings of 56 cents per share. MDU Resources’ 2021 EPS were $1.87, down 4.1% from $1.95 in 2020.

Total Revenues

Total revenues came in at $1,443.1million, up 4.18% from $1,385.2 million in the year-ago quarter.

Operating revenues in the electric, natural gas distribution and regulated pipeline improved 18.8% from the prior-year quarter’s level to $450.3 million. Revenues in the non-regulated pipeline, construction materials and contracting, construction services and other segments slid 1.3% from the year-ago quarter’s level to $992.8 million.

Highlights of the Release

Total operating expenses for the fourth quarter amounted to $1,320.9 million, up 6.6% from the year-ago quarter’s $1,239.3 million, due to an increase in operation and maintenance expenses by 1.3% along with the higher manufacturing cost.

Operating income for the reported quarter was down 16.2% year over year to $122.2 million.

MDU Resources’ interest expenses of $23.8 million were up 1.7% from $23.4 million in the prior-year quarter.

As of Dec 31, 2021, the construction services business had a backlog of $1.38 billion compared with $1.27 billion on Dec 31, 2020.

As of Dec 31, 2021, the construction materials business had a backlog of $708 million, up from $673 million year over year.

Financial Highlights

Cash and cash equivalents as of Dec 31, 2021, were $54.2 million compared with $59.6 million at the 2020 end.

Total debt amounted to $2,742 million as of Dec 31, 2021, compared with $2,263 million on Dec 31, 2020.

MDU Resources’ net cash provided by operating activities was $495.8 million in 2021, down 35.5%, compared with $768.4 million in 2020.


MDU Resources initiated 2022 earnings guidance in the range of $2.00-$2.15 per share. This estimate is based on several assumptions, of which worth mentioning are normal weather and continued addition to the electric and natural gas customer base at a 1-2% rate annually.

In the long term, the utility reiterated EPS to grow 5-8% on an annual basis.

MDU Resources plans to invest $726 million in 2022 and $3,044 million for five years from 2022 to 2026.Capital spending was associated with a focus on infrastructure development, grid safety, reliability and resiliency


How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

Analysts were quiet during the last two month period as none of them issued any earnings estimate revisions.

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