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CMS Energy's Unit to Invest $250M in Michigan's Businesses

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CMS Energy Corporation’s (CMS - Free Report) principal subsidiary, Consumers Energy recently announced that it will invest approximately $250 million to boost small businesses in Michigan over the next two and a half years, under the Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) initiative.

About PMBC

The Pure Michigan Business Connect (PMBC) developed by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) began as a multi-billion dollar public/private initiative in 2011. The initiative aims at connecting Michigan goods and service suppliers with corporate purchasers free of charge.

Our View

We note that, being one of the founding members of PMBC, Consumers Energy has already spent approximately $2.9 billion with Michigan businesses under the initiative since June 2015. CMS Energy’s robust financial commitment toward the PMBC program not only reflects the solid financial flexibility it boasts but also is a testament to the company’s focus on expanding its business across Michigan.

Moreover, PMBC’s commitment to generate new jobs is in line with the company’s aim of stimulating economic growth in the state. This in turn will aid small businesses to flourish.

We believe CMS Energy aims at expanding customer base by boosting the small businesses. Indeed if business expansion takes place in the state, need for energy consumption will rise and CMS Energy being the largest energy provider in Michigan will surely benefit from that.

As of 2015, Michigan is ranked 11th among the U.S. states in terms of energy consumption and with gradual growth in economy, the energy consumption is likely to grow. To tap this expanding market, energy providers like CMS Energy are taking varied initiatives to instil growth in the state and consequently enhance their business.

Toward this, another utility provider, DTE Energy Company (DTE - Free Report) has recently commenced operations in its Lapeer solar park — one of the largest utility-owned solar parks, located in Michigan. On completion, the park is expected to generate sufficient clean energy to power 11,000 homes. (Read more : DTE Energy (DTE - Free Report) Brings Lapeer Solar Park Online in Michigan.)

Price Movement

CMS Energy has outperformed the industry in the last 12 months. The company’s shares have gained 19.4% compared with the industry’s growth of 13.3%.

The company’s ongoing capital investments to strengthen infrastructure and initiatives to lower operation and maintenance expenses are driving its performance.

Zacks Rank & Key Picks

CMS Energy carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Better-ranked stocks from the same space include NRG Energy, Inc. (NRG - Free Report) that sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) and CenterPoint Energy, Inc. (CNP - Free Report) that carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

NRG Energy delivered an average surprise of 457.1% in the trailing four quarters. Its 2017 estimates have risen by 15.9% to 73 cents per share in the last 90 days.

CenterPoint Energydelivered an average surprise of 2.2% in the trailing four quarters. Its 2017 estimates have risen by 1.6% to $1.31 per share in the last 90 days.

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