Aqua America Inc. (WTR - Free Report) reported third-quarter 2018 earnings per share (EPS) of 44 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 43 cents by 2.33%. The figure also improved 2.33% from 43 cents in the year-ago quarter.
The year-over-year improvement can be attributed to favourable rates, consumption and regulated growth.
During the quarter, revenues amounted to $226.1 million, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $232 million by 2.5%. Nevertheless, revenues were up 5.2% year over year. The upside can be attributed to rate activity, driven by additional revenues from infrastructure surcharge mechanisms and growth in the regulated customer base.
Highlights of the Release
Aqua America, to provide significant opportunities for infrastructure investment and growth, announced the acquisition of Peoples , a Pittsburgh-based natural gas utility with more than 740,000 customers.
The company completed the acquisition of Peotone, Illinois’ water and wastewater systems with nearly 3,000 customers. It signed two additional municipal acquisitions that added nearly 6,000 new customers for a total of nearly 33,000 new customers.
Operation and maintenance expenses increased 2.8% year over year to $68.6 million.
Interest expenses increased 13.4% to $25.4 million from $22.4 million in the year-ago quarter.
Current assets were $149.3 million as of Sep 30, 2018, up from $131.2 million on Dec 31, 2017.
Long-term debt was $2,226.5 million as of Sep 30, 2018, higher than $2,007.7 million on Dec 31, 2017.
Aqua America narrowed the top range of its 2018 earnings guidance. Currently, the guidance range is $1.40-$1.42 per share, up from the previous range of $1.37-$1.42.
It expects customer base to expand 2-3% in 2018. The company plans to invest $500 million in 2018. This is part of the investment plan of nearly $1.4 billion through 2020.
Other Water-Utility Releases
American Water Works Company (AWK - Free Report) posted third-quarter 2018 earnings per share of $1.20, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.16 by 3.5%.
American States Water (AWR - Free Report) posted third-quarter 2018 earnings per share of $0.62, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.60 per share by 3.3%.
Middlesex Water (MSEX - Free Report) reported third-quarter 2018 earnings per share of $0.74, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $0.65 per share by 13.8%.
Currently, Aqua America carries a Zacks Rank #4 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.
Today's Stocks from Zacks' Hottest Strategies
It's hard to believe, even for us at Zacks. But while the market gained +21.9% in 2017, our top stock-picking screens have returned +115.0%, +109.3%, +104.9%, +98.6%, and +67.1%.
And this outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. Over the years it has been remarkably consistent. From 2000 - 2017, the composite yearly average gain for these strategies has beaten the market more than 19X over. Maybe even more remarkable is the fact that we're willing to share their latest stocks with you without cost or obligation.
See Them Free>>