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MDU Resources' (MDU) Viesko Acquisition to Expand Business

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MDU Resources Group, Inc. (MDU - Free Report) announced the acquisition of OR-based Viesko Redi-Mix, a ready-mix concrete supplier, which will enhance Knife River Corporation’s operations in Oregon. Also, the move will enable the expansion of Knife River into the growing markets of north Willamette Valley and Portland Metro.

Acquisition Strategy

The company is undertaking acquisitions to expand the operation of the construction materials subsidiary, Knife River. Since April 2018, this is the sixth acquisition that is aimed at expanding footprint.

In the fourth quarter of 2018, the Construction Materials business contributed 38% to total revenues. Moreover, in the fourth quarter, the construction materials business had a backlog of $706 million, up 45% from the prior-year quarter’s figure. The increase in backlog can be attributed to rise in construction projects based on customer demand. We expect the acquisitions and increasing backlogs to further boost earnings and revenues in the Construction Materials business.

What Lies Ahead?

MDU Resources believes that the overall economic growth and infrastructure spending will drive demand for construction materials and services. The company announced its long-term capital investment plan to spend $2.6 billion through the 2019-2023 period. It expects to spend 27.5% of the planned investment toward the construction materials and services segment. These investments and business expansions through acquisitions are likely to boost the Construction Materials business and will increase reliability of services.

Price Performance


In the past 12 months, the company’s shares have gained 3.25%.

 Zacks Rank & Key Picks

MDU Resources currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

Some better-ranked stocks from the same sector are Xcel Energy Inc (XEL - Free Report) , Spire Inc (SR - Free Report) and FirstEnergy Corporation (FE - Free Report) . All the three stocks carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Xcel Energy delivered average positive earnings surprise of 5.09% in the last four quarters. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings inched up 0.4% to $2.62 per share in the past 60 days.

Spire pulled off average positive earnings surprise of 10.55% in the last four quarters. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings inched up 0.8% to $3.74 per share in the past 60 days.

FirstEnergy came up with average positive earnings surprise of 4.10% in the last four quarters. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings inched up 0.4% to $2.55 per share in the past 60 days.

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