MDU Resources Group Inc. ( MDU Quick Quote MDU - Free Report) delivered fourth-quarter 2019 operating earnings of 47 cents per share, which increased 20.5% from the year-ago quarter’s level. The upside was driven by exceptional performance of all business lines. In 2019, the company posted operating earnings of $1.69 per share compared with $1.39 in 2018. Total Revenues Total revenues in the fourth quarter were $1,378.2 million, up 14% from $1,209.9 million in the year-ago quarter. Operating revenues in the electric, natural gas distribution and regulated pipeline as well as the midstream segments increased 9% to $394 million. Revenues in the non-regulated pipeline and midstream, construction materials and contracting, construction services and other segments increased 16% to $984.2 million. In 2019, the company generated revenues of $5,336.8 million compared with $4,531.6 million in 2018.
Highlights of the Release In the quarter under review, operating expenses amounted to $1,248 million, up 14.3% from the prior-year quarter’s figure of $1,091.6 million. Operating income was $130.2 million, up 10% year over year. The company incurred interest expenses of $24.5 million, up from $22.4 million in the prior-year quarter. As of Dec 31, 2019, the construction services business had backlog of $1.14 billion, up 22% from the year-ago tally. The construction materials business had backlog of $693 million, down from a backlog of $706 million in the year-ago period. Financial Highlights Total debt amounted to $2,243 million as of Dec 31, 2019, up from $2,109 million as of Dec 31, 2018. The company’s net cash flow from operating activities in 2019 was $542.3 million, up from $499.9 million in 2018. Guidance MDU Resources expects 2020 earnings per share in the range of $1.65-$1.85, whose mid-point of $1.75 is higher than the current Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.70. The company plans to invest $2,926 million through 2020-2024. Zacks Rank MDU Resources carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here. Other Utility Releases Xcel Energy XEL posted fourth-quarter 2019 operating earnings of 56 cents per share, which beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 53 cents by 5.6%. NextEra Energy NEE reported fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of $1.44 per share, which lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.54 by 6.5%. CMS Energy Corporation CMS reported fourth-quarter 2019 adjusted earnings of 68 cents, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 69 cents. Biggest Tech Breakthrough in a Generation Be among the early investors in the new type of device that experts say could impact society as much as the discovery of electricity. Current technology will soon be outdated and replaced by these new devices. In the process, it’s expected to create 22 million jobs and generate $12.3 trillion in activity. A select few stocks could skyrocket the most as rollout accelerates for this new tech. Early investors could see gains similar to buying Microsoft in the 1990s. Zacks’ just-released special report reveals 8 stocks to watch. The report is only available for a limited time. See 8 breakthrough stocks now>>