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Artesian Resources Corporation Reports 4th Quarter and 2015 Year End Earnings

NEWARK, Del., March 09, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Artesian Resources Corporation (NASDAQ:ARTNA), a leading provider of water, wastewater services and related services on the Delmarva Peninsula, today announced revenue and income for 2015. Revenues were $77.0 million, up 6.3% from $72.5 million in 2014. Net income increased 18.9% to $11.3 million, compared to $9.5 million in 2014. Diluted net income per common share was up 17.8% at $1.26 for 2015 compared to $1.07 for 2014.

Water sales revenues increased 6.6% to $68.9 million in 2015 from $64.7 million in 2014. The increase in water sales resulted primarily from two incremental rate increases in Delaware in 2014.

Non-utility revenue was $4.4 million, up from $4.2 million in 2014, a 6.0% increase. The increase was the result of growth in revenues generated by Artesian’s water and wastewater Service Line Protection Plans, which continue to attract new enrollments. These Plans provide coverage for all material and labor required to repair or replace participants’ leaking water service or clogged sewer lines.

Operating expenses, excluding income taxes and depreciation, increased by 3.5% to $42.8 million in 2015 compared to $41.4 million in 2014. The increases in operating expenses were associated with the recently concluded Delaware water rate case and other increases in professional and service fees. Also contributing to the increase in operating expenses was a 2.8% increase in payroll and employee benefit costs. Purchased power expense increased by 8.2%, or $0.2 million, as a result of increased water pumpage and the installation of a new water treatment process at one of our facilities. The ratio of operating expenses, excluding depreciation and income taxes, to total revenues was 55.6% for 2015 compared to 57.1% for 2014.

Depreciation and amortization expense increased $0.2 million, or 1.9%, primarily due to continued investment in utility plant in service providing supply, treatment, storage and distribution of water. Income tax expense increased by $1.4 million as a result of improved profitability compared to 2014.

“Our strong performance in 2015 is attributable to our diligence in controlling expenses and the recognition and recovery of investments made to assure we continue to deliver the highest quality water to our customers. We continue to invest in upgrades to our systems. Last year we invested $21 million in improvements to replace aging water mains, install new treatment systems to our water and wastewater plants and upgrade our accounting software,” said Dian C. Taylor, Chair, President and CEO.

For the three months ended December 31, 2015, revenues were $18.8 million, an increase of 3.7% from $18.1 million for the same period in 2014. Net income decreased 14.5% to $1.8 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to $2.1 million for the same period of 2014, primarily due to the timing of when certain operating expenses were incurred. Diluted net income per common share decreased 12.5% to $0.21 for the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to $0.24 for the same period in 2014.

Operating expenses, excluding income taxes and depreciation, increased by 9.9% to $11.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015 compared to $10.6 million for the same period in 2014. The increases in operating expenses were associated with increases in professional and service fees, stock award expenses, Delaware water rate case expenses, employee recruitment expenses, bonuses paid in 2015 when none were awarded in the same quarter in 2014. An additional 1% profit sharing contribution was made to participants in the Company’s 401(k) Plan for all eligible employees as reward for their contributions toward the company’s improved financial performance in 2015. Repair and maintenance costs increased 16.6%, primarily due to the timing of carbon filter replacements related to water treatment equipment maintenance. Non-utility operating expenses increased 21.1%, or $0.1 million, primarily as a result of increased Service Line Protection Plan participation.

Highlights in 2015 include the following:

  • Completion of the second phase of a hydraulic improvement project in the Churchmans Crossing area of New Castle County, Delaware to further ensure system reliability;
  • Completion of 5 water main renewals replacing nearly 3 miles of aging water mains, ranging in age from 48 to 72 years old;
  • Installation of a new $1.9 million iron removal treatment system at the New Castle County Airbase water plant in Delaware;
  • Installation of a new $0.9 million treatment system at the Jefferson Farms water plant in New Castle County, Delaware; and
  • Increase in water treatment capacity at the Bayville water plant in Sussex County, Delaware by 16%.

About Artesian Resources

Artesian Resources Corporation operates as the holding company of wholly-owned subsidiaries offering water, wastewater services and related services on the Delmarva Peninsula. Artesian Water Company, the principal subsidiary, is the oldest and largest investor-owned public water utility on the Delmarva Peninsula and has been providing water service since 1905. Artesian supplies 7.6 billion gallons of water per year through 1,218 miles of water main to about 301,000 people.

Artesian Resources Corporation
Condensed Consolidated Statements of Operations
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)
Three months ended Year ended
December 31, December 31,
2015 2014 2015 2014
Operating Revenues
Water sales$ 16,589 $ 15,987 $ 68,932 $64,667
Other utility operating revenue 1,076 1,057 3,694 3,648
Non-utility operating revenue 1,085 1,035 4,398 4,150
18,750 18,079 77,024 72,465
Operating Expenses
Utility operating expenses 9,949 9,044 36,148 34,893
Non-utility operating expenses 600 495 2,305 2,193
Depreciation and amortization 2,239 2,121 8,837 8,673
State and federal income taxes 1,332 1,442 7,784 6,375
Property and other taxes 1,099 1,057 4,368 4,285
15,219 14,159 59,442 56,419
Operating Income 3,531 3,920 17,582 16,046
Allowance for funds used during construction 96 24 249 329
Miscellaneous (50) (23) 472 524
Income Before Interest Charges 3,577 3,921 18,303 16,899
Interest Charges 1,742 1,777 6,998 7,393
Net Income $ 1,835 $ 2,144 $11,305 $9,506
Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding - Basic 9,035 8,907 8,960 8,884
Net Income per Common Share - Basic$ 0.21 $ 0.24 $1.26 $1.07
Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding - Diluted 9,095 8,945 9,005 8,926
Net Income per Common Share - Diluted$ 0.21 $ 0.24 $1.26 $1.07
Artesian Resources Corporation
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
December 31, December 31,
2015 2014
Assets
Utility Plant, at original cost less accumulated depreciation$ 405,606 $ 393,793
Current Assets 14,444 16,648
Regulatory and Other Assets 11,576 11,772
$ 431,626 $ 422,213
Capitalization and Liabilities
Stockholders' Equity$ 132,331 $ 125,605
Long Term Debt, Net of Current Portion 103,647 104,954
Current Liabilities 23,218 30,192
Net Advances for Construction 8,752 10,228
Contributions in Aid of Construction 99,847 92,429
Other Liabilities 63,831 58,805
$ 431,626 $ 422,213

Contact: Nicholle Taylor Investor Relations (302) 453-6900 ntaylor@artesianwater.com

Source:Artesian Resources Corporation