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Artesian Resources Corporation Reports 4th Quarter and 2016 Year-End Earnings

NEWARK, Del., March 08, 2017 (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 2016. Revenues were $79.1 million, up 2.7% from $77.0 million in 2015. Net income increased 14.6% to $13.0 million, compared to $11.3 million in 2015. Diluted net income per common share was up 11.9% at $1.41 for 2016 compared to $1.26 for 2015.

Water sales revenues increased 2.4% to $70.6 million, from $68.9 million in 2015. The increase in water sales revenue is due to an overall increase in water consumption, an increase in the number of customers served and two increases in the Distribution System Improvement Charges (DSIC) placed into effect in 2016.

Non-utility revenue was $4.7 million, up from $4.4 million in 2015, a 6.5% increase, primarily from customer enrollments in the Service Line Protection Plans. The Service Line Protection Plans provide coverage for all material and labor required to repair or replace participants’ leaking water service or clogged sewer lines and internal plumbing lines.

Operating expenses, excluding depreciation and income taxes, decreased $70,000, or 0.2%, for the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to the year ended December 31, 2015. Utility operating expenses decreased $0.5 million, or 1.4%, for the year ended December 31, 2016 compared to the year ended December 31, 2015. The decrease is primarily related to decreased payroll, employee benefit costs and purchased power expense. The ratio of operating expenses, excluding depreciation and income taxes, to total revenues was 54.1% for 2016 compared to 55.6% for 2015. “We have vigilantly acted to control expenses and to implement efficiencies. These efforts have resulted in our ability to reduce utility operating expenses in 2016,” said Dian C. Taylor, Chair, President and CEO.

Depreciation and amortization expense increased $0.4 million, primarily due to continued investment in utility plant in service providing supply, treatment, storage and distribution of water. Income tax expense increased $0.5 million as a result of improved profitability compared to 2015.

Interest expense decreased $0.4 million, primarily due to a reduction in the annual interest rate on the Series S First Mortgage Bond from 6.73% to 4.45% effective March 1, 2016.

“We continued to take proactive measures in 2016 to control expenses while at the same time investing in infrastructure improvements to continue to assure high quality and reliable service to our customers. In 2016 we invested $28.2 million in improvements to enhance existing treatment facilities, improve sources of supply, upgrade and automate meter reading equipment, replace aging mains and upgrade computer hardware and software, while seeking efficiencies whenever possible,” said Dian Taylor.

Net income increased 48.6% to $2.7 million for the three months ended December 31, 2016 compared to $1.8 million for the same period in 2015. Diluted net income per common share increased 42.9% to $0.30 for the three months ended December 31, 2016 compared to $0.21 for the same period in 2015.

For the three months ended December 31, 2016, revenues were $19.4 million, an increase of 3.6% from the $18.8 million recorded for the same period in 2015. Water sales revenue increased 3.4% to $17.1 million for the three months ended December 31, 2016. The increase in water sales revenue is the result of an increase in water consumption, an increase in the number of customers served and two increases in the Distribution System Improvement Charge.

Operating expenses, excluding income taxes and depreciation, decreased by 6.8% to $10.9 million for the three months ended December 31, 2016 compared to $11.6 million for the same period in 2015. The decrease in operating expenses is the result of decreases in payroll and employee benefits costs, and in consulting and legal fees.

Interest expense decreased 5.4% from $1.7 million for the three months ended December 31, 2015 to $1.6 million for the three months ended December 31, 2016 primarily due to the decrease in the Series S First Mortgage Bond interest rate.

Other Highlights include:

  • Completed 8 water main renewals in 2016 replacing nearly 6 miles of aging water mains, ranging in age from 45 to 74 years old.
  • Instituted a large meter replacement program in July 2016 to replace obsolete customer meters with technology that detects low flows not detected by the older meters. To date we have replaced 1,699 meters.
  • Partnered with Sussex County to interconnect our regional wastewater systems in several locations and to share transmission and treatment infrastructure to cost-effectively serve each of our growing service areas.
  • Entered into an agreement with Allen Harim Foods, LLC located in Harbeson, Delaware to dispose of 1.5 million gallons per day of treated process wastewater by means of spray irrigation.
  • Granted the water franchise to serve the historic town of Odessa and reached agreement with the Odessa Fire Company and the Cantwell Water Company for purchase of their respective water assets. We have provided service to the Odessa Fire Company’s fire station since May 2013 and are excited that our partnership with Odessa will now allow us to be able to provide reliable, high quality water to the residents of Odessa who have previously relied upon individual private wells.

About Artesian Resources

Artesian Resources Corporation operates as a holding company of wholly-owned subsidiaries offering water, wastewater services and related services on the Delmarva Peninsula. Artesian Water Company, Inc., the principal subsidiary, is the oldest and largest investor-owned 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 1,260 miles of water main to approximately 301,000 people.

Artesian Resources Corporation
Condensed Consolidated Statement of Operations
(In thousands, except per share amounts)
(Unaudited)
Three months ended Year Ended
December 31, December 31,
2016
2015
2016 2015
Operating Revenues
Water sales $17,147 $16,589 $70,587 $68,932
Other utility operating revenue 1,064 1,076 3,816 3,694
Non-utility operating revenue 1,206 1,085 4,686 4,398
19,417 18,750 79,089 77,024
Operating Expenses
Utility operating expenses 9,055 9,949 35,658 36,148
Non-utility operating expenses 678 600 2,602 2,305
Depreciation and amortization 2,353 2,239 9,188 8,837
State and federal income taxes 1,859 1,332 8,331 7,784
Property and other taxes 1,120 1,099 4,491 4,368
15,065 15,219 60,270 59,442
Operating Income 4,352 3,531 18,819 17,582
Allowance for funds used during construction 62 96 222 249
Miscellaneous (43) (50) 557 472
Income Before Interest Charges 4,371 3,577 19,598 18,303
Interest Charges 1,648 1,742 6,644 6,998
Net Income $2,723 $1,835 $12,954 $11,305
Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding - Basic 9,122 9,035 9,098 8,960
Net Income per Common Share - Basic $0.30 $0.21 $1.42 $1.26
Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding - Diluted 9,187 9,095 9,161 9,005
Net Income per Common Share - Diluted $0.30 $0.21 $1.41 $1.26
Artesian Resources Corporation
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
December 31, December 31,
2016
2015
Assets
Utility Plant, at original cost less
accumulated depreciation $425,502 $405,606
Current Assets 14,635 14,444
Regulatory and Other Assets 10,839 11,576
$450,976 $431,626
Capitalization and Liabilities
Stockholders' Equity $139,023 $132,331
Long Term Debt, Net of Current Portion 102,331 103,647
Current Liabilities 19,328 22,403
Net Advances for Construction 8,169 8,752
Contributions in Aid of Construction 112,106 99,847
Other Liabilities 70,019 64,646
$450,976 $431,626

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

Source:Artesian Resources Corporation