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Artesian Resources Corporation Reports 2017 Third Quarter and Year-to-Date Results and Announces Increase in Quarterly Dividend

NEWARK, Del., Nov. 02, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Artesian Resources Corporation (Nasdaq:ARTNA), a leading provider of water, wastewater services and related services on the Delmarva Peninsula, announced today that revenues for the third quarter of 2017 were $22.4 million, a $0.5 million, or 2.4%, increase over the same quarter of 2016. Water sales revenue increased $0.4 million, or 1.9%, to $20.0 million for the third quarter of 2017 compared to $19.7 million for the third quarter of 2016. The increase is due primarily to an increase in the Distribution System Improvement Charge, or DSIC, and an increase in the number of customers served, partially offset by a decrease in water consumption.

Excluding depreciation and income taxes, operating expenses increased $0.9 million, or 7.8%, to $12.0 million for the third quarter of 2017 compared to $11.1 million for the same period in 2016. Utility operating expenses for the third quarter of 2017 were $10.1million, a $0.8 million, or 8.4%, increase from the $9.3 million recorded during the same period in 2016. The increase is primarily the result of increased payroll and employee benefit costs, and repair and maintenance expenses related to water treatment equipment and storage tanks.

Interest expenses decreased $0.1 million, or 6.9%, to $1.5 million for the third quarter of 2017 compared to $1.6 million for the same period in 2016, primarily due to the refinancing of the company’s Series O and Series Q First Mortgage Bonds in January 2017, reducing interest rates from 8.17% and 4.75%, respectively, to 4.24%.

Net income for the third quarter of 2017 was $3.9 million, a decrease of $0.4 million, or 9.6%, compared to the third quarter of 2016. Diluted net income per share decreased 12.5%, to $0.42 for the third quarter of 2017 compared to $0.48 for the third quarter of 2016.

Year to Date Results

Revenues during the first nine months of 2017 increased $2.4 million, or 4.0%, to $62.0 million. Water sales revenue increased $1.8 million, or 3.3%, for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 from the corresponding period in 2016. The increase in water sales revenue is primarily due to an increase in the DSIC, an increase in the number of customers served and a slight increase in overall water consumption.

Excluding depreciation and income taxes, operating expenses increased $2.3 million, or 7.2%, to $34.2 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 compared to $31.9 million for the same period of 2016. Utility operating expenses for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 were $28.6 million, a $2.0 million, or 7.4%, increase from the $26.6 million recorded for the same period of 2016. The increase is primarily the result of increased payroll and employee benefit costs, and repair and maintenance expenses related to water treatment equipment and storage tanks. The increase is also attributed to an increase in purchased water during a relocation of a major transmission main in northern New Castle County, Delaware due to state highway construction.

Miscellaneous income decreased $0.4 million for the first nine months of 2017 compared to the same period a year ago primarily as a result of a pledge made to a non-profit entity in Delaware being organized to support the State’s economic development efforts.

Interest expenses decreased $0.4 million, or 7.6%, to $4.6 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 compared to $5.0 million for the same period of 2016 primarily due to the refinancing of the company’s Series O and Series Q First Mortgage Bonds in January 2017, reducing interest rates from 8.17% and 4.75% respectively, to 4.24%. Additionally, there was an interest rate change from 6.73% to 4.45% effective March 1, 2016 for the company’s Series S First Mortgage Bond.

Through the first nine months of 2017, Artesian had net income of $10.3 million, an increase of $0.1 million, or 0.5%, compared to the same period of 2016. Diluted net income per share decreased 0.9%, to $1.11 for the nine months ended September 30, 2017 compared to $1.12 for the same period in 2016.

Artesian invested $28.3 million in infrastructure improvements during the first nine months of 2017 to ensure high quality and reliable service to its customers. Significant infrastructure improvements included the replacement of aging water mains, enhancement of water treatment facilities, rehabilitation of pumping equipment, upgrade of meter equipment and the relocation of mains as mandated by state highway projects. Artesian also invested in wastewater projects in Delaware, including ongoing construction of an eight mile pipeline and a 90 million gallon storage lagoon for spray irrigation to disperse treated wastewater from a new industrial customer.

“Through the first nine months of 2017, we have invested in major water infrastructure improvements to ensure our customers receive high-quality water and reliable service and in wastewater projects in Sussex County, Delaware, where new development is occurring,” said Dian C. Taylor, Chair, President and CEO.

Declaration of Quarterly Dividend

Artesian Resources Corporation also announced today that its Board of Directors has approved a 1.5% increase in the company’s Class A and Class B Common Stock dividend, raising the annual dividend to $0.9408 per share. The quarterly dividend of $0.2352 per share is payable November 22, 2017 to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 13, 2017. This marks Artesian Resources Corporation’s 100th consecutive quarterly dividend and the 21st consecutive year dividends have been increased.

“Our 100th consecutive quarterly dividend marks a milestone that reflects our strong commitment to deliver consistent, solid returns to our shareholders while remaining focused on operating efficiently to deliver safe and reliable water and wastewater service to our customers,” said Taylor.

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, the principal subsidiary, is the oldest and largest regulated 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 Nine months ended
September 30, September 30,
2017 2016 2017 2016
Operating Revenues
Water sales$20,045 $19,680 $55,228 $53,440
Other utility operating revenue 1,036 976 3,075 2,752
Non-utility operating revenue 1,275 1,172 3,744 3,480
22,356 21,828 62,047 59,672
Operating Expenses
Utility operating expenses 10,070 9,292 28,564 26,603
Non-utility operating expenses 736 698 2,085 1,924
Depreciation and amortization 2,377 2,270 7,024 6,835
State and federal income taxes 2,546 2,498 6,403 6,473
Property and other taxes 1,173 1,125 3,537 3,371
16,902 15,883 47,613 45,206
Operating Income 5,454 5,945 14,434 14,466
Allowance for funds used during construction 83 87 228 160
Miscellaneous (62) (26) 231 598
Income Before Interest Charges 5,475 6,006 14,893 15,224
Interest Charges 1,533 1,646 4,614 4,996
Net Income $3,942 $4,360 $10,279 $10,228
Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding - Basic 9,191 9,112 9,164 9,090
Net Income per Common Share - Basic$0.43 $0.48 $1.12 $1.13
Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding - Diluted 9,286 9,177 9,262 9,154
Net Income per Common Share - Diluted$0.42 $0.48 $1.11 $1.12
Artesian Resources Corporation
Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet
(In thousands)
(Unaudited)
September 30, December 31,
2017 2016
Assets
Utility Plant, at original cost less
accumulated depreciation$447,762 $425,502
Current Assets 16,393 14,635
Regulatory and Other Assets 15,308 10,839
$479,463 $450,976
Capitalization and Liabilities
Stockholders' Equity$144,584 $139,023
Long Term Debt, Net of Current Portion 105,860 102,331
Current Liabilities 23,232 19,328
Net Advances for Construction 8,200 8,169
Contributions in Aid of Construction 121,544 112,106
Other Liabilities 76,043 70,019
$479,463 $450,976


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

Source:Artesian Resources Corporation