Middlesex Water Company Reports Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results

ISELIN, N.J., Nov. 02, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Middlesex Water Company (NASDAQ:MSEX) ("Middlesex" or the "Company") today reported third quarter consolidated operating revenues of $36.2 million as compared to $37.8 million for the same period in 2016. Net income for the quarter was $7.6 million, compared to $8.8 million reported in the same quarter of 2016. Basic and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.47 and $0.46 respectively, compared to $0.54 for the same period in 2016.

“Weather was a significant factor impacting our third quarter results as unfavorable weather patterns in the summer months contributed to lower outdoor water consumption across various customer classes,” said Middlesex Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis W. Doll. “Separately, we were pleased to announce a 5.9% increase in the common dividend in October, demonstrating our continued emphasis on returning value to shareholders. This increase represents the 45th year of consecutive dividend increases in our company’s history,” added Doll.

Third Quarter Operating Results

Consolidated operating revenues for the third quarter ended September 30, 2017, decreased $1.6 million from the same period in 2016. Revenues in the Company’s Middlesex system in New Jersey decreased $1.8 million, primarily due to unfavorable weather patterns in the summer months of 2017. Revenues in our Delaware system, Tidewater Utilities, Inc., (Tidewater) remained consistent largely because the addition of new residential customers helped to offset lower weather-related customer water demand.

Operation and maintenance expenses for the third quarter decreased $0.4 million from the same period in 2016. This decrease is primarily attributable to lower retirement plan costs of $0.7 million resulting from reimbursement of retiree healthcare insurance premiums and lower water production costs of $0.2 million in our Middlesex System due to decreased water consumption offset by higher main break repair activity costs of $0.3 million, increased labor costs of $0.1 million due to higher average labor rates and increased personnel required to address increased regulatory requirements and other critical needs.

Nine Month Operating Results

For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, revenues decreased $1.8 million from the same period in 2016. Revenues in our Middlesex system decreased $2.8 million, due to unfavorable weather patterns in the spring and summer months of 2017. Revenues in our Tidewater system increased $0.9 million, primarily due to additional customers, offset by lower customer water demand from unfavorable weather conditions in the spring and summer.

Middlesex Water Increases Annual Dividend for 45th Consecutive Year

As previously reported, in October, the Company's Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.22375 per share on its common stock, a 5.9 percent increase. Middlesex Water Company has paid cash dividends in varying amounts continually since 1912. This increase raises the annual dividend to $0.895 from $0.845 per share of common stock. The dividend is payable December 1, 2017 to shareholders of record as of November 9, 2017.

About Middlesex Water Company

Middlesex Water Company, organized in 1897, provides regulated and unregulated water and wastewater utility services primarily in New Jersey and Delaware through various subsidiary companies. Information about the Company’s Direct Share Purchase and Sale and Dividend Reinvestment Plan can be found at investors.middlesexwater.com

This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, among others, our long-term strategy and expectations, the status of our acquisition program, the impact of our acquisitions, the impact of current and projected rate requests and the impact of our capital program on our environmental compliance. There are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements including: general economic business conditions, unfavorable weather conditions, the success of certain cost containment initiatives, changes in regulations or regulatory treatment, availability and the cost of capital, the success of growth initiatives and other factors discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Bernadette Sohler, Vice President – Corporate Affairs
Middlesex Water Company
1500 Ronson Road
Iselin, New Jersey 08830
(732) 638-7549

(In thousands except per share amounts)
Three Months Ended September 30, Nine Months Ended September 30,
2017 2016 2017 2016
Operating Revenues$ 36,174 $ 37,794 $ 99,319 $ 101,098
Operating Expenses:
Operations and Maintenance 16,178 16,599 48,563 48,215
Depreciation 3,587 3,243 10,280 9,561
Other Taxes 3,603 3,796 10,327 10,537
Total Operating Expenses 23,368 23,638 69,170 68,313
Operating Income 12,806 14,156 30,149 32,785
Other Income (Expense):
Allowance for Funds Used During Construction 174 207 473 387
Other Income, net 43 400 69 449
Total Other Income, net 217 607 542 836
Interest Charges 1,493 1,427 3,965 3,841
Income before Income Taxes 11,530 13,336 26,726 29,780
Income Taxes 3,888 4,523 9,263 10,258
Net Income 7,642 8,813 17,463 19,522
Preferred Stock Dividend Requirements 36 36 108 108
Earnings Applicable to Common Stock$ 7,606 $ 8,777 $ 17,355 $ 19,414
Earnings per share of Common Stock:
Basic$ 0.47 $ 0.54 $ 1.06 $ 1.19
Diluted$ 0.46 $ 0.54 $ 1.06 $ 1.19
Average Number of
Common Shares Outstanding :
Basic 16,340 16,284 16,324 16,262
Diluted 16,496 16,440 16,480 16,418
Cash Dividends Paid per Common Share $ 0.2113 $ 0.1988 $ 0.6338 $ 0.5963

Source:Middlesex Water Company