News Column

Unitil Reports Second Quarter Earnings

August 8, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Energy Weekly News -- Unitil Corporation (NYSE: UTL) (www.unitil.com) announced Net Income of $1.1 million, or $0.08 per share, for the second quarter of 2014, an increase of $1.2 million, or $0.09 per share, compared to the second quarter of 2013. For the six months ended June 30, 2014, the Company reported Net Income of $13.7 million, a 28% increase over the same period in 2013. Earnings Per Share (EPS) for the six months ended June 30, 2014 were $0.99 compared to EPS of $0.78 for the same period of 2013. The Company's earnings for 2014 were driven by increases in natural gas and electric sales and margins.

"The Company had an excellent second quarter and first half of the year," said Robert G. Schoenberger, Unitil's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. "These results reflect increases in revenue from recent rate cases and our robust gas expansion program. Given the demand for natural gas, including in many communities currently without gas service, we expect this growth to continue for years to come."

Natural gas sales margins were $16.3 million and $52.8 million in the three and six months ended June 30, 2014, respectively, resulting in increases of $2.9 million and $8.9 million, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2013. Natural gas sales margins in 2014 were positively affected by higher therm unit sales, a growing customer base and recently approved distribution rates. Therm sales of natural gas increased 12.9% in the first six months of 2014 compared to 2013, driven by the colder winter weather and new customer additions in 2014 compared to 2013. Based on weather data collected in the Company's service areas, there were 12% more Heating Degree Days in the first six months of 2014 compared to 2013. Weather-normalized gas therm sales, excluding decoupled sales, in the first six months of 2014 are estimated to be up 6.4% compared to 2013.

Electric sales margins were $18.9 million and $38.1 million in the three and six months ended June 30, 2014, respectively, resulting in increases of $1.0 million and $1.8 million, respectively, compared to 2013. These increases reflect recently approved electric distribution rates. Electric kWh sales increased 2.0% in the first six months of 2014 compared to the same period in 2013, driven by the colder winter weather and new customer additions in 2014 compared to 2013.

Usource, the Company's non-regulated energy brokering business, recorded revenues of $3.0 million for the six months ended June 30, 2014, an increase of $0.1 million compared to the same period in 2013.

Operation and Maintenance (O&M) expenses increased $0.2 million and $2.1 million for the three and six months ended June 30, 2014, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2013. The increase in O&M expenses in the three month and six month periods primarily reflects higher compensation and benefit costs.

Depreciation, Amortization, Taxes and other expenses increased $1.8 million and $4.4 million in the three and six months ended June 30, 2014, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2013, primarily reflecting higher depreciation expense, property taxes, amortization of storm restoration costs and income taxes.

Interest Expense, Net increased $0.7 million and $1.3 million in the three and six months ended June 30, 2014, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2013, reflecting lower interest income on regulatory assets.

Also in the second quarter, the Unitil Corporation Board of Directors declared the regular quarterly dividend on the Company's common stock of $0.345 per share. This quarterly dividend results in a current effective annual dividend rate of $1.38 per share continuing an unbroken record of quarterly dividend payments since trading began in Unitil's common stock.

Keywords for this news article include: Energy, Oil & Gas, Natural Gas, Unitil Corporation, Investment and Finance.

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Source: Energy Weekly News


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