Middlesex Water Company Reports Third Quarter 2017 Financial Results

Iselin, New Jersey, UNITED STATES

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