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American Water Works (AWK) Q1 Earnings In Line, View Intact

Water utility American Water Works Company AWK reported first-quarter earnings per share of 46 cents, on par with the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

Earnings were higher than the year-ago figure of 44 cents by 4.5%. The increase was attributable to higher earnings at the Regulated business segment (up 7.4% y/y), driven by infrastructure investment.

Total Revenues

First-quarter total revenues of $743 million surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $729 million by 1.9%. Total revenues were 6.4% higher year over year.

Highlights of the Release

Total operating expenses in the reported quarter increased 7.1% to $529 million, primarily due to a 7.4% increase in operation and maintenance expenses.

Interest expenses increased 6.7% to $80 million from $75 million in the year-ago quarter.
 
The board of directors of the company increased the quarterly dividend rate by 10.3% to 37.5 cents per share. In fact, the board has approved double-digit dividend increases in each of the last four years, which speaks for the company’s solid performance.

Financial Highlights

Cash and cash equivalents were $66 million as of Mar 31, 2016, up from $45 million as of Dec 31, 2015.

Long-term debt was $5,861 million as of Mar 31, 2016, marginally lower than $5,874 million as of Dec 31, 2015.

Guidance

American Water Works affirmed its 2016 earnings guidance from continuing operations in the range of $2.75 to $2.85 per diluted share.

Ageing infrastructure is a pressing problem for most of the water utilities. For 2016, the company’s capital investment budget is in the range of $1.3 billion to $1.4 billion, a major part of which will be invested to improve its water and wastewater systems.

Other Company Releases

Aqua America Inc. WTR reported first-quarter 2016 earnings per share of 29 cents, a penny higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate.

California Water Service Group CWT reported first-quarter 2016 loss per share of 2 cents. The Zacks Consensus Estimate was earnings of 3 cents.

SJW Corp.’s SJW first-quarter 2016 operating earnings per share of 16 cents lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 21 cents by 23.8%.

Our View

First-quarter results of American Water Works were impressive thanks to its consistent investment in regulated operations.

American Water Works continues to make investments to maintain and upgrade its water and wastewater infrastructure. In addition, its inorganic growth strategy is helping it to expand its operations and market reach. Recently, its unit, Pennsylvania American Water, inked an agreement to purchase the waste water assets of Scranton Sewer Authority for $195 million, which will increase its customer base by 31,000.

American Water Works Company currently has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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AMER WATER WORK (AWK): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
CALIF WATER SVC (CWT): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
SJW CORP (SJW): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
AQUA AMER INC (WTR): Free Stock Analysis Report
 
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