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Watts Water (WTS) Announces 6% Dividend Hike, Stock Gains

Watts Water Technologies, Inc. WTS increased its quarterly dividend by 6% to 18 cents per share, reflecting its commitment to enhance shareholder value. The raised dividend will be paid on Jun 16, 2016 to shareholders of record at the close of business on Jun 2. Watts Water’s shares gained 2% following the announcement on May 10.

The dividend hike will increase the company’s dividend yield from the current 1.23% to 1.28%. The move has positioned Watts Water ahead of its peers like Badger Meter Inc. BMI, Woodward, Inc. WWD and Allied Motion Technologies Inc. AMOT with respective dividend yields of 1.08%, 0.81% and 0.44%.

Last year in May, the company had announced a 13% increase in its dividend, marking the third consecutive year of a double-digit dividend hike.

Watts Water reported first-quarter 2016 adjusted earnings of 57 cents per share, up 26.7% year over year. Reported earnings also surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 50 cents.

Watts Water had cash and cash equivalents of $259.4 million at the end of first-quarter 2016, compared with $296 million at 2015 end. As of the quarter end, Watts Water’s net debt was $338.8 million with a net debt-to-capitalization ratio of 31.7%.

Watts Water stands to gain from transformation initiatives in the Americas and EMEA. Further, the company will benefit from its European transformation program, acquisitions, growth in operational efficiencies and share repurchase initiatives. It has maintained its full-year 2016 outlook and expects organic sales growth in the low-single digits for the year. However, macroeconomic weakness, unfavorable foreign currency exchange rates and oil price volatility could weigh on Watts Water’s near-term results.

Watts Water currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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