ISELIN, N.J., Nov. 02, 2017 -- 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