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Middlesex Water Company Reports Operating Results (10-Q)

October 30, 2009 | About:
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10qk

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Middlesex Water Company (MSEX) filed Quarterly Report for the period ended 2009-09-30.

Middlesex Water Company treats stores and distributes water for residential commercial industrial and fire prevention purposes. Middlesex Water Company has a market cap of $208.3 million; its shares were traded at around $15.49 with a P/E ratio of 13 and P/S ratio of 2.3. The dividend yield of Middlesex Water Company stocks is 4.5%. Middlesex Water Company had an annual average earning growth of 4.4% over the past 5 years.

Highlight of Business Operations:

Operating revenues for the three months ended September 30, 2009 decreased by less than $0.2 million from the same period in 2008. Revenues in our Middlesex system decreased $0.5 million as a result of lower water consumption across all customer classes. During the third quarter, we experienced a $0.8 million decline in consumption revenue due to a 6.9% decrease in water use by our general retail metered customers, compared to the same period last year, which includes Commercial and Industrial customers. Many of the larger industrial customers consumption demands have declined due to reduced output from their individual production processes. We have also experienced a decline in consumption from our commercial customers, which are generally office facilities, hotel and other guest facilities and multi-family residential facilities. A number of our Commercial and Industrial customers have communicated to us that they are unable to determine if or when their water demands may return to previous levels. Also negatively impacting consumption during the quarter was unseasonably cool, wet weather patterns in the mid-Atlantic region. Revenues of $0.3 million from the PWAC implemented on July 1, 2009, offset some of the consumption revenue decline.

Revenues in our Tidewater system increased $0.2 million. Revenue of $0.7 million from increased rates helped to mitigate consumption revenue decreases of $0.6 million, largely assumed to be attributable to those same weather patterns described above. New customer growth and other fees added $0.1 million of revenue. Revenues from our Perth Amboy operations contract rose $0.2 million due to higher pass-through charges and scheduled management fee increases. There was an equal amount of higher expenses offsetting higher revenue associated with pass-through charges. All other operations accounted for a decline of less than $0.1 million in revenues.

Operation and maintenance expenses for the three months ended September 30, 2009 increased $0.7 million or 5.7%. Labor costs increased $0.3 million due to increases in wages and resources necessary to meet the growing needs of our Delaware service territory. Expenses for our qualified employee retirement benefit plans increased by $0.1 million compared to the third quarter of 2008. Our 2009 actuarial valuations indicate that expenses for our benefit plans could increase by up to $0.4 million for the remainder of 2009, as compared to the same period in 2008. The portion of the increase that will ultimately be recorded as Operating Expense in 2009 will be dependent upon the portion of the total that will be allocated to capital projects.

Although water production had declined in the third quarter in our New Jersey and Delaware systems due to unfavorable weather patterns and economic conditions, our costs for chemicals and residuals disposals were $0.4 million higher than the same period in 2008. These increases were due to a combination of: 1) unit cost rate increases imposed by the municipal entity providing disposal services at our largest surface water treatment plant and: 2) lower quality of untreated water generating additional residuals, as influenced by abnormally high rainfall during the third quarter of 2009. All other expense categories decreased $0.1 million.

Net income declined by $0.7 million from $4.7 million to $4.0 million. Diluted earnings per share decreased to $0.29 for the three months ended September 30, 2009 compared to $0.35 for the same period in 2008.

Operating revenues for the nine months ended September 30, 2009 decreased $0.4 million or less than 1.0% from the same period in 2008. Revenues in our Middlesex system decreased $1.4 million as a result of lower water consumption across all customer classes. We experienced a $1.7 million decline in water use by our general retail metered customers compared to the same period in 2008. Revenues of $0.3 million from the PWAC implemente

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