NEWARK, Del., May 04, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Artesian Resources Corporation (Nasdaq: ARTNA), a leading provider of water and wastewater services, and related services, on the Delmarva Peninsula, today announced first quarter results for 2021. Net income for the three months ended March 31, 2021 was $4.2 million, a $0.1 million, or 3.2%, increase compared to net income recorded during the first quarter of 2020. Diluted net income per share increased 2.3% to $0.45 for the three months ended March 31, 2021 compared to $0.44 for the first quarter of 2020.
Artesian announced on April 14, 2021 that its Board of Directors approved a 1.5% increase in the company’s Class A and Class B Common Stock dividend, raising the annual dividend to $1.044 per share. The quarterly dividend of $0.2610 is payable on May 21, 2021 to shareholders at the close of business on May 7, 2021. This marks Artesian’s 114th consecutive quarterly dividend paid to shareholders and the 25th consecutive year it has increased dividends.
First Quarter Results
Revenues totaled $20.7 million, an increase of $0.8 million, or 4.2%. Water sales revenue increased $0.4 million, or 2.5%, primarily due to an increase in residential consumption and a 2.7% increase in the number of customers served. Other utility operating revenue increased $0.2 million, or 17.1%, primarily the result of an increase in wastewater revenue from a 14.3% increase in the number of customers served. Non-utility operating revenue increased 14.6% to $1.4 million, primarily due to an increase in contract service revenue related to a contract for the design and construction of wastewater infrastructure.
“Our focused commitment to ensure our customers and communities have uninterrupted, safe, reliable water and wastewater service continues,” said Dian C. Taylor, Chair, President and CEO. “Even as challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic are lessening, these commitments remain a fundamental part of our focus,” said Taylor.
Operating expenses, excluding depreciation and income taxes, increased $0.6 million, or 5.3%, primarily related to increases in utility and non-utility operating expenses. The majority of the increases are related to payroll and benefits costs associated with increases in overall compensation, the number of employees and hours worked due to winter weather conditions experienced in early 2021, as well as repair and maintenance costs associated with an increase in maintenance of wastewater treatment facilities and equipment. “We have made significant efforts to ensure our wastewater treatment facilities continue to support the rapid customer growth in Sussex County” said Taylor.
Depreciation and amortization expense increased $0.3 million, or 9.4%, primarily due to continued investment in utility plant providing supply, treatment, storage and distribution of water to customers and service to our wastewater customers.
Miscellaneous income increased $0.3 million, primarily due to an increase in patronage from CoBank, ACB as a result of a higher average loan balance outstanding.
Allowance for funds used during construction, or AFUDC, decreased $0.2 million as a result of lower long-term construction activity subject to AFUDC.
As part of Artesian’s on-going effort to ensure high quality reliable service to customers, $9.3 million was invested in the first three months of 2021 in water and wastewater infrastructure projects including installation of transmission and distribution facilities, replacement of aging mains, rehabilitation of treatment facilities, and redevelopment of wells and pumping equipment. Approximately 43% of this investment includes critical infrastructure in Sussex County to construct the water treatment plant located in Dagsboro and complete the interconnection to the existing South Bethany system. This will provide an additional 2.0 million gallons per day of water supply to serve the rapidly growing beach community. “We continue to focus on our long term growth strategy, which includes investing in infrastructure to meet projected demand in growth areas,” said Taylor.
About Artesian Resources
Artesian Resources Corporation operates as a holding company of wholly-owned subsidiaries offering water and wastewater services, and related services, on the Delmarva Peninsula. Artesian Water Company, the principal subsidiary, is the oldest and largest regulated water utility on the Delmarva Peninsula and has been providing water service since 1905. Artesian supplies 8.3 billion gallons of water per year through 1,368 miles of main to over a third of Delawareans.
Forward Looking Statements
This release contains forward looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995 regarding, among other things, the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, our growth strategy, including expectations regarding infrastructure investments, and the continued growth in our business and the number of customers and population served. These statements involve risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements including: changes in weather, changes in our contractual obligations, changes in government policies, the timing and results of our rate requests, failure to receive regulatory approval, changes in economic and market conditions generally and other matters discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. While the Company may elect to update forward-looking statements, we specifically disclaim any obligation to do so and you should not rely on any forward-looking statement as representation of the Company’s views as of any date subsequent to the date of this release.
|Artesian Resources Corporation|
|Condensed Consolidated Statement of Operations|
|(In thousands, except per share amounts)|
|Three months ended|
|Other utility operating revenue||1,467||1,253|
|Utility operating expenses||9,596||9,235|
|Non-utility operating expenses||915||728|
|Depreciation and amortization||3,012||2,752|
|State and federal income taxes||1,351||1,359|
|Property and other taxes||1,420||1,365|
|Allowance for funds used during construction||244||423|
|Income Before Interest Charges||6,088||5,973|
|Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding - Basic||9,368||9,297|
|Net Income per Common Share - Basic||$||0.45||$||0.44|
|Weighted Average Common Shares Outstanding - Diluted||9,407||9,343|
|Net Income per Common Share - Diluted||$||0.45||$||0.44|
|Artesian Resources Corporation|
|Condensed Consolidated Balance Sheet|
|March 31,||December 31,|
|Utility Plant, at original cost less|
|Regulatory and Other Assets||16,363||16,038|
|Capitalization and Liabilities|
|Long Term Debt, Net of Current Portion||141,886||142,333|
|Advances for Construction||4,485||4,578|
|Contributions in Aid of Construction||164,389||160,258|