Why you should invest in Middlesex Water Company
Water is life. With inelastic demand, the potential in the utility industry is inexhaustible. Therefore, investing in a water services company is a good bet. But why invest in Middlesex Water Company?
Middlesex Water Company NASDAQ:MSEX is located in Iselin, New Jersey and provides water and wastewater services to its customers.
The most attractive factor of the company’s stock is its dividend rates and consistent payouts. In addition, the company has stable capital investment, additional customers and organic growth.
The company is expanding operations especially under its ambitious Renew Program that has initiated efficient operations and services since the 70’s.
Additionally, the company plans to strengthen its water and wastewater infrastructure, to a tune of $229 million from 2022-2024.
In the current buzz of investing in high-volatile tech-stocks for a quick buck, investors are quick to look at the profitability of the stock, rather than the company.
Middlesex Water Company is a utility stock with low volatility and a current BETA of 0.58, which portrays the stability of its stock.
To determine the profitability and growth of a company, its important to look at the changes in its revenue and EBIT margins. EBIT margins for Middlesex were flat in the last year but revenue grew by 3.1%.
The outlook for fiscal 2023 is for an earnings increase of 6.3%. Earnings have grown by an estimate of 12% annually, over the last 5 years.
The last quarter earnings were $0.68 per share, surpassing the outlook of $0.50.
There is an increase in earnings per share, compared to $0.39 of the last year. Middlesex has surpassed revenue outlook twice over the past four quarters. The price of Msex stock has dropped at 25% since the beginning of the year.
The drop can be attributed to the slump in water supply ranking which is currently ranked among the bottom utilities.
The outlook of the utilities industry, specifically water has a significant impact on the performance of Msex stock. Commentary on earnings call by the management will likely determine the future earnings of the stock.
Long-term investors want to put their money in stable companies in terms of impressive financial reports, good stock performance and credible management.
Another understated factor to consider is the investor institutions of a stock. Institutions are obliged and hold the responsibility of making wise profitable investments on behalf of their clients/investors.
The said institutions use a benchmark to report their investment decisions to shareholders. Therefore, it is critical for them to invest in stocks listed in a major index.
Msex has several notable institutions in their shareholder register. It is an indicator of growth for the stock, and the institutions predict a positive ROI. It is also a sign that Middlesex Water Company is considered credible in the investment community.
The company declared a cash dividend of $0.29 per share on common stocks. It was an increase of $0.02 from last year’s dividend.
The amount was payable on June 1, 2022 to holders of record as of May 13, 2022. To date, the company has consistently paid cash dividends for over a century, with the annual dividend rate increasing consecutively for the last 49 years.
The stable business model and cash flow of the company are the enabling factors for this success. The company has profit margins of over 15% therefore, it is evident that they can afford to keep paying dividends, and raise the rates.
As history has proven, Middlesex’s dividend payout is unaffected by the prevailing conditions of the stock market and macro economy.
Middlesex Water Company is a small-cap stock, with a market cap of only $400 million. The quarterly year over year revenue growth is at 6.5%. These indicate that the company has great potential for future growth.
However, we shouldn’t expect rapid growth, considering it’s a utility company. The business is conservative therefore a wise investment
.In addition, the consistent growth and increased earnings overtime of the company indicate a promise of better things to come.
As with any other investment, Msex has a couple of risks that investors should consider before making a decision. Most of the risks identified with Msex are in its debts.
It is understandable that the company requires more funding with an increase in costly infrastructure and increasing capacity developments.
However, if left unchecked, the imbalance in debt, equity and cash flow may cost investors.
• A considerably high net debt to equity ratio of 85.5%
• Debt to equity ratio has increased considerably over the last 5 years, currently at 86.4%
• The operating cash flow stands at 11.4%, therefore inadequate to cover debt
• Decreased return on capital at 4.0%, as compared to 6.9% five years ago
If you are risk averse investor looking for safety and an adequate return, Msex is a smart investment choice.
With the stock market currently highly over-priced, it is difficult to gauge a good long investment. Msex is even more attractive for dividend hungry investors, as it is a guarantee.