California Water Svc : Cal Water Announces Revenues and Earnings for 4th Quarter and Year-End 2006
02/28/2007| 07:52pm US/Eastern
California Water Service Group (NYSE:CWT) today announced net income of
$6.4 million for the fourth quarter of 2006, an increase of 10% over net
income of $5.8 million in the fourth quarter of 2005. Diluted earnings
per share were $0.31, compared to $0.32 per share for the same period
Revenue for the fourth quarter increased $2.8 million, or 4%, to $80.6
million. The increase in revenue is primarily due to the addition of
$2.8 million from rate increases and an increase of $0.7 million in
sales to new customers, which were offset by a decline of $0.7 million
in usage by existing customers.
Total operating expenses for the quarter were $71.0 million, an increase
of 3%, or $2.0 million, over the same period last year. Water production
costs were up approximately 5% or $1.4 million to $28.6 million, due to
increases in rates charged by wholesalers. Other operations expense
increased 9% or $2.0 million to $24.8 million, due to increases in
vehicle costs, payroll, conservation programs, and outside services.
Income taxes decreased 39% or $1.8 million to $2.7 million, due to a
lower effective tax rate over the prior year resulting from a reduction
in the impact of flow-through tax depreciation.
Maintenance expense increased approximately 4% or $0.2 million to $4.1
million, due to increased costs for repairs to water mains, meters, and
hydrants. Depreciation expense increased 2% or $0.1 million to $7.6
million, due to increased utility plant.
Net interest expense was slightly lower in the fourth quarter of 2006
due to an increase in capitalized interest on capital expenditures.
Other income was down $0.4 million from the same period in 2005.
Although there were no property sales during the quarter, the company
earned more income on short-term investments than it did in the same
period last year.
Full Year 2006 Results
2006 net income was $25.6 million, down 6%, or $1.6 million, from the
$27.2 million posted in 2005, and diluted earnings per share were $1.34,
compared to $1.47 for the same period last year. The decrease in
earnings per share was primarily due to the record wet weather
experienced during the first half of 2006; expense increases in several
categories not yet recovered in rates, including employee health and
welfare, water production, and conservation programs; and the dilutive
effect of the company's stock offering
completed in the fourth quarter.
Revenue for 2006 was $334.7 million, increasing $14.0 million, or 4%,
from the $320.7 million in revenues recorded in 2005. The increase in
revenue was due to $10.1 million in rate increases, $3.1 million in
sales to new customers, and $0.8 million in sales to existing customers.
President and Chief Executive Officer Peter C. Nelson noted that despite
wet weather in the first six months and regulatory delays in recovering
certain costs in rates, the Company made several key achievements in
?Our customers continued to give us high marks
in service, with 91.6% of those surveyed ranking it as ?excellent
or very good' in 2006. We also strengthened
our balance sheet by issuing 2.25 million shares of common stock and
invested a record $86 million in capital projects,?
Total operating expenses increased $15.5 million, or 6%, to $294.4
million for the year. Of this amount, water production costs increased
7% or $8.6 million to $124.3 million during 2006. Other operations
expense increased 8% or $6.9 million to $95.7 million. The increases in
other operations expenses were primarily due to increases in upkeep of
pumping facilities, water quality and treatment costs, conservation
programs, and employee payroll and benefits costs.
Maintenance expense increased $0.4 million, or 3%, to $15.6 million, due
to cost increases related to repairs of water mains and services in
2006. Depreciation increased 7% or $1.9 million to $30.7 million for the
Net interest expense decreased 4% or $0.7 million to $17.0 million
during the year, due to an increase in capitalized interest over the
prior year. Income tax decreased 14% or $2.6 million to $15.3 million,
due to the decrease in operating income in 2006 and the lower effective
tax rate for the year.
Other income and expense decreased 28% or $0.9 million to $2.2 million
during the year, primarily due to negligible gain on sale of non-utility
property during 2006.
?Going forward, we expect that the regulatory
climate in California will continue to improve as the California Public
Utilities Commission implements its Water Action Plan, which is based on
best practices of commissions throughout the country,?
The California Water Action Plan expresses the Commission's
commitment to policy that creates ?viable
utilities? and supports streamlined
decision-making. The Commission is currently identifying ways to improve
the rate-setting process for multi-district utilities like Cal Water and
considering Cal Water's application for a
Revenue Adjustment Mechanism that will decouple sales from revenues,
thereby reducing the short-term impacts of conservation and weather on
earnings. The Water Action Plan may be viewed in its entirety at: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/static/hottopics/3water/051109_wateractionplan.
htm. (Due to its length, this URL may need to be copied/pasted into
your Internet browser's address field. Remove the extra space if one
All stockholders and interested investors are invited to listen to the
2006 fourth quarter and year-end conference on March 1, 2007, at 8:00
a.m. PST by dialing 1-866-802-4290 and keying in ID# 1022927. A replay
of the call will be available from 2:00 p.m. EST Thursday, March 1,
2007, through April 30, 2007, at 888-266-2081, ID# 1022927. The call,
which will be hosted by Chairman Robert W. Foy and Vice President and
Chief Financial Officer Martin A. Kropelnicki, will also be webcast
under the investor relations tab at www.calwatergroup.com.
California Water Service Group is the parent company of California Water
Service Company, Washington Water Service Company, New Mexico Water
Service Company, Hawaii Water Service Company, Inc., and CWS Utility
Services. Together these companies provide regulated and non-regulated
water service to approximately 2 million people in more than 100
California, Washington, New Mexico and Hawaii communities. Group's
common stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol ?CWT.?
This news release contains forward-looking statements within the
meaning established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of
1995 ("Act").The forward-looking statements are
intended to qualify under provisions of the federal securities laws for
"safe harbor" treatment established by the Act.Forward-looking
statements are based on currently available information, expectations,
estimates, assumptions and projections, and management's judgment about
the Company, the water utility industry and general economic conditions.Such words as expects, intends, plans, believes, estimates, assumes,
anticipates, projects, predicts, forecasts or variations of such words
or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking
statements.The forward-looking statements are not guarantees of
future performance.They are subject to uncertainty and changes
in circumstances.Actual results may vary materially from what is
contained in a forward-looking statement.Factors that may cause
a result different than expected or anticipated include: governmental
and regulatory commissions' decisions, including decisions on proper
disposition of property; changes in regulatory commissions' policies and
procedures; the timeliness of regulatory commissions' actions concerning
rate relief; new legislation; changes in accounting valuations and
estimates; the ability to satisfy requirements related to the
Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other regulations on internal controls; electric
power interruptions; increases in suppliers' prices and the availability
of supplies including water and power; fluctuations in interest rates;
changes in environmental compliance and water quality requirements;
acquisitions and our ability to successfully integrate acquired
companies;the ability to successfully implement business plans;
changes in customer water use patterns; the impact of weather on water
sales and operating results; access to sufficient capital on
satisfactory terms; civil disturbances or terrorist threats or acts, or
apprehension about the possible future occurrences of acts of this type;
the involvement of the United States in war or other hostilities;
restrictive covenants in or changes to the credit ratings on our current
or future debt that could increase our financing costs or affect our
ability to borrow, make payments on debt or pay dividends; and, other
risks and unforeseen events.When considering forward-looking
statements, you should keep in mind the cautionary statements included
in this paragraph.The Company assumes no obligation to provide
public updates of forward-looking statements.