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10 Dividend Rich, Deal Ready Utility Stocks Ready for a 2012 Jolt

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IDACORP Inc. (IDA - Get Report), with a market cap of $2.08 billion and a dividend yield of 3.16%, is a regulated utility that could garner takeover interest, according to Fitch Ratings. The Boise, I.D. -based company operates through its subsidiary Idaho Power and conducts vertically integrated generation, transmission, distribution and purchasing of electricity.

Formed in 1988, IDACORP and its main Idaho Power subsidiary operate Idaho Energy Resources, a joint venture with Brigder Coal. The company also invests in real estate and affordable housing through its IDACORP Financial Services unit, and has a hydroelectric energy subsidiary called Ida-West Energy.

Fitch notes that the company operates in two regulatory jurisdictions, which would have to approve any merger or takeover. In addition, IDACORP is regulated by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission.

The company is expected to earn 21 cents a share when it reports fourth quarter earnings on Feb. 29, according to Zacks consensus estimates. IDACORP is expected to have revenue of $1 billion and net profits of $169 million in 2011, according to Bloomberg consensus estimates. In 2012, those sales and profit numbers are expected to rise to $1.2 billion and $153 million, respectively.

Analysts give IDACORP an average price target of $46.17 a share, an over 10% premium to the company's current share price of $41.83. For more on IDACORP shares, see TheStreet Rating's portfolio of the 3 volcanic energy stocks.

The company's shares gained over 14% in 2011, beating the sector index. On Jan. 20, the company boosted its dividend to 33 cents a share that will be payable on Feb. 29 for all holders of the company's shares on before Feb. 6.

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