ISELIN, N.J., Nov. 02, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Middlesex Water Company (NASDAQ:MSEX) ("Middlesex" or the "Company") today reported third quarter consolidated operating revenues of $36.2 million as compared to $37.8 million for the same period in 2016.  Net income for the quarter was $7.6 million, compared to $8.8 million reported in the same quarter of 2016.  Basic and diluted earnings per share for the quarter were $0.47 and $0.46 respectively, compared to $0.54 for the same period in 2016. 

"Weather was a significant factor impacting our third quarter results as unfavorable weather patterns in the summer months contributed to lower outdoor water consumption across various customer classes," said Middlesex Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Dennis W. Doll.  "Separately, we were pleased to announce a 5.9% increase in the common dividend in October, demonstrating our continued emphasis on returning value to shareholders.  This increase represents the 45 th year of consecutive dividend increases in our company's history," added Doll. 

Third Quarter Operating Results

Consolidated operating revenues for the third quarter ended September 30, 2017, decreased $1.6 million from the same period in 2016.  Revenues in the Company's Middlesex system in New Jersey decreased $1.8 million, primarily due to unfavorable weather patterns in the summer months of 2017.  Revenues in our Delaware system, Tidewater Utilities, Inc., (Tidewater) remained consistent largely because the addition of new residential customers helped to offset lower weather-related customer water demand. 

Operation and maintenance expenses for the third quarter decreased $0.4 million from the same period in 2016.  This decrease is primarily attributable to lower retirement plan costs of $0.7 million resulting from reimbursement of retiree healthcare insurance premiums and lower water production costs of $0.2 million in our Middlesex System due to decreased water consumption offset by higher main break repair activity costs of $0.3 million, increased labor costs of $0.1 million due to higher average labor rates and increased personnel required to address increased regulatory requirements and other critical needs. 

Nine Month Operating Results

For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, revenues decreased $1.8 million from the same period in 2016.  Revenues in our Middlesex system decreased $2.8 million, due to unfavorable weather patterns in the spring and summer months of 2017.  Revenues in our Tidewater system increased $0.9 million, primarily due to additional customers, offset by lower customer water demand from unfavorable weather conditions in the spring and summer. 

Middlesex Water Increases Annual Dividend for 45 th Consecutive Year

As previously reported, in October, the Company's Board of Directors declared a dividend of $0.22375 per share on its common stock, a 5.9 percent increase. Middlesex Water Company has paid cash dividends in varying amounts continually since 1912.  This increase raises the annual dividend to $0.895 from $0.845 per share of common stock.  The dividend is payable December 1, 2017 to shareholders of record as of November 9, 2017. 

About Middlesex Water Company

Middlesex Water Company, organized in 1897, provides regulated and unregulated water and wastewater utility services primarily in New Jersey and Delaware through various subsidiary companies.  Information about the Company's Direct Share Purchase and Sale and Dividend Reinvestment Plan can be found at investors.middlesexwater.com

This release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, including, among others, our long-term strategy and expectations, the status of our acquisition program, the impact of our acquisitions, the impact of current and projected rate requests and the impact of our capital program on our environmental compliance. There are important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements including: general economic business conditions, unfavorable weather conditions, the success of certain cost containment initiatives, changes in regulations or regulatory treatment, availability and the cost of capital, the success of growth initiatives and other factors discussed in our filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contact:Bernadette Sohler, Vice President - Corporate AffairsMiddlesex Water Company1500 Ronson RoadIselin, New Jersey 08830(732) 638-7549 www.middlesexwater.com

                         
                         
    MIDDLESEX WATER COMPANY    
  CONDENSED CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF INCOME    
  (Unaudited)    
  (In thousands except per share amounts)    
                         
          Three Months Ended September 30,     Nine Months Ended September 30,    
          2017     2016     2017     2016    
                         
  Operating Revenues $     36,174   $   37,794   $     99,319   $   101,098    
                         
  Operating Expenses:                  
    Operations and Maintenance   16,178     16,599     48,563     48,215    
    Depreciation   3,587     3,243     10,280     9,561    
    Other Taxes   3,603     3,796     10,327     10,537    
                         
      Total Operating Expenses   23,368     23,638     69,170     68,313    
                         
  Operating Income   12,806     14,156     30,149     32,785    
                         
  Other Income (Expense):                  
    Allowance for Funds Used During Construction   174     207     473     387    
    Other Income, net   43     400     69     449    
                         
  Total Other Income, net   217     607     542     836    
                         
  Interest Charges   1,493     1,427     3,965     3,841    
                         
  Income before Income Taxes   11,530     13,336     26,726     29,780    
                         
  Income Taxes   3,888     4,523     9,263     10,258    
                         
  Net Income   7,642     8,813     17,463     19,522    
                         
  Preferred Stock Dividend Requirements   36     36     108     108    
                         
  Earnings Applicable to Common Stock $     7,606   $   8,777   $     17,355   $   19,414    
                       
  Earnings per share of Common Stock:                  
    Basic $     0.47   $   0.54   $     1.06   $   1.19    
    Diluted $     0.46   $   0.54   $     1.06   $   1.19    
                         
  Average Number of                  
    Common Shares Outstanding :                  
    Basic   16,340     16,284     16,324     16,262    
    Diluted   16,496     16,440     16,480     16,418    
                         
  Cash Dividends Paid per Common Share  $     0.2113   $   0.1988   $     0.6338   $   0.5963