Unitil Co. (UTL) Given Consensus Recommendation of “Hold” by Analysts

Unitil Co. (NYSE:UTL) has been given an average broker rating score of 2.50 (Hold) from the two analysts that provide coverage for the company, Zacks Investment Research reports. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating and one has issued a strong buy rating on the company.

Brokerages have set a 1-year consensus price objective of $51.50 for the company and are forecasting that the company will post $0.75 EPS for the current quarter, according to Zacks. Zacks has also assigned Unitil an industry rank of 80 out of 257 based on the ratings given to related companies.

Several brokerages have issued reports on UTL. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Unitil from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Thursday, October 25th. ValuEngine raised shares of Unitil from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 21st.

A number of hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of UTL. Renaissance Technologies LLC increased its position in Unitil by 9.4% during the second quarter. Renaissance Technologies LLC now owns 783,800 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $40,005,000 after purchasing an additional 67,375 shares during the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its position in shares of Unitil by 4.0% in the 2nd quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 1,133,518 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $57,855,000 after buying an additional 43,921 shares during the last quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. lifted its position in shares of Unitil by 5.8% in the 3rd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 763,438 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $38,859,000 after buying an additional 41,978 shares during the last quarter. Frontier Capital Management Co. LLC lifted its position in shares of Unitil by 4.9% in the 3rd quarter. Frontier Capital Management Co. LLC now owns 876,351 shares of the utilities provider’s stock worth $44,606,000 after buying an additional 41,006 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Assenagon Asset Management S.A. bought a new position in shares of Unitil in the 3rd quarter worth about $1,984,000. 65.25% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.

Shares of Unitil stock traded down $1.40 during trading on Wednesday, hitting $50.19. 48,672 shares of the stock traded hands, compared to its average volume of 32,787. Unitil has a 52 week low of $40.92 and a 52 week high of $53.07. The firm has a market capitalization of $754.06 million, a PE ratio of 24.36, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 6.32 and a beta of 0.06. The company has a current ratio of 0.67, a quick ratio of 0.63 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 1.06.

Unitil (NYSE:UTL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Thursday, October 25th. The utilities provider reported $0.19 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.07 by $0.12. Unitil had a net margin of 7.65% and a return on equity of 9.65%. The company had revenue of $88.20 million for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $86.90 million. As a group, analysts predict that Unitil will post 2.21 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Thursday, November 29th. Investors of record on Thursday, November 15th were given a dividend of $0.365 per share. This represents a $1.46 annualized dividend and a yield of 2.91%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Wednesday, November 14th. Unitil’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 70.87%.

Unitil Company Profile

Unitil Corporation, a public utility holding company, engages in the distribution of electricity and natural gas in the United States. It operates through three segments: Utility Gas Operations, Utility Electric Operations, and Non-Regulated. The company distributes electricity in the southeastern seacoast and state capital regions of New Hampshire, and the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts; and distributes natural gas in southeastern New Hampshire, portions of southern Maine to the Lewiston-Auburn area, and in the greater Fitchburg area of north central Massachusetts.

Further Reading: Cash Flow

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