Water utility operator Aqua America (NYSE: WTR ) reported third-quarter results yesterday after the markets closed, showing that it posted net revenues of $204.4 million, a near 5% decline from the same period in the previous year, and below the $215.4 million Capital IQ consensus estimate.
While adjusted net income came in at $63.6 million, or $0.36 per share, well ahead of the $50.7 million, or $0.29 per share, in the same period in 2012, it was also a penny-per-share better than the CapIQ estimates of $0.35 per share.
Aqua America says its results were affected by above average rainfall that caused customers to consume less water. Additionally, it didn't have a distribution system improvement charge (DSIC) surcharge in Pennsylvania following a settlement reached over rates in the state.
The rate order reduced by 2.82% the amount the utility's Pennsylvania subsidiary charged customers in the state beginning this past January, but by adopting the repair tax accounting change, Aqua America is also allowed a tax deduction for investments that were formerly capitalized for tax purposes. In short, the change allows the utility to deduct on its taxes capital investments for infrastructure improvements by claiming them as repairs.
The water utility operator didn't provide guidance for the coming quarter, but analysts anticipate Aqua America will post earnings of $0.25 per share in the fourth quarter on revenues of $191.3 million.