Eversource: New Name in the Spotlight

03/27/2015 7:00 am EST

Focus: STOCKS

David Dittman

Chief Investment Strategist, Australian Edge, Canadian Edge, & Utility Forecaster

As of February 19, 2015, when management rang the opening bell to start the day’s trading at the NYSE, this company changed its name from Northeast Utilities, explains David Dittman, editor of Utility Forecaster.

The company—a buy in our Income Portfolio Aggressive portfolio and our latest Income Spotlight Stock—is now Eversource Energy (ES).

And while the name has changed, the underlying business continues to support forecasts of 6% to 8% annual per-share growth for earnings and dividends from a 2014 base through 2018. That’s well above peer-group averages of 4% to 6%.

Management reported 2014 earnings per share of $2.58, up from $2.49 a year ago. Excluding exceptional items, Eversource earned $2.65 per share, up from $2.53 in 2013.

Eversource expects to earn between $2.75 and $2.90 per share in 2015. And Eversource boosted its dividend by 6.4% to $0.4175 per share per quarter or $1.67 on an annualized basis.

The company added 10,600 new natural gas customers and it executed $723 million of electric transmission projects, including completion of its section of the Interstate Reliability Project in northeastern Connecticut.

Still New England’s largest energy provider with more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers, Eversource is also executing on several large-scale infrastructure projects that will enhance reliability and stability of the region’s power supply.

The $1.4 billion Northern Pass transmission project is on track for an in-service date in the second half of 2018.

The Access Northeast natural gas pipeline, a joint venture with Spectra Energy (SE) and National Grid (NGG), will boost earnings by an estimated $0.20 to $0.25 per share when it comes on line in November 2018.

Solid financially and with a strong track record of executing its strategy, Eversource Energy by any name is one of the highest-quality utilities in the US.

Eversource Energy—formerly Northeast Utilities—remains a buy under $54.

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