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MDU Resources Reports First Quarter Earnings Increase, Growth Projects and Acquisition

May 02, 2018

MDU Resources Group, Inc. (NYSE: MDU) today reported first quarter earnings from continuing operations of $41.9 million, or 22 cents per share, compared to first quarter 2017 earnings from continuing operations of $35.5 million, or 18 cents per share. Including discontinued operations, MDU Resources reported first quarter earnings of $42.4 million, or 22 cents per share, compared to $37.2 million, or 19 cents per share, in 2017.

“We are off to a strong start this year, and we anticipate the momentum will continue as we execute on a number of growth projects,” said David L. Goodin, president and CEO of MDU Resources. “Our construction services business more than doubled its first quarter earnings compared to last year, and both our utility business and our pipeline business posted very solid results. Our construction materials business posted higher revenues for the quarter, experiencing milder weather in the Northwest.

“We recently announced that we expanded our construction materials market share in northwest Oregon with the acquisition of Teevin & Fischer Quarry,” Goodin said. “We are also pleased to announce two new natural gas pipeline projects. The Demicks Lake Project is a 14-mile, $30 million pipeline in the Bakken region, and the Line Section 22 Expansion is a $12 million to $15 million project in the Billings, Montana, area.”

Business Unit Highlights

Regulated Energy Delivery
The electric and natural gas utility business earned $45.7 million in the first quarter, up from $42.2 million in 2017. Electric sales were approximately 3 percent higher while natural gas sales were approximately 1 percent lower. Rate relief approved through the regulatory process and weather normalization, which in certain jurisdictions allows utility charges based on normal energy consumption, helped offset warmer winter conditions in some areas. The utility has reached a tentative natural gas rate settlement in Montana, which requires final regulatory approval, that would increase annual revenues about $975,000. The settlement is approximately 65 percent lower than the company's original request, reflecting the benefits of the federal Tax Cuts and Jobs Act enacted in December.

Earnings were up 36 percent at the pipeline and midstream business to $5.3 million, compared to $3.9 million in first quarter 2017. The company transported a record volume of natural gas through its system in the first quarter, partly due to completing two projects in 2017 that increased capacity. Construction is expected to begin this month on two expansion projects: the 38-mile Valley Expansion project in eastern North Dakota and western Minnesota and the 13-mile Line Section 27 project in northwestern North Dakota. An open season was recently completed in which the company secured sufficient capacity commitments from customers to proceed with its Demicks Lake Project, which includes approximately 14 miles of 20-inch pipeline in McKenzie County, North Dakota. Construction is expected to begin in 2019, with an in-service date in the fall of 2019. The company also had a successful open season on its Line Section 22 project near Billings. This project is scheduled for construction in 2019, with an estimated in-service date in late 2019, and will expand capacity by approximately 22.5 million cubic feet per day. The company continues to consider additional growth projects to increase natural gas transportation capacity across its system.

Construction Materials and Services
The construction services business experienced record revenues in the first quarter and more than doubled its earnings to $15.1 million compared to $7.4 million in first quarter 2017. The company performed power line repair work following several severe storms, particularly on the East Coast, and saw an increase during the quarter in sales and rentals of electrical tools and the utility construction equipment it manufactures. Its inside specialty contracting businesses also continued to perform well. This business is evaluating potential acquisition opportunities. Its backlog of work at March 31 was $675 million, compared to $529 million in 2017.

The construction materials business experienced a normal seasonal loss in the first quarter, with a loss of $23.5 million this year compared to $19.9 million in the first quarter of 2017. New income tax rates reduced the tax benefit to the company’s winter-season loss. Absent the effect of federal tax reform, the construction materials business would have recorded a smaller loss in first quarter 2018 than it had in first quarter 2017. The company recently announced that it acquired Teevin & Fischer Quarry, a crushed rock and gravel supplier in northwestern Oregon, and it continues to evaluate additional acquisition opportunities. The construction materials backlog of work at March 31 was $692 million, compared to $725 million in 2017.

Guidance

MDU Resources affirmed 2018 earnings per share guidance in the range of $1.25 to $1.45, based on these assumptions:

  • Normal operating conditions and weather conditions, including precipitation and temperatures, across all service areas.
  • No significant acquisitions or divestitures.
  • Investing $631 million for capital projects.
  • Construction services revenues in the range of $1.45 billion to $1.60 billion and construction materials revenues in the range of $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion with margins comparable or slightly higher than 2017.

Corporate Strategy

MDU Resources’ strategy is to increase market share and profitability in its regulated energy delivery and construction materials and services businesses, while enhancing value through organic growth opportunities and strategic acquisitions of well-managed companies and properties. The company, on a consolidated basis, anticipates 5 to 8 percent long-term compound annual growth on earnings per share.

Conference Call

MDU Resources will discuss first quarter results on a webcast at 2 p.m. EDT May 3. The event can be accessed at www.mdu.com. Webcast and audio replays will be available through May 17 at 855-859-2056, or 404-537-3406 for international callers, conference ID 5478625.

About MDU Resources

MDU Resources Group, Inc., a member of the S&P MidCap 400 index and the S&P High-Yield Dividend Aristocrats index, is Building a Strong America® by providing essential products and services through its regulated energy delivery and construction materials and services businesses. For more information about MDU Resources, see the company’s website at www.mdu.comor contact the Investor Relations Department at investor@mduresources.com.

Media Contact: Laura Lueder, manager of communications and public relations, 701-530-1095
Financial Contact: Jason Vollmer, vice president, chief financial officer and treasurer, 701-530-1755