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With 14% Earnings Growth, Did Unitil Corporation (NYSE:UTL) Outperform The Industry?

Simply Wall St

For investors, increase in profitability and industry-beating performance can be essential considerations in an investment. Below, I will examine Unitil Corporation's (NYSE:UTL) track record on a high level, to give you some insight into how the company has been performing against its long term trend and its industry peers.

Check out our latest analysis for Unitil

Did UTL beat its long-term earnings growth trend and its industry?

UTL's trailing twelve-month earnings (from 31 December 2018) of US$33m has jumped 14% compared to the previous year.

Furthermore, this one-year growth rate has exceeded its 5-year annual growth average of 7.1%, indicating the rate at which UTL is growing has accelerated. How has it been able to do this? Well, let’s take a look at whether it is solely because of industry tailwinds, or if Unitil has experienced some company-specific growth.

NYSE:UTL Income Statement, April 21st 2019

In terms of returns from investment, Unitil has fallen short of achieving a 20% return on equity (ROE), recording 9.4% instead. However, its return on assets (ROA) of 4.5% exceeds the US Integrated Utilities industry of 4.5%, indicating Unitil has used its assets more efficiently. Though, its return on capital (ROC), which also accounts for Unitil’s debt level, has declined over the past 3 years from 7.0% to 5.9%. This correlates with an increase in debt holding, with debt-to-equity ratio rising from 131% to 141% over the past 5 years.

What does this mean?

While past data is useful, it doesn’t tell the whole story. Companies that have performed well in the past, such as Unitil gives investors conviction. However, the next step would be to assess whether the future looks as optimistic. I suggest you continue to research Unitil to get a better picture of the stock by looking at:

  1. Future Outlook: What are well-informed industry analysts predicting for UTL’s future growth? Take a look at our free research report of analyst consensus for UTL’s outlook.
  2. Financial Health: Are UTL’s operations financially sustainable? Balance sheets can be hard to analyze, which is why we’ve done it for you. Check out our financial health checks here.
  3. Other High-Performing Stocks: Are there other stocks that provide better prospects with proven track records? Explore our free list of these great stocks here.

NB: Figures in this article are calculated using data from the trailing twelve months from 31 December 2018. This may not be consistent with full year annual report figures.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned. Thank you for reading.