Aqua America, Inc. (WTR) announced that its subsidiary Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater has acquired the Penn Township wastewater system in Chester County for $3.7 million.
Aqua Pennsylvania Wastewater intends to upgrade the existing Penn Township wastewater system and make it compliant with environmental regulations. Roughly $2 million needs to be spent to upgrade the system. The acquired system currently caters to 776 residential and 25 commercial customers including Jennersville Regional Hospital in Penn Township.
Recently, Aqua America announced a drinking water and wastewater system improvement program for 2014. Under the program, the company intends to invest $13.4 million. The project will include treating water through new treatment plants, wells, pipelines and other infrastructure to provide clean water and reliable services to its customers.
Some of the wastewater system projects are already under construction. Aqua America expanded its customer base by 1.3% on the back of 15 acquisitions completed in 2013 and 18 acquisitions in 2012. In the past 15 years the company completed nearly 300 acquisitions. The trend continues with the company closing four acquisitions in the first quarter of 2014 including the currently acquired Pennsylvania wastewater system.
Aqua America intends to invest $325.0 million in 2014 and more than $1.0 billion in the coming three years to upgrade its existing infrastructure. We believe the completion of these infrastructural programs will further strengthen Aqua America’s existing system and enable it to efficiently cater to its expanding customer base.
Other Stocks to Consider
Aqua America currently holds a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Other better ranked stocks in the water utility space include and American States Water Co. (AWR), Middlesex Water Co. (MSEX) and Companhia de SaneamentoBasico do Estado de Sao Paulo (SBS). All these stocks carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).