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Here's Why You Should Add UGI Stock to Your Portfolio Now

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·5 min read
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UGI Corporation’s UGI strategic acquisitions, expanding customer base and a stable cash flow from operations are likely to enhance its existing operations further. Also, Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2021 and 2022 earnings have moved 3.4% and 1.9% north, respectively, in the past 60 days.

Zacks Rank & Price Performance

UGI Corp. currently carries a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

Shares of the company have surged 39.1% in the past six months, outperforming the industry’s rise of 12.6%.

Northward Growth Projections

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2021 earnings stands at $3 per share, indicating a 12.36% improvement from the prior-year reported figure. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2022 earnings stands at $3.24 per share, implying an 8.17% increase from the year-earlier reported number. The long-term (three-five years) earnings growth rate is pegged at 8%.

Prudent Strategic Moves

The utility’s acquisition of Columbia Midstream Group, LLC, now known as UGI Appalachia, showed consistent strength. Also, the company’s buyout of GHI Energy, LLC, a renewable natural gas company operating in California, is helping it expand its renewable product offerings and support its environmentally-friendly goals.

Also, the utility inked a deal to buy Mountaineer for $540 million including $140 million of debt, which is expected to close in the second half of the calendar year. Further, in the second-quarter fiscal 2021, its unit UGI Energy Services, LLC acquired a 49% interest through a joint venture (JV) in Pine Run Midstream for $56 million, which contributed to its quarterly earnings.

Moreover, in May, it entered into a JV to develop dairy farm digester projects to produce renewable natural gas (RNG) in upstate New York. Alongside acquisitions, the company disposed its 5.97% ownership interest in the Conemaugh coal-fired generating station during fiscal 2020 to reduce the total Scope I direct emissions by more than 30%.

Steady Dividend Raises

Backed by its operating performance and efficient capital deployment, the company could reward its shareholders through annual dividend hikes and share repurchases. In May, 2021, UGI Corp.’s board of directors hiked its quarterly dividend rate to 34.5 cents per share or $1.38 on an annual basis, up 4.5% from the previous quarterly rate of 33 cents.

This marks the company’s 137th consecutive year of dividend payment and 34th straight year of annual dividend raise. Also, this increase is in line with the company’s target to up dividend by 4% in the long term. Moreover, the utility has a current dividend yield of 2.94% compared with the S&P 500 composite’s 1.30% average.

Strong Financial Position

The company exited the fiscal second quarter with $1.6 billion liquidity, which is adequate to meet its current debt obligations. Also, as of Mar 31, 2021, it had total debt of $6,344 million, slightly down from $6,381 million on Sep 30, 2020. Also, its total debt to total capital ratio came in at 56.79 at the end of second-quarter fiscal 2021, down from 60.67 at the end of fiscal 2020.

Its times interest earned ratio was 4.58 for the second quarter of fiscal 2021, up from 3.50, sequentially. The ratio of more than 1 underlines the company’s ability to meet its debt obligations in the near future without any trouble.

Solid Return on Equity (ROE)

ROE is a financial metric that helps an investor understand how efficiently the company is using its shareholders’ funds for generating returns. The company’s ROE for the trailing 12 months is 14.86% compared with the industry’s 12.67%, reflecting its efficiency in utilizing its stockholders’ money.

Stocks to Consider

A few other top-ranked utilities are CMS Energy Corporation CMS, NewJersey Resources Corporation NJR and Avista Corporation AVA, all carrying the same Zacks Rank as UGI Corp. at present.

CMS Energy delivered a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 6.84%, on average. The company has a long-term (three to five years) earnings growth rate of 6.62%.

NewJersey Resources has a long-term earnings growth rate of 7.1%. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for fiscal 2021 earnings has been revised 16.8% upward in the past 60 days.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Avista’s 2021 earnings has been revised 1.4% upward in the past 60 days. It has a long-term earnings growth rate of 5.44%.

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