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Fortis Inc. Reports Record Q2 Earnings: Is Now the Time to Buy?

Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS), one of the largest electric and gas utilities companies in North America, announced second-quarter earnings results before the market opened on July 31, and its stock has responded by rising over 1.5%. Let’s take a closer look at the results to determine if we should consider buying in to this rally, or if we should wait for it to subside.

The record-setting results

Here’s a summary of Fortis’s second-quarter earnings results compared with what analysts had expected and its results in the same period a year ago.

Metric Reported Expected Year-Ago
Adjusted Earnings Per Share $0.44 $0.44 $0.30
Revenue $1.54 billion $1.27 billion $1.06 billion

Source: Financial Times

In the second quarter of fiscal 2015, Fortis’s adjusted net income increased 89.2% to $123 million, its adjusted earnings per share increased 46.7% to $0.44, and its revenue increased 45.6% to $1.54 billion compared with the same quarter a year ago.

The company noted that these very strong results could be primarily attributed to its acquisition of UNS Energy in August 2014, which contributed $494 million in revenue, $52 million in earnings, and had a $0.09 accretive impact on earnings per share in the second quarter.

Here’s a quick breakdown of eight other notable statistics from the report compared with the year-ago period:

  1. Revenue increased 261.6% to $687 million in its U.S. regulated electric & gas utilities segment (including UNS Energy)
  2. Revenue decreased 5.3% to $676 million in its Canadian regulated electric & gas utilities segment
  3. Revenue decreased 5.1% to $74 million in its Caribbean regulated electric utilities segment
  4. Revenue remained unchanged at $65 million in its non-utility segment
  5. Revenue increased 272.7% to $41 million in its Fortis Generation segment
  6. Cash flow from operating activities increased 45.8% to $468 million
  7. Weighted average number of common shares outstanding increased 29.4% to 277.9 million
  8. Ended the quarter with $797 million in cash and cash equivalents, an increase of 166.6% from the beginning of the quarter

Should you buy Fortis today?

It was another great quarter for Fortis, so I think its stock responded correctly by moving higher. I also think the stock represents a great long-term investment opportunity today because it trades at attractive forward valuations and because it has a high dividend yield with a very impressive track record of increasing its annual payment.

First, Fortis’s stock still trades at just 17.8 times fiscal 2015’s estimated earnings per share of $2.05 and only 17 times fiscal 2016’s estimated earnings per share of $2.15, both of which are inexpensive compared with its five-year average price-to-earnings multiple of 20.4 and the industry average multiple of 21.4.

Second, Fortis pays a quarterly dividend of $0.34 per share, or $1.36 per share annually, which gives its stock a 3.7% yield at today’s levels. It is also important to note that the company has increased its dividend for 42 consecutive years, the record for a public corporation in Canada, and its increased amount of free cash flow could allow this streak to continue for the foreseeable future.

With all of the information above in mind, I think Fortis is a must-own stock. All Foolish investors should take a closer look and strongly consider making it a core holding today.

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Fool contributor Joseph Solitro has no position in any stocks mentioned.

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