One thing I love about investing is discovering great stocks that perform well and have flown under the radar of many investors.
One such stock is Fortis Inc. (TSX:FTS). Fortis is a utility stock and therefore doesn’t receive the constant barrage of coverage that some other well-known companies receive. Fortis has no flashy products or massive delays in production; it offers a core service as a utility that customers and investors take for granted.
Because of the normalcy to Fortis’s operations, the assumption that many investors draw is that the company grows at a slow rate, has relatively few new innovations, and is, for the most part, a boring stock.
Let’s take a look at Fortis and prove this theory wrong.
Fortis is growing
Fortis is already the largest utility owner, serving the needs of three million customers across electricity, natural gas, and hydroelectric-generation operations.
Fortis has made a string of acquisitions in Canada, the U.S., as well as in the Caribbean. One of the most recent (and certainly the most interesting for investors) is the recent announcement to buy ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE:ITC) for US$11.3 billion, which includes US$6.9 billion in cash.
ITC is a pure-play electric transmission company that has operations in 18 different states, which means that Fortis will gain access to eight new states through the deal. ITC’s shareholders will emerge from the deal with a 27% stake in the combined company, which will be listed both in New York and Toronto.
Once complete, Fortis’s estimated value will reach $42 billion. The acquisition will make Fortis one of the largest utility companies in North America with over 25,000 km of transmission lines.
This latest acquisition is by no means the only one either. Over the past three years the company has purchased CH Energy Group Inc. for $1.5 billion and Arizona-based UNS Energy Corp. for $2.5 billion.
Fortis delivers impressive results
Fortis recently announced results for the fiscal year ended December 31, 2015. The results were fairly impressive, with the company posting an incredible 49.5% increase to $589 million in adjusted net earnings over the prior year.
Cash flow from operations increased by 70.4% to $1.67 billion and operating income increased by 39.7% to $1.43 billion. On a per-share basis, earnings came in at $2.11, representing a 20.6% increase over last year.
Fortis currently trades just below $40 and is up by 6.6% for the year. Fortis pays a quarterly dividend of $0.38 per share, giving the stock an impressive 3.76% yield. The dividend has been raised consecutively for 43 years; it’s likely to hit 44 years when the dividend is hiked again in September by an impressive 10.3%.
Fortis is one of the best options on the market at this point for long-term growth. Between the strong results, increasing dividend, and steady growth by acquisition, the company is well set up to offer growth to investors for years to come.
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Fool contributor Demetris Afxentiou has no position in any stocks mentioned.