Unitil Co. has been a prominent player in the electricity and natural gas industry, providing distribution services to locals for years. Its reputation for reliable services had garnered attention from investors, including Victory Capital Management Inc., who previously held a significant position in the company’s shares. However, in recent times, it appears that Victory Capital Management has repositioned its investment strategy by reducing its stake in Unitil Co.
According to the latest Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, filed by Victory Capital Management on February 16th, 2021; their percentage ownership of Unitil Co. has decreased significantly by approximately 45.8%. These figures reveal that during the last quarter, Victory Capital Management sold approximately 124,159 shares of Unitil stock out of its total holdings of 146,988 shares.
This sell-off begs several questions about the investment strategy adopted by Victory Capital Management. Still, from analyzing this move alongside previous trends that have shaped Unitil Co.’s market performance over the past year, one could potentially discern some reasons why they would be willing to reduce their exposure.
Interestingly enough, Unitil’s share price performed exceptionally throughout much of 2020 following a general pandemic-induced market dip earlier in March of that year when it was trading at lows near $48 per share. As expected with most utility companies operating within monopolistic markets with limited competition like Unitil Co. Within months by August featured impressive gains nearing its price ceiling $61 per share range.
However currently – The good old days seem almost gone with its prices stifled at sub-$55 levels since then in spite of solid return on equity numbers for Q4 fiscal year-endings which remain healthy relative to other industry averages .
Concerns have been raised regarding intense scrutiny experienced over topics such as climate control policies/efficacy charging policies increasing concerns on rate reviews set forth regulatory authority under public utilities commissions thereby decreasing foreseeable earnings via the flow of expected revenues.
These combined factors may act as an impetus to why Victory Capital Management decided to cut back on their investments in Unitil Co. That being made clear to the discerning eye, it remains important for investors and market analysts to keep a close watch on Unitil’s performance and how this might impact other players within the electricity and natural gas distribution industry.
Unitil Corporation: M&A Developments, Investing Activities, Dividend Payouts, and Market Insights
Unitil Corporation: M&A Developments, Investing Activities, and Dividend Payment
Shares of Unitil Corporation (NYSE: UTL) have been in focus recently as several hedge funds and institutional investors have bought or sold large stakes in the utilities provider company. Advisors Asset Management Inc. raised its stake in Unitil by 5.3% in the third quarter to reach a total of 15,144 shares valued at $703,000 after acquiring an additional 764 shares during that period. The increase in shares came as no surprise since their financial performance has remained consistent over the years. Meanwhile, Foundry Partners LLC boosted its holdings in Unitil by 0.5% in the fourth quarter to now own 112,590 shares worth $5,783,000 after buying an additional 510 shares during the period.
Aside from hedge fund traction, brokerage firms have also provided market insights on UTL through a number of reports regarding their latest price target and rating changes. Royal Bank of Canada recently raised their price target on the stock from $55.00 to $56.00 while giving it a “sector perform” rating on Friday, February 17th. Meanwhile earlier this year StockNews.com also initiated coverage on Unitil with a “hold” rating set for the utility corporation’s stocks.
One other important element that long-term investors should keep up-to-date with is dividend payments. Just last May 30th, Unitil announced that their quarterly dividend will be issued to shareholders at a rate of $0.405 per stock share held by those on record last May 16th–which represents a great way for shareholders to earn passive income.
Unitil has established itself as one of the leading utility companies across New England due to its deep expertise in natural gas and electric industries with over nine decades of experience altogether since they opened shop back on March 23rd, 1929.
Overall as utility companies continue to take center stage in global markets, analysts believe that hedge funds and institutional investors will still favor UTL as their consistent yet moderate approach allows it to stand out as one of the most stable investments for long-term portfolios.
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