New Jersey Resources (NJR) 22Q4 Update

NJR reported 22Q4 GAAP net income of $0.56 per diluted share and net financial earnings (NFE), a non-GAAP measure, of $0.50 per basic share.  That compares with the 21Q4 GAAP loss of $0.01 per share and NFE per basic share (NFEPS) of $0.17.

As expected, NJR initiated fiscal 2023 NFEPS guidance $2.42-$2.52.  That compares with fiscal 2022’s NFEPS of $2.50.  Fiscal 2022’s strong performance benefited from certain temporary factors, mostly associated with the increase in natural gas prices, that are not expected to be repeated.  Adjusting for that estimated $0.25 benefit, the fiscal 2023 guidance represents a potential increase in NFEPS of 9.8%, slightly above the company’s long-term annual growth target of 7%-9%.

The higher NFEPS growth rate for fiscal 2023 is due primarily to benefits associated with an asset management agreement (AMA) executed between NJR’s New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) utility and its Energy Services business that releases capacity on certain transportation and storage assets.  NJNG receives a fixed fee for the capacity releases and Energy Services can maximize the potential value of these assets by marketing unused capacity to third parties.

My projections for fiscal 2023 show GAAP diluted EPS of $2.43 and NFEPS of $2.48, which is within NJR’s guidance range.  I have also modeled fiscal 2024 GAAP EPS of $2.64 and NFEPS of $2.68.  My fiscal 2024 NFEPS estimate represents a growth rate of 8.3%, which is within the company’s long-term annual NFEPS target range.

NJR’s stock has significantly outperformed both the broader market and peers over the past month and now trades at a slight premium to the peer group average.  With that advance, I have raised my price target on the stock from $43.00 to $51.00.  The new price target incorporates a one year forward valuation multiple of 19.2 applied to projected fiscal 2024 NFEPS of $2.68.  Along with the current dividend yield of 3.3%, the price target represents a potential total return of 9.6%.  Consequently, I am reducing my performance rating from “2” (Outperform) to “3” (Neutral).

This is a summary of my recent report on New Jersey Resources Corp. (NJR). To obtain a copy of the full report, please reach out to me using the contact information provided below.

November 21, 2022

Stephen P. Percoco
Lark Research
839 Dewitt Street
Linden, New Jersey 07036
(908) 975-0250

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