IdaCorp Merges Innovation and Tradition

| About: IDACORP, Inc. (IDA)

Founded in 1915 and located in Boise, IdaCorp (NYSE:IDA) delivers power to Idaho and parts of Oregon. While much of the business is what you’d expect from this kind of company -- hydroelectric dams, coal plants, and purchased power -- IdaCorp is doing some interesting things that make it worth watching.

This company is divided up into a few subsidiaries. Beyond Idaho Power, there is IdaComm, which focuses on telecommunications. In a very clever bit of bundling, IdaCorp is using its infrastructure and client base to provide Internet and phone service and increase its revenues while minimizing many of the capital outlays of other telecommunications companies. Meanwhile, IdaCorp Financial develops affordable housing (no doubt supplying the power and Internet to these new homes) and IdaWest owns several hydroelectric dams.

IdaCorp used to own a green-tech division called IdaTech, which developed fuel cell systems and fuel-processing systems based on its own proprietary technology that enabled the extraction of hydrogen for eco-friendly power. This division was recently sold on July 20 to a company called Investec; IdaCorp will benefit from the proceeds of the sale, and the deal also frees the company to focus more on its core businesses.

With this kind of forward-looking management and diversified offerings, it’s no surprise that IdaCorp’s stock has been on the rise. It’s currently trading at $37, its 52-week high, and the stock has been rising pretty steadily since it dropped below $28 last fall. The company’s first quarter was very strong, with revenues jumping 30 percent from the previous quarter, and the sale of IdaTech should allow the company to focus itself and improve its profitability even more. Plus there’s a dividend of $.30 cents a share.

Type of stock: A traditional power company with one eye on new technologies and alternative energies and, with a market cap of only $1.6 billion, there's lots of room for growth ahead.

Price target:
This company’s growth has been steady, but there are often downward blips. If you see one of them -- for example if you see it drop below $35 now that it’s at $37 -- I’d jump in and hold this one for a while and keep it for the long, long term.

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