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Piedmont Natural Gas Reports Results For Fiscal Year 2011

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Dec. 23, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) today announced results for its fiscal year ended October 31, 2011.  For the year, the Company reported net income of $113.6 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.57 compared with net income of $142 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.96 for 2010.  Results for 2010 include the gain on Piedmont's sale of one-half of its 30 percent ownership interest in SouthStar Energy Services (SouthStar) to AGL Resources (AGLR) on January 1, 2010 for $57.5 million. The after-tax gain on the transaction was $30.3 million or $0.42 per diluted share.

Commenting on the Company's fiscal year 2011 results, Piedmont Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Thomas E. Skains said, "We are pleased to announce today another year of solid financial results, positive growth in our core utility business through the addition of approximately 10,500 new customers, and continuing progress in our large utility capital expansion plans to serve natural gas fired power generation growth within our home state of North Carolina.  We look forward to the coming year as we focus on strategies to promote the benefits of clean-burning and domestically abundant natural gas, provide excellent customer service, and enhance shareholder value by expanding our core natural gas and complementary energy-related businesses."

System throughput in 2011 totaled 280 million dekatherms, compared with 253 million dekatherms for the previous year.  The increase was largely due to weather in 2011 that was 10 percent colder than normal and 4 percent colder than 2010, a 10 percent increase in natural gas deliveries to industrial customers and a 33 percent increase in deliveries to power generation customers.

Margin increased by $21 million from the previous year primarily due to increased volumes and services to industrial and power generation customers and residential and commercial customer growth.  Operations and maintenance expenses for the year increased $5.5 million from the previous year primarily due to increased vehicle and transportation expenses, higher materials expense and a regulatory disallowance of some prior years' franchise fees in one of our jurisdictions.

Pre-tax income from equity method investments decreased $4.8 million year to year primarily due to lower earnings contributions from SouthStar at the lower 15 percent ownership interest during the entire fiscal year 2011.

FISCAL 2012 EARNINGS GUIDANCE REAFFIRMED

Piedmont Natural Gas reaffirms its fiscal year 2012 earnings guidance of $1.58 to $1.68 per diluted share issued on November 1, 2011. 

DIVIDEND

At its regular quarterly meeting of the Company's Board of Directors on December 16, 2011, Piedmont Natural Gas announced the declaration of a quarterly dividend on Common Stock of $0.29 per share, payable January 13, 2012, to holders of record at the close of business on December 27, 2011.

CONFERENCE CALL

In conjunction with this year-end earnings release, you are invited to listen to the conference call that will be broadcast live over the Internet on Wednesday, January 4, 2012, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Log on to the web at http://www.piedmontng.com and click on Investors, then on Presentations. The conference call will be archived on the Presentations page of the website within the Investor Relations section.

 

Piedmont Natural Gas

Summary of Operations

(in thousands except per share amounts and degree days)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Twelve Months Ended

 

October 31

 

% Increase

 

 

2011

 

2010

 

(Decrease)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Operating Revenues

 

$1,433,905

 

$1,552,295

 

(8)%

Cost of Gas

 

860,266

 

999,703

 

(14)%

Margin

 

573,639

 

552,592

 

4%

Operations and Maintenance Expenses

 

225,351

 

219,829

 

3%

Depreciation

 

102,829

 

98,494

 

4%

General Taxes

 

38,380

 

33,909

 

13%

Utility Income Taxes

 

64,068

 

62,082

 

3%

Operating Income

 

143,011

 

138,278

 

3%

Other Income (Expense), net

 

14,549

 

47,387

 

(69)%

Utility Interest Charges

 

43,992

 

43,711

 

1%

Net Income

 

113,568

 

141,954

 

(20)%

Average Shares of Common Stock:

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Basic

 

72,056

 

72,275

 

- %

     Diluted

 

72,266

 

72,525

 

- %

Earnings Per Share of Common Stock:

 

 

 

 

 

 

     Basic

 

$1.58

 

$1.96

 

(19)%

     Diluted

 

$1.57

 

$1.96

 

(20)%

System Throughput - Dekatherms

 

279,761

 

252,615

 

11%

Gas Customers Billed in October

 

958

 

947

 

1 %

System Average Degree Days - Actual

 

3,662

 

3,535

 

4%

System Average Degree Days - Normal

 

3,318

 

3,321

 

-%

Percent Normal Degree Days

 

110%

 

106%

 

n/a

 

Forward-Looking Statement

This press release contains forward-looking statements. These statements are based on management's current expectations and information currently available and are believed to be reasonable and are made in good faith. However, the forward-looking statements are subject to future events, risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those projected in the statements. Factors that may make the actual results differ from anticipated results include, but are not limited to, weather conditions, rate of customer growth, the cost and availability of natural gas, competition from other energy providers, new legislation and regulations and application of existing laws and regulations, economic and capital market conditions, the cost and availability of labor and materials and other uncertainties, all of which are difficult to predict and some of which are beyond our control. For these reasons, you should not rely on these forward-looking statements when making investment decisions. The words "expect," "believe," "project," "anticipate," "intend," "should," "could,"  "assume,"  "estimate," "forecast," "future," "indicate," "outlook," "plan," "predict," "seek," "target," "would," and variations of such words and similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Forward-looking statements are based on information available to us as of the date they are made and we do not undertake any obligation to update publicly any forward-looking statement, either as a result of new information, future events or otherwise. More information about the risks and uncertainties relating to these forward-looking statements may be found in Piedmont's latest Forms 10-K and 10-Q, which are available on the SEC's website at http://www.sec.gov/.

About Piedmont Natural Gas

Piedmont Natural Gas is an energy services company primarily engaged in the distribution of natural gas to more than one million residential, commercial and industrial utility customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including 51,800 customers served by municipalities who are wholesale customers. Our subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, interstate natural gas storage and intrastate natural gas transportation. More information about Piedmont Natural Gas is available on the Internet at http://www.piedmontng.com/.

 

 

 

SOURCE Piedmont Natural Gas



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http://www.piedmontng.com

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