Piedmont Natural Gas Reports Second Quarter 2013 Results

Jun 07, 2013, 16:20 ET from Piedmont Natural Gas

CHARLOTTE, N.C., June 7, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) today announced results for its second fiscal quarter ended April 30, 2013. For the quarter, the Company reported net income of $55.8 million, or $.74 per diluted share, compared to net income of $50.2 million, or $.70 per diluted share for the same period in 2012.

For the six months ended April 30, 2013, net income was $141.7 million and diluted earnings per share were $1.91, compared with net income of $126.4 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.75 for the same period in 2012.

Margin for the second quarter was $183.9 million, an increase of $11.9 million from the prior year's quarter. Margin for the six months ended April 30, 2013 was $415.5 million, an increase of $23.3 million from the prior year period. The increase in margin is primarily attributable to customer growth, new rates in Tennessee, increased volume deliveries in the residential, commercial, and industrial markets due to colder weather, and increased transportation services in the power generation markets.

Operations and maintenance expenses totaled $65 million during the second quarter of 2013, an increase of $4.5 million from the second quarter of 2012. The increase in O&M expenses for the quarter is primarily due to increases in contract labor expenses related to pipeline integrity and maintenance programs, employee benefits expense, regulatory expense amortizations, and transportation expense.  Operations and maintenance expenses totaled $120.9 million during the six months ended April 30, 2013, an increase of $2 million from the same period in 2012. The increase in O&M expenses for the six month period is primarily due to increases in contract labor expenses related to pipeline integrity and maintenance programs, regulatory expense amortizations, and transportation expense, partially offset by a decrease in employee benefits expense.

Pre-tax income from Piedmont's joint ventures was up 7% for the quarter and 9% for the six month period primarily due to improved performance at SouthStar Energy from increased customer usage related to colder weather. 

Utility interest charges for the quarter were $3.3 million compared to $5.7 million for the same period in 2012.  Utility interest charges for the six months ended April 30, 2013 were $7.8 million compared to $12.9 million for the same period in 2012.  The decrease is primarily due to an increase in AFUDC as a result of increased project construction expenditures, higher interest income from increased amounts due from customers, and lower short-term interest expense, all partially offset by an increase in interest expense on long-term debt, primarily due to higher amounts outstanding in 2013.

Company Announces Quarterly Dividend

At its regular quarterly meeting of the Board of Directors, the Company today announced the declaration of a quarterly dividend on Common Stock of 31 cents per share, payable on July 15, 2013 to holders of record at the close of business on June 24, 2013.

FISCAL 2013 EARNINGS GUIDANCE REAFFIRMED

Piedmont Natural Gas reaffirms its fiscal year 2013 earnings guidance of $1.67 to $1.77 per diluted share.

CONFERENCE CALL

In conjunction with the second-quarter earnings release, you are invited to listen to the conference call that will broadcast live over the Internet on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time, hosted by Chairman, President and CEO Thomas E. Skains. Log onto the web at www.piedmontng.com and click on For Investors. The conference call will be archived on the Presentation page of the website within the For Investors section.

Summary of Operations

(in thousands except per share amounts and degree days)

Three Months Ended

April 30

% Increase

2013

2012

(Decrease)

(Unaudited)

Operating Revenues

$

399,411

$

308,432

29

%

Cost of Gas

215,555

136,481

58

%

Margin

183,856

171,951

7

%

Operations and Maintenance Expenses

65,037

60,511

7

%

Depreciation

26,867

25,269

6

%

General Taxes

9,068

9,299

(2%)

Utility Income Taxes

31,380

28,090

12

%

Operating Income

51,504

48,782

6

%

Other Income (Expense), net

7,608

7,073

8

%

Utility Interest Charges

3,322

5,663

(41%)

Net Income

55,790

50,192

11

%

Average Shares of Common Stock:

Basic

75,463

71,731

5

%

Diluted

75,904

72,026

5

%

Earnings Per Share of Common Stock:

    Basic

$

.74

$

.70

6

%

 Diluted

$

.74

$

.70

6

%

System Throughput — Dekatherms

108,884

81,946

33

%

Gas Customers Billed in January

1,000

984

2

%

System Average Degree Days — Actual

1,418

865

64

%

System Average Degree Days — Normal

1,180

1,194

(1%)

Percent Normal Degree Days

120

%

72

%

n/a

Six Months Ended

April 30

% Increase

2013

2012

(Decrease)

(Unaudited)

Operating Revenues

$

915,286

$

780,272

17

%

Cost of Gas

499,806

388,085

29

%

Margin

415,480

392,187

6

%

Operations and Maintenance Expenses

120,919

118,908

2

%

Depreciation

53,569

51,447

4

%

General Taxes

18,596

17,920

4

%

Utility Income Taxes

84,679

75,311

12

%

Operating Income

137,717

128,601

7

%

Other Income (Expense), net

11,775

10,686

10

%

Utility Interest Charges

7,779

12,868

(40%)

Net Income

141,713

126,419

12

%

Average Shares of Common Stock:

Basic

73,884

71,931

3

%

Diluted

74,301

72,226

3

%

Earnings Per Share of Common Stock:

    Basic

$

1.92

$

1.76

9

%

 Diluted

$

1.91

$

1.75

9

%

System Throughput — Dekatherms

216,832

172,911

25

%

Gas Customers Billed in January

1,000

984

2

%

System Average Degree Days — Actual

3,109

2,433

28

%

System Average Degree Days — Normal

3,029

3,063

(1%)

Percent Normal Degree Days

103

%

79

%

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 place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements when making investment decisions. The words "expect," "believe," "project," "anticipate," "intend," "should," "could,"  "assume," "can," "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 only 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, industrial and power generation utility customers in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee.  Our subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, and regulated interstate natural gas transportation and storage and intrastate natural gas transportation businesses. More information about Piedmont Natural Gas is available on the Internet at http://www.piedmontng.com/.

SOURCE Piedmont Natural Gas



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