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Piedmont Natural Gas Reports Third Quarter Results

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CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 7, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) today announced results for its third quarter ended July 31, 2012.  For the quarter, the Company reported a seasonal loss of $4.6 million or ($.06) per diluted share compared with a loss of $8.7 million or ($.12) per diluted share for the same period in 2011.  For the nine months ended July 31, 2012, net income was $121.8 million and diluted earnings per share were $1.69, compared with net income of $123.1 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.70 for the same period in 2011.

Utility margin increased by $4.5 million for the quarter and decreased by $6.3 million for the nine months ended July 31, 2012 compared to the same periods in 2011.  The increase in margin for the quarter was primarily due to customer growth in the Company's residential and commercial markets, increased base rates in Tennessee and increased services in its power generation markets.  For the nine months ended July 31, 2012, utility margin declined primarily due to substantially warmer winter weather compared to the same nine months of the prior year and reduced opportunities in the secondary wholesale markets. Margin decreases for the nine months were partially offset by customer growth.

Operations and maintenance expenses increased by $5.9 million and $14.8 million for the three- and nine-month periods ended July 31, 2012, respectively, compared to the same periods in 2011. For both periods, the increase is primarily due to higher payroll, contract labor expenses incurred in process improvement and pipeline safety activities, and in employee benefits expenses.

Pre-tax income from equity method investments was $3.3 million for the three months ended July 31, 2012, compared with $2.4 million for the same period in 2011. The increase for the quarter is primarily due to improved performance from SouthStar due to lower gas costs and from Cardinal Pipeline due to an expansion project for customers.  For the nine months ended July 31, 2012, pre-tax income from equity method investments was $21.2 million compared with $22.5 million for the same period in 2011 due to warmer weather in the markets served by SouthStar partially offset by improved performance by Cardinal Pipeline.

Fiscal 2012 Earnings Guidance Reaffirmed with Revised Emphasis Toward Middle of Range

Piedmont Natural Gas reaffirms its fiscal year 2012 earnings guidance of $1.58 to $1.68 per diluted share with a revised emphasis toward the middle of the range. 

Conference Call

In conjunction with this third-quarter earnings release, you are invited to listen to the conference call that will be broadcast live over the Internet on Monday, September 10, 2012, at 11:00 a.m. Eastern Time, hosted by Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer Thomas E. Skains.  Log on to the web at 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 Investors section.

 

Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc.







Summary of Operations







(in thousands except per share amounts and degree days)












Three Months Ended


July 31


% Increase



2012


2011


(Decrease)



(Unaudited)


(Unaudited)



Operating Revenues


$161,123


$197,274


(18)%

Cost of Gas


74,663


115,311


(35)%

Margin


86,460


81,963


5%

Operations and Maintenance Expenses


59,248


53,351


11%

Depreciation


25,532


26,128


(2)%

General Taxes


8,275


9,206


(10)%

Utility Income Taxes


(4,082)


(7,111)


43%

Operating Income (Loss)


(2,513)


389


(746)%

Other Income (Expense), net


1,977


2,286


(14)%

Utility Interest Charges


4,077


11,378


(64)%

Net Loss


(4,613)


(8,703)


47%

Average Shares of Common Stock:







     Basic


71,936


72,007


-%

     Diluted


71,936


72,007


-%

Earnings Per Share of Common Stock:







     Basic


($0.06)


($0.12)


50%

     Diluted


($0.06)


($0.12)


50%

System Throughput - Dekatherms


71,543


60,243


19%

Gas Customers Billed in July


969


960


1 %

System Average Degree Days - Actual


13


58


(78)%

System Average Degree Days - Normal


49


50


(2)%

Percent Normal Degree Days


27%


116%


-








Nine Months Ended


July 31


% Increase



2012


2011


(Decrease)



(Unaudited)


(Unaudited)



Operating Revenues


$941,395


$1,241,897


(24)%

Cost of Gas


462,748


756,997


(39)%

Margin


478,647


484,900


(1)%

Operations and Maintenance Expenses


178,155


163,344


9%

Depreciation


76,980


76,601


-%

General Taxes


26,196


29,767


(12)%

Utility Income Taxes


71,228


71,003


-%

Operating Income


126,088


144,185


(13)%

Other Income (Expense)


12,664


14,219


(11)%

Utility Interest Charges


16,946


35,259


(52)%

Net Income


$121,806


$123,145


(1)%

Average Shares of Common Stock:







     Basic


71,933


72,010


-%

     Diluted


72,233


72,235


-%

Earnings Per Share of Common Stock:







     Basic


$1.69


$1.71


(1)%

     Diluted


$1.69


$1.70


(1)%

System Throughput - Dekatherms


241,972


223,663


8%

Gas Customers Billed in July


969


960


1%

System Average Degree Days - Actual


2,446


3,410


(28)%

System Average Degree Days - Normal


3,111


3,115


-%

Percent Normal Degree Days


79%


110%


-

 

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 and industrial utility customers in North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including 53,000 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



RELATED LINKS
http://www.piedmontng.com

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