Piedmont Natural Gas Reports Third Quarter Results

Sep 05, 2013, 16:31 ET from Piedmont Natural Gas

CHARLOTTE, N.C., Sept. 5, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) today announced results for its third quarter ended July 31, 2013.  For the quarter, the Company reported a seasonal loss of $2.3 million or ($.03) per diluted share compared with a loss of $4.6 million or ($.06) per diluted share for the same period in 2012.  For the nine months ended July 31, 2013, net income was $139.4 million and diluted earnings per share were $1.86, compared with net income of $121.8 million and diluted earnings per share of $1.69 for the same period in 2012.

Piedmont's Chairman, President, and CEO, Thomas E. Skains, commented on the results, "We are pleased with our year to date performance in 2013.  In particular, customer growth continues to show steady improvement with residential and commercial customer additions increasing 15 percent from last year.  We now forecast gross customer growth for fiscal year 2013 between 1.0 percent and 1.5 percent.  The abundance and affordability of natural gas continues to position our product as the energy consumers' best choice and value."

Utility margin increased $10.5 million for the quarter and $33.8 million for the nine months ended July 31, 2013 compared to the same periods in 2012.  The increase in margin is primarily attributable to customer growth and increased volume deliveries in the residential, commercial, and industrial markets due to colder winter weather, and increased transportation services in the power generation markets following the successful completion of the Sutton project.

Operations and maintenance expenses increased $3.7 million and $5.7 million for the three- and nine-month periods ended July 31, 2013, respectively.   The increase in O&M expenses for the quarter is due to increases in utilities, employee benefits, contract labor and other miscellaneous expenses.  The increase in O&M expenses for the nine month period is due to contract labor expenses, utilities, regulatory expenses and other miscellaneous expenses, partially offset by a decrease in employee benefits expense.

Pre-tax income from equity method investments increased $.4 million for the quarter and $2 million for the nine months primarily due to colder weather in the markets served by SouthStar and the first year of the Company's investment activity in the Constitution Pipeline project.

Company Announces Quarterly Dividend

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

FISCAL 2013 EARNINGS GUIDANCE REAFFIRMED AT UPPER END OF RANGE

Piedmont Natural Gas reaffirms its fiscal year 2013 earnings guidance of $1.67 to $1.77 per diluted share and expects full year earnings per share to be near the upper end 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 9, 2013, at 10:00 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

2013

2012

(Decrease)

(Unaudited)

(Unaudited)

Operating Revenues

$162,943

$161,123

1%

Cost of Gas

65,943

74,663

(12)%

Margin

97,000

86,460

12%

Operations and Maintenance Expenses

62,950

59,248

6%

Depreciation

28,599

25,532

12%

General Taxes

8,307

8,275

-%

Utility Income Taxes

(3,447)

(4,082)

16%

Operating Income (Loss)

591

(2,513)

124%

Other Income (Expense), net

2,819

1,977

43%

Utility Interest Charges

5,703

4,077

40%

Net Loss

(2,293)

(4,613)

50%

Average Shares of Common Stock:

     Basic

75,774

71,936

5%

     Diluted

75,774

71,936

5%

Earnings Per Share of Common Stock:

     Basic

($0.03)

($0.06)

50%

     Diluted

($0.03)

($0.06)

50%

System Throughput - Dekatherms

83,112

75,818

10%

Gas Customers Billed in July

985

969

2%

System Average Degree Days - Actual

77

13

492%

System Average Degree Days - Normal

49

49

-%

Percent Normal Degree Days

157%

27%

-

Nine Months Ended

July 31

% Increase

2013

2012

(Decrease)

(Unaudited)

(Unaudited)

Operating Revenues

$1,078,229

$941,395

15%

Cost of Gas

565,749

462,748

22%

Margin

512,480

478,647

7%

Operations and Maintenance Expenses

183,869

178,155

3%

Depreciation

82,168

76,980

7%

General Taxes

26,903

26,196

3%

Utility Income Taxes

81,232

71,228

14%

Operating Income

138,308

126,088

10%

Other Income (Expense)

14,594

12,664

15%

Utility Interest Charges

13,482

16,946

(20)%

Net Income

$139,420

$121,806

15%

Average Shares of Common Stock:

     Basic

74,521

71,933

4%

     Diluted

74,987

72,233

4%

Earnings Per Share of Common Stock:

     Basic

$1.87

$1.69

11%

     Diluted

$1.86

$1.69

10%

System Throughput - Dekatherms

299,943

248,730

21%

Gas Customers Billed in July

985

969

2%

System Average Degree Days - Actual

3,186

2,446

30%

System Average Degree Days - Normal

3,078

3,111

(1)%

Percent Normal Degree Days

104%

79%

-

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," "guidance," 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 customers in portions of North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee, including customers served by municipalities who are wholesale customers. Our subsidiaries are invested in joint venture, energy-related businesses, including unregulated retail natural gas marketing, 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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