CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 2, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- Piedmont Natural Gas (NYSE: PNY) is initiating earnings guidance in the range of $1.92 - $2.02 per diluted share for its fiscal year ending October 31, 2016 before any merger-related adjustments. This guidance for fiscal year 2016 reflects the following assumptions:
- Higher utility margin due to:
- Expected margin increases under the Integrity Management Riders (IMRs) in North Carolina and Tennessee;
- A $1.7 million margin increase in South Carolina under the annual rate stabilization adjustment;
- Gross utility customer additions of 1.6-2.0% in the Company's three state market area;
- Partially offset by lower wholesale secondary marketing margin due to an assumption of normal weather and additional wholesale pipeline capacity into our markets.
- O&M expense increases of less than 2% from fiscal year 2015 due primarily to higher payroll
- Higher depreciation expense and general taxes due to additional utility plant in service.
- Increased contributions from joint venture equity method investments due to increased allowance for funds used during construction (AFUDC) from the Constitution Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline projects.
- Utility AFUDC of about $13 million reflecting forecasted utility capital expenditure levels and project schedules.
- Utility capital expenditures (including AFUDC) in the range of $500-$600 million, including approximately $280 million related to system integrity projects, as well as net contributions of an additional $110 million to fund the Company's joint venture equity interests in the Constitution Pipeline and Atlantic Coast Pipeline projects.
- Higher interest expense primarily due to the full-year impact of the Company's $150 million long-term debt issuance in fiscal year 2015.
- Issuance of both new long-term debt and equity in fiscal year 2016 to maintain the Company's long term targeted capital ratios of 50% - 60% debt and 40% - 50% equity.
SOURCE Piedmont Natural Gas