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AltaGas Canada Inc. Announces Second Quarter 2019 Results; Increases Common Share Dividend 9.5 Percent

Calgary, Alberta--(Newsfile Corp. - August 8, 2019) - AltaGas Canada Inc. (TSX: ACI) ("ACI") today announced its second quarter 2019 financial results.

Highlights:

"Our overall business continues to perform very well and our dividend increase underscores our commitment to delivering shareholder value," said Jared Green, President and Chief Executive Officer of ACI. "We continue to progress on the reactivation of PNG's transmission pipeline and together with other opportunities, we expect to greatly expand our 5-year growth program, all within our self-funded model."

For the second quarter 2019, net income after taxes was $3.9 million ($0.13 per share), compared to $3.7 million ($0.12 per share) in the second quarter 2018. Normalized net income for the second quarter 2019 was $3.8 million ($0.13 per share) compared to adjusted normalized net income of $3.4 million ($0.11 per share) in the second quarter of 2018.

Second quarter 2019 normalized net income increased over the second quarter 2018 adjusted normalized net income primarily due to lower current income tax expense as a result of accelerated tax deductions related to Property Plant & Equipment and lower interest expense.

ACI's combined Utility rate base grew to approximately $900 million in the second quarter 2019, up approximately 5 percent from the second quarter 2018. Rate base growth at ACI's Utilities tends to result in a higher degree of seasonality as certain expenses such as depreciation and operating and administrative expenses increase and are distributed more evenly throughout the year.

In the second and third quarters, ACI's Utilities produce lower net income as a result of warmer seasonal weather and lower customer demand, while the first and fourth quarters produce higher net income due to colder seasonal weather and higher customer demand, which generally more than offsets the additional expenses resulting from growth.

Second quarter 2019 renewable results were lower compared to second quarter 2018. In the second quarter 2019, wind generation at the Bear Mountain Wind Park was 32.5 gigawatt hours (GWh) which is comparable to the long-term average for the second quarter of approximately 34 GWh. In the second quarter 2018, the Bear Mountain Wind Park benefitted from abnormally strong wind resources achieving 41.4 GWh.

Renewable generation in the second quarter 2019 at the Northwest Hydro Facilities was in-line with the second quarter 2018. The lower equity earnings in the quarter were primary due to timing of revenue recognition which is expected to reverse in the third quarter 2019.

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1.Non-GAAP measure; see discussion in the advisories of this news release and reconciliation to U.S. GAAP financial measures shown in ACI’s Management's Discussion and Analysis (MD&A) as at and for the period ended June 30, 2019, which is available on www.sedar.com.
2.Non-GAAP measure; see discussion in the advisories as well as the reconciliation to U.S. GAAP
financial measures in this press release.
3.Includes work-in-progress on multi-year projects which accrue allowance for funds used during construction.

2019 - 2023 Capital Program and Growth Initiatives

ACI now expects a capital program of $425 - $500 million between 2019 and 2023, including the potential reactivation of PNG's transmission pipeline and the Etzikom lateral pipeline project. The capital program also consists of investments in system betterment projects to maintain the safety and reliability of ACI's utility infrastructure, new business opportunities and technology improvements. ACI expects to continue utilizing a self-funded financing model for its capital program.

PNG Transmission Reactivation

On July 8, 2019, ACI announced that its wholly owned subsidiary Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. ("PNG") had filed an application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission ("BCUC") for approval of a large volume industrial transportation rate required in its proposed process for allocation of reactivated capacity on its western transmission pipeline (the "Application").

Should the BCUC approve the Application, PNG plans to conduct a binding open season where shippers would have the opportunity to bid on capacity of up to approximately 88 MMSCFD based on either firm Transportation Service Agreements ("TSA") or reserve capacity through Transportation Reservation Agreements.

Provided there are sufficient shipper commitments backed by TSAs, PNG would commence system reactivation and recommissioning work to prepare for returning the system back to full utilization. Depending on shipper demands and the requested delivery points, PNG estimates the capital cost for the reactivation, recommissioning and system reinforcement could be up to approximately $120 million.

Etzikom Lateral Pipeline Project

The Etzikom lateral pipeline, serving approximately 1,715 of AltaGas Utilities Inc.'s (AUI) customers in southeast Alberta, including rural areas surrounding the City of Medicine Hat and extending south to the hamlet of Etzikom and surrounding rural areas, is scheduled for abandonment by its current owner in the fourth quarter 2019. Construction of new facilities by AUI, the Etzikom Lateral Pipeline Project, is expected to be completed in the fourth quarter of 2019 at a cost of approximately $10 million. AUI expects the Alberta Utilities Commission to issue a final decision on the Etzikom Lateral Pipeline Project meeting Type 1 Capital Tracker criteria under the PBR 2 plan in 2020.

Providing natural gas utility service to energy export projects off the British Columbia coast.

ACI continues to receive increased interest throughout PNG's service territory from the enhanced economic activity energy export projects are bringing to the region. ACI now expects to spend approximately $5 million, to provide natural gas service to energy export projects. ACI continues to expect growth in economic activity as more export projects reach final investment decisions.

Outlook

Over the 2019 - 2023 time period ACI now expects approximately 6 percent compound annual normalized net income growth from the adjusted normalized net income of $40.5 million achieved in 2018. In 2019, ACI expects growth in adjusted normalized net income to be driven primarily by additions to rate base at the utilities, and stronger results from ACI's renewable power assets, partially offset by higher income tax expense.

ACI Dividend Declaration

On August 7, 2019 the Board of Directors of ACI declared a dividend of $0.26 per common share, payable on September 30, 2019 to shareholders of record at the close of business on August 30, 2019. The ex-dividend date is August 29, 2019. This dividend is an eligible dividend for Canadian income tax purposes.

Selected Financial Information

The following tables summarize key financial results:


Three Months Ended Six Months Ended


June 30
June 30
($ millions) 2019 2018 2019 2018
Normalized EBITDA(1)(2) 17.5 19.3 55.7 56.1
Operating income 8.5 11.2 37.1 40.8
Net income after taxes 3.9 3.7 23.2 23.9
Normalized net income(1) 3.8 3.8 24.3 22.8
Total assets 1,477.4 1,587.3 1,477.4 1,587.3
Total long-term liabilities 804.5 642.7 804.5 642.7
Net additions to property, plant and equipment 12.1 16.5 18.9 22.1
Dividends declared(3) 7.1 - 14.3 -
Cash from operations 21.3 47.3 42.6 59.1
Normalized funds from operations(1) 8.4 29.0 38.6 56.7

 


Three Months Ended Six Months Ended


June 30
June 30
($ per Common Share, except Common Shares outstanding) 2019 2018 2019 2018
Net income after taxes - basic 0.13 0.12 0.77 0.80
Net income after taxes - diluted 0.13 0.12 0.77 0.80
Normalized net income - basic(1) 0.13 0.13 0.81 0.76
Dividends declared(3) 0.2375 - 0.4750 -
Cash from operations 0.71 1.58 1.42 1.97
Normalized funds from operations(1) 0.28 0.97 1.29 1.89
         
Weighted average number of Common Shares outstanding - basic (millions)(4) 30.0 30.0 30.0 30.0

 

 

(1) Non-GAAP financial measure; see discussion in the advisories section of this news release and reconciliation to U.S. GAAP financial measures shown in ACI's MD&A as at and for the period ended June 30, 2019, which is available on www.sedar.com.
(2) Effective January 1, 2019, ACI revised the calculation of normalized EBITDA to incorporate ACI's proportionate share of normalized EBITDA from its equity investments instead of just the equity pick-up. The comparative period has been revised to conform to the current period presentation. Please refer to "Non-GAAP Financial Measures" section of this MD&A.
(3) Dividends declared per Common Share after the completion of the IPO.
(4) For comparative purposes, the Common Shares issued under the IPO including the Over-Allotment Option, have been assumed to be outstanding as of the beginning of each period, including the periods prior to the acquisition of ACI's assets from AltaGas Ltd.

Adjusted Normalized Net Income and Net Income After Taxes

For the three months ended June 30, 2018 ($ millions) As reported Adjustments Adjusted
Operating income $11.2 $- $11.2
Interest expense (1) (7.0) (0.5) (7.5)
Income tax expense (2) (0.5) 0.1 (0.4)
Net income after taxes $3.7 $(0.4) $3.3
Unrealized loss on foreign exchange contracts 0.1 - 0.1
Normalized net income (3) $3.8 $(0.4) $3.4

 

(1) Adjustment to reflect financing charges and expenses associated with incremental debt additions at the Company as if they had occurred at the beginning of the period. Please refer to the Capital Resources section of the MD&A as at and for the period ended June 30, 2019 for the capital structure subsequent to the acquisition of ACI's assets from AltaGas Ltd. and the IPO.
(2) Tax shield associated with incremental cost adjustments assuming a 27 percent statutory tax rate.
(3) Non-GAAP financial Measures. See Non-GAAP Financial Measures section of the MD&A as at and for the period ended June 30, 2019.

About ACI

ACI is a Canadian company with natural gas distribution utilities and renewable power generation assets. ACI serves approximately 130,000 customers, delivering low carbon energy, safely and reliably. For more information visit: www.altagascanada.ca.

For Further Information Contact:

Shareholder Relations
587-955-3660
Shareholder.Relations@altagascanada.ca

This news release contains forward-looking information (forward-looking statements). Words such as "may", "can", "would", "could", "should", "will", "intend", "plan", "anticipate", "believe", "expect", "project", "target", "potential", "objective", "continue", "outlook", "opportunity" and similar expressions suggesting future events or future performance, as they relate to ACI or any affiliate of ACI, are intended to identify forward-looking statements. In particular, this news release contains forward-looking statements with respect to, among other things, business objectives, expected growth, results of operations, performance, business projects and opportunities and financial results. Specifically, such forward-looking statements included in this document include, but are not limited to: expectation that ACI's 5-year capital spend program will be $425 - $500 million and the expected financing model for this capital; expected reversal of lower equity earnings due to timing of revenue recognition from the Northwest Hydro Facilities; expected 2019 year-end rate base of approximately $940 million; anticipated approximately $5 million investment to provide natural gas utility service to energy export related projects; expectations regarding arrangements in relation to the potential reactivation of PNG's transmission pipeline including the reactivation process, the process for determining customer demand and allocating capacity, prospective capacity of the western transmission pipeline, the estimated capital cost for the reactivation, commissioning and system reinforcement; expected compound annual normalized net income growth of approximately 6 percent between 2019 - 2023 from the 2018 adjusted normalized net income; anticipated drivers of growth in adjusted normalized net income; expected 2019 capital spend in the range of $75 to $85 million; expected abandonment of the Etzikom lateral pipeline by its current owner in the fourth quarter of 2019; capital spend of approximately $10 million on the Etzikom Lateral Pipeline Project; expected approval by the Alberta Utilities Commission and the in-service date for the Etzikom Lateral Pipeline Project; and timing of September dividend payment.

ACI's forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties which could cause results or events to differ from current expectations, including, without limitation: legislative and regulatory environment; demand for natural gas; access to and use of capital markets; market value of ACI's securities; ACI's ability to pay dividends; ACI's ability refinance its debt; prevailing economic conditions; the potential for service interruptions and physical damage to infrastructure; natural gas supply; ability of the company to maintain, replace and expand its regulated assets; and impact of labour relations and reliance on key personnel. Applicable risk factors are discussed more fully under the heading "Risk Factors" in ACI's Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2018, which is available on www.sedar.com.

Many factors could cause ACI's actual results, performance or achievements to vary from those described in this news release, including, without limitation, those listed above and the assumptions upon which they are based proving incorrect. These factors should not be construed as exhaustive. Should one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or should assumptions underlying forward-looking statements prove incorrect, actual results may vary materially from those described in this news release as intended, expected, projected or targeted and such forward-looking statements included in this news release, should not be unduly relied upon. The impact of any one assumption, risk, uncertainty or other factor on a particular forward-looking statement cannot be determined with certainty because they are interdependent and ACI's future decisions and actions will depend on management's assessment of all information at the relevant time. Such statements speak only as of the date of this news release. ACI does not intend, and does not assume any obligation, to update these forward-looking statements except as required by law. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are expressly qualified by these cautionary statements.

Financial outlook information contained in this news release about prospective financial performance, financial position or cash flows is based on assumptions about future events, including economic conditions and proposed courses of action, based on management's assessment of the relevant information currently available. Readers are cautioned that such financial outlook information contained in this news release should not be used for purposes other than for which it is disclosed herein.

This news release contains references to certain financial measures used by ACI that do not have a standardized meaning prescribed by U.S. GAAP and may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other entities. Readers are cautioned that these non-GAAP measures should not be construed as alternatives to other measures of financial performance calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP. The non-GAAP measures and their reconciliation to US GAAP financial measures are shown in ACI's MD&A as at and for the period ended June 30, 2019. These non-GAAP measures provide additional information that Management believes is meaningful in describing ACI's operational performance, liquidity and capacity to fund dividends, capital expenditures, and other investing activities. The specific rationale for, and incremental information associated with, each non-GAAP measure is discussed below.

Normalized net income represents net income after taxes adjusted for after tax impact of unrealized gain (loss) on foreign exchange contracts and other typically non-recurring items. This measure is presented in order to enhance the comparability of results, as it reflects the underlying performance of the Company. Normalized net income as presented should not be viewed as an alternative to net income after taxes or other measures of income calculated in accordance with U.S. GAAP as an indicator of performance.

Adjusted normalized net income reflects Management's estimates of ACI's normalized net income for the second quarter ended June 30, 2018 assuming the IPO had been closed at the beginning of the period. Although many of the adjustments are estimates and are not objectively determinable, ACI believes that the amounts represent reasonable estimates of its normalized net income for the second quarter ended June 30, 2018 based on the assumptions made. ACI believes adjusted normalized net income is useful to investors and analysts when trying to determine what the results of operations for 2018 would have been if it was under ACI's capital structure going forward.

Normalized EBITDA is a measure of the Company's operating profitability prior to how business activities are financed, assets are amortized, or earnings are taxed. Normalized EBITDA is calculated using operating income adjusted for depreciation and amortization expense, accretion expenses, foreign exchange gain (loss), unrealized gain (loss) on foreign exchange contracts, and other typically non-recurring items. Normalized EBITDA is frequently used by analysts and investors in the evaluation of entities within the industry as it excludes items that can vary substantially between entities depending on the accounting policies chosen, the book value of assets and the capital structure.

Normalized funds from operations is used to assist Management and investors in analyzing the liquidity of the Company without regard to changes in operating assets and liabilities in the period as well as other non-operating related expenses. Management uses this measure to understand the ability to generate funds for use in investing and financing activities.

To view the source version of this press release, please visit https://www.newsfilecorp.com/release/46799