Available Cash before Reserves. Available Cash before Reserves, also referred to as distributable cash flow, is commonly used as a supplemental financial measure by management and by external users of financial statements such as investors, commercial banks, research analysts and rating agencies, to assess: (1) the financial performance of our assets without regard to financing methods, capital structures, or historical cost basis; (2) the ability of our assets to generate cash sufficient to pay interest costs and support our indebtedness; (3) our operating performance and return on capital as compared to those of other companies in the midstream energy industry, without regard to financing and capital structure; and (4) the viability of projects and the overall rates of return on alternative investment opportunities. Because Available Cash before Reserves excludes some items that affect net income or loss and because these measures may vary among other companies, the Available Cash before Reserves data presented in this press release may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies.
Available Cash before Reserves is a performance measure used by our management to compare cash flows generated by us to the cash distribution paid to our common unitholders. This is an important financial measure to our public unitholders since it is an indicator of our ability to provide a cash return on their investment. Specifically, this financial measure aids investors in determining whether or not we are generating cash flows at a level that can support a quarterly cash distribution to the partners. Lastly, Available Cash before Reserves is the quantitative standard used throughout the investment community with respect to publicly-traded partnerships.
Available Cash before Reserves is net income as adjusted for specific items, the most significant of which are the addition of non-cash expenses (such as depreciation and amortization), the substitution of distributable cash generated by our equity investees in lieu of our equity income attributable to our equity investees, the elimination of gains and losses on asset sales (except those from the sale of surplus assets) and unrealized gains and losses on derivative transactions not designated as hedges for accounting purposes, the elimination of expenses related to acquiring or constructing assets that provide new sources of cash flows and the subtraction of maintenance capital expenditures, which are expenditures that are necessary to sustain existing (but not to provide new sources of) cash flows.