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OVERLAND PARK, Kan., June 9, 2014 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Ferrellgas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:FGP) today reported strong financial results for the fiscal 2014 third quarter ended April 30, with Adjusted EBITDA and gross profit reaching record levels.
Adjusted EBITDA improved to $99.8 million from $98.5 million in the year-earlier quarter. Distributable cash flow to equity investors was $75.7 million producing distributable cash flow coverage on the partnership's quarterly distribution of 1.2x. Gross profit increased 3% to $230.5 million on anticipated margin improvement.
Reflecting the third-quarter performance and the establishment of midstream operations in May 2014, the partnership raised its fiscal 2014 Adjusted EBITDA guidance to a record $285 million to $290 million, up from previously provided guidance of $275 million to $285 million. The partnership posted record Adjusted EBITDA of $272 million for fiscal 2013.
President and Chief Executive Officer Steve Wambold pointed out, "I am extremely pleased with the way our propane operations team performed during what proved to be a very challenging quarter. While temperatures in the quarter were 5% colder than a year ago, the partnership contended with significant propane supply and infrastructure challenges that negatively impacted our efficiency metrics. However, these same industry challenges provided the partnership the opportunity to acquire many new customers due to service failures experienced by other providers."
Propane sales volumes for the quarter were 257.9 million gallons, slightly below a year ago, but consistent with planned levels. This year's winter heating season was more evenly spread over the partnership's fiscal second and third quarters contrasted with last year, which was heavily concentrated in the fiscal third quarter.
Operating expense in the quarter was $113.9 million, compared to $107.2 million in the year-earlier quarter, primarily reflecting the increased cost associated with meeting customer demand while contending with seasonably cold temperatures and propane supply shortages. General and administrative expense decreased to $12.2 million from $13.4 million, but excluding the timing of performance-based incentives was materially in line with the prior-year quarter. Interest expense declined 9% to $20.2 million, reflecting the favorable long-term debt refinancing completed last fall.