Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC (NKA)

F3Q12 Earnings Call

August 03, 2012 10:00 am ET


Simon Dupéré - President & CEO

Jason Dubchak - VP, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary

Rick Staples - EVP

Vance Powers - CFO


Darren Horowitz - Raymond James

Michael Blum - Wells Fargo



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Good day ladies and gentlemen and welcome to the first quarter 2013 Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC earnings conference call. My name is Jasmine and I will be your coordinator for today. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. We will be facilitating a question-and-answer session towards the end of today's conference. (Operator Instructions) As a reminder this conference is being recorded for replay purposes. I would now like to turn the presentation over to your host for today's call to Mr. Simon Dupéré, President and CEO. You may proceed, sir.

Simon Dupere

Thank you, Jasmine and thank you everyone for joining us. On our call today we will discuss our results for the quarter ended June 30, 2012 and provide an update on our operations and market outlook for fiscal 2013. Speaking on the call with me will Rich Staples, our Executive Vice President who will provide a market update and Vance Powers our CFO who will provide financial details. Following our prepared remarks we will open the call to questions. But first Jason Dubchak, our Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary will read the customary cautionary statements.

Jason Dubchak

Thank you, Simon. Before we begin I would like to advise everyone that we may make statements on the call that could be considered forward-looking statements as defined by the SEC. Future financial performance and operational results are subject to numerous contingencies, many of which are beyond our control. Any forward-looking statements we make are qualified by the risk factors and other information set forth in our Form 10-K filed in June and the Form 10-Q which we will file shortly with the SEC.

In addition in discussing our results we will refer to the financial measures, adjusted EBITDA and cash available for distribution which are non-GAAP measures. A reconciliation of these measures to the most directly comparable GAAP measure, net earnings is included in the press release we issued this morning and is available on our website at With that I will hand things back to Simon.

Simon Dupéré

Thank you, Jason. As you saw in our press release this morning our adjusted EBITDA for the first quarter ended June 30, 2012 was $52.7 million and cash available for distribution was $37.3 million. These results included a benefit of approximately $1.3 million from an inventory write-down recorded in fourth quarter of fiscal 2012.

We are satisfied with our results which came a bit above our expectation, but we expect the overall results for 2013 to be within our guidance. Though we entered the quarter with wider seasonal spreads, we've seen this narrow as a result of moderating growth of natural gas supplies coupled with near-term weather related demand and significant coal to gas switching by electric utilities.

Beyond these near-term weather effects we believe demand for natural gas as a whole will continue to increase and that the uptick in summer prices will be followed at some point by increase in future prices for winter and beyond. Rick will provide more details on the market environment later in the call.

While market challenges persist, we have already locked in approximately 85% of our estimated revenue for the year while retaining the ability to capture additional market opportunities should they occur. Accordingly we are maintaining our previous guidance for fiscal year ending March 31 2013 of adjustment EBITDA of $130 million to $140 million and cash available for distribution of $62 million to $72 million. You may recall last quarter that we had substantially completed and placed into service an additional 15 Bcf of capacity at our Wild Goose facility.

During this quarter we completed most of the remaining work at our Wild Goose facility and continued commissioning and start up activity. The cost realized in the quarter was simply a carryover from last year’s capital expenditure projection of $65 million to $75 million. As of the end of last fiscal year, total expansion capital expenditure for Wild Goose were $51 million. We spent an additional $15.3 million on the project over the past quarter and expect to spend a further $5 million to complete the program.

This will put our capital program for the Wild Goose expansion project at $70 million right in the mid range of our projections. We also declared our quarterly distribution of $0.35 per common unit to unit holders of record at the close of business of Monday August 13, 2012. The distribution is unchanged from previous year. In addition we continued the expansion of distributions on our subordinated units.

As part of our successful quarter we also engaged our lending syndicate in the renewal and extension of our $400 million credit facility. The new four year agreement expiring June 2016 improves our borrowing costs through a better pricing grid and the elimination of a LIBOR floor. The new extended facility provides ample liquidity for our optimization and growth activities.

Vance will cover this transaction and other financial information in greater detail in this call. With that I will turn the call over to Rich to discuss our commercial outlook.

Rich Staples

Thank you Simon and good morning everyone. I want to take a few moments to review some of the events that played out in the energy markets over the past quarter and also provide some perspective on our outlook for the remainder of fiscal 2013.

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