TC PipeLines, LP ( TCLP)

Q3 2011 Earnings Conference Call

October 27, 2011 12:00 ET


Lee Evans – Manager, Investor Relations

Steve Becker – President and Principal Executive Officer

Sandra Ryan-Robinson – Principal Financial Officer

Stuart Kampel – Vice President and General Manager


Gabe Moreen – Merrill Lynch

Michael Cerasoli – Goldman Sachs

John Tysseland – Citigroup

David LaBonte – Kayne



Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the TC PipeLines, LP 2011 Third Quarter Results Conference Call. I would now like to turn the meeting over to Mr. Lee Evans, Manager, Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Mr. Evans.

Lee Evans – Manager, Investor Relations

Thank you, operator and good day, everyone. I’d like to welcome you to TC PipeLines third quarter 2011 conference call. I am joined today by our President, Steve Becker; and our Principal Financial Officer, Sandra Ryan-Robinson, and as well Vice President and General Manager, Stuart Kampel.

Please note that a slide presentation will accompany the remarks, which is available on our website at, where it can be found in the Investor Center section, under the heading, Events & Presentations.

Steve will begin today with the review of TC PipeLines third quarter results. Following that Steve will provide an update on the activities concerning the Partnership and its sponsor, TransCanada Corporation. Sandra will then proceed to review in more detail our financial results for the third quarter followed by Steve returning to provide the wrap up of the quarter and to leave you with some key messages. Following the prepared remarks, I will ask the conference coordinator to coordinate – conference operator to coordinate your questions.

Before we begin, I’d like to remind you that certain statements made during this conference call will be forward looking regarding future events and our future financial performance. All forward looking statements are based on our beliefs, as well as our assumptions made by and information currently available to us. These statements reflect our current views with respect to future events and are subject to various risks, uncertainties, and assumptions as discussed in detail in our 2010 10-K, as well as our subsequent filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

If one or more of these risks or uncertainties materialize, or if the underlying assumptions prove incorrect, actual results may differ materially from those described in the forward-looking statements.

With that, I will now turn the call over to Steve.

Steve Becker – President and Principal Executive Officer

Thanks, Lee. And good day, everyone and thank you for joining us. Before I begin my prepared remarks, I’d like to introduce Sandra Ryan-Robinson. Sandra is recently appointed as Principal Financial Officer for the Partnerships General Partner replacing Rob Jacobucci, who has been appointed to another role within TransCanada. Prior to appointment Sandra was serving as an officers of our General Partner and is also responsible for the accounting and financial reporting of TransCanada’s Canadian Pipeline segment.

If you turn to slide 4, the map on slide 4, shows our investment portfolio of six natural gas pipelines. The addition of the new assets in May 2011 has given us more diversification and more stability in terms of longer term cash flows for our unitholders. There are several shorter term items on each asset that are part of our third quarter results that we will cover in the upcoming slides. On a longer term basis, the partnership remains well positioned with strong cash flow in the future from these investments.

Turning to slide 5, as outlined in yesterday’s news release TC Pipelines reported Partnership cash flows of $43 million for the quarter. During the quarter we paid out $42 million in cash distributions to our unitholders. Net income increased in the third quarter 2011 to $41 million compared to the third quarter 2010 net income of $39 million. The third quarter 2011 net income is equivalent to $0.75 per common unit. Last week we announced $0.77 quarterly cash distribution for the third quarter. This marks the Partnership’s 50th consecutive quarterly distribution pay to our unitholders.

The third quarter distribution is in line with our second quarter 2011 distribution and represents a 3% increase over the same period last year. GTN and Bison will begin distributing cash in Q4 2011. The cash distribution from these assets will reflect both second and third quarter results. Our policy is to base our cash distribution on the prior quarter results.

In the third quarter, we made a conscious decision to keep cash at the asset level of GTN and Bison. As we will explain later, Bison has had an operating disruption and GTN was in the midst to rate case settlement negotiations. With Bison now back into full operation and the GTN rate case settlement filed we’ll commence distributions from these assets in the fourth quarter.

In terms of the specific volume flow and re-contracting statistics for the long-haul pipelines these are shown on slide six, Northern Border continues to perform well and its results reflect one of the best downstream options for shippers to move gas out of Western Canada. Average scheduled volumes for the third quarter of 2011 were approximately 2.5 Bcf a day and we're in line with levels seen from the same period last year. Northern Border continuous to experience strong demand for its transportation, it also remains substantially contracted for almost all of its capacity through October 2012.

In terms of organic growth the Princeton lateral project relating to Northern Border continues to progress well, the latter will supply natural gas to power generation facility. Construction activity started in the third quarter and we remain on schedule for an in-service date in November this year.

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