TC PipeLines, LP (TCP)

Q4 2011 Earnings Call

February 17, 2012 12:00 pm ET


Steven D. Becker – President and Director

Sandra Ryan-Robinson – Principal Financial Officer

Stuart Kampel – Vice President and General Manager

Lee Evans – Manager, Investor Relations


Avi Feinberg – Morningstar

Rob Chisholm – Center Coast Capital

Ted Durbin – Goldman Sachs

William Adams – FAMCO



Good day, ladies and gentlemen. Welcome to the TC Pipelines LP 2011 fourth quarter results conference call. I would now like to turn the meeting over to Mr. Lee Evans, Manager, Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Lee Evans

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

Please note that a slide presentation will accompany the remarks and 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 accomplishments in 2011 followed by a review of our fourth quarter results and an update on the various developments concerning the Partnership and its sponsor, TransCanada Corporation.

Sandra will then review in detail our financial results for the fourth quarter. Steve will then return to wrap up the Partnership’s prepared remarks with some key takeaways. Following the prepared remarks, I will ask the 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’d now like to turn the call over to Steve.

Steve Becker

Thanks, Lee, and good day, everyone and thank you for joining us. Before I discuss our results for the quarter, I’d like to take a few minutes to quickly review some of our accomplishments in 2011 and highlight a very successful year for the Partnership. All of these activities, I’m proud to say, have created some very solid foundations which position us well as we pursue further growth opportunities.

In 2011, we increased our cash distributions paid by 3.4% compared to 2010. This was the twelfth year of increasing our cash distributions and this is strong evidence that our low risk business strategy continues to deliver value to our unit holders. The partnership also saw a strong financial performance across all of our assets. In 2011, Partnership cash flows increased 12% excluding the $20 million one-time cash distribution from GTN leaving us with a 1.3 times cash distribution coverage for the year. We generated over $200 million of cash flows for the first time in our history and now have assets in excess of $2 billion. Net income for the year was $157 million, or $3.02 per common unit.

Of course, these results would not have been possible without the acquisition of interests in GTN and Bison back in May from our sponsor, TransCanada. This acquisition enabled the Partnership to add significant long-term contracts to its overall portfolio while also diversifying the markets that it serves with the addition of Pacific Northwest in northern California via GTN.

Powder River Gas, which is accessed via the Bison pipeline, also diversifies our connections to various supply basins. In May we raised $338 million in equity in connection with GTN and Bison. In June we raised $350 million in ten-year debt through our first public debt offering. Bearing an interest rate of 4.65% made our debt one of the cheapest raised by an MLP last summer in the ten year market space.

This debt offering was supported by investment-grade credit ratings of BBB from S&P and Baa2 from Moody’s. In July we extended and doubled our revolving credit facility to $500 million from $250 million providing increased financial flexibility in pursuit of future growth.

I’ve planned to discuss the GTN and Tuscarora settlements in more detail later in the call. I wanted to quickly highlight that we were able to reach negotiated rate case settlements for both pipelines in the second half of 2011. We believe that negotiated outcomes are beneficial for our unit holders. Outcome from these settlements will provide long-term cash flow certainty for the Partnership.

Finally, this past December, the Partnership moved over to the New York Stock Exchange and changed its trading symbol to TCP. We believe this move better aligns us with our MLP peers, and our sponsor, TransCanada, will also provide better trading liquidity for our unit holders. In all, a busy year for our partnership, but one that we believe has created solid foundations for future growth.

Turning to slide 5 in our package, fourth quarter 2011 financial highlights, I’m turning now to our quarterly financial results. TC PipeLines reported strong partnership cash flows of $83 million for the quarter. With distribution policies now in place for GTN and Bison, the Partnership recorded a $20 million one-time distribution from GTN.

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