TC PipeLines, LP. (TCP)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

July 25, 2012 11:00 am ET


Lee Evans - Manager, IR

Steve Becker - President

Sandra Ryan-Robinson - Principal Financial Officer

Stuart Kampel - VP and GM


Ted Durbin - Goldman Sachs

John Tysseland - Citigroup

Winfried Fruehauf - W. Fruehauf Consultants



Good day, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to the TC PipeLines, LP 2012 Second Quarter Results.

I would now like to turn the meeting over to Mr. Lee Evans, Manager, Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Mr. Evans.

Lee Evans

Thank you, operator, and good day, everyone. I’d like to welcome you to TC PipeLines second quarter 2012 conference call. I’m 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, 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 a review of TC PipeLines second quarter results and provide an update on the various developments concerning the partnership. Sandra will then proceed to review in detail our financial results for the first quarter. Steve will then return and 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 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 2011 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’ll now turn the call over to Steve.

Steve Becker

Good morning, everyone. As highlighted in our press release this morning, I'm pleased to announce that TC PipeLines has increased its quarterly cash distribution by $0.01 to $0.78 per common unit payable on August 14, 2012. this represents a 1.3% increase compared to both the first quarter 2012 and second quarter 2011 distribution of $0.77 per common unit. This marks the Partnership's 53 consecutive quarterly distribution and also the 13th consecutive year since our inception back in 1999 that we've raised distribution at least once annually. The increase in the quarterly cash distribution reflects our conservative investment approach and the benefit of the Partnership's overall portfolio of essential energy infrastructure.

Turning to our second quarter financial results, the Partnership generated cash flows of $52 million in the second quarter, an increase of $4 million compared to the second quarter of 2011. During the quarter we paid over $42 million in cash distributions to our unitholders.

The high storage levels and low natural gas prices impacted Great Lakes transmission revenues during the quarter. The acquisition of interest in both GTN and Bison in 2011 has continued to help diversify the Partnership's earnings and cash flow which is very transparent in our results this quarter.

Net income in the second quarter was $33 million compared to $36 million in the second quarter last year. The second quarter 2012 net income is equivalent to $0.60 per common unit.

I'd now like to take a few moments to highlight some of our Partnership's business developments that occurred during the quarter. These are shown on slide six.

Great Lakes volumes were down in the second quarter compared to last year. With long haul summer capacity being fully contracted in the quarter at a lower rate versus last year the high storage levels in Michigan and Eastern Canada has meant there has been less need to utilize Great Lakes contracted capacity. Great Lakes remained substantially contracted through the rest of the summer and through the end of October albeit at rates lower than last year. As we look forward to our third quarter results, we anticipate the Great Lakes net income will be down roughly the same amount as it was in the second quarter when you compare it to the corresponding quarter in 2011.

Looking out beyond October 2012, Great Lakes remained 22% contracted. As we’ve highlighted before, Great Lakes ability to sell it’s future available capacity will depend on a number of factors which include the weather, levels of natural gas storage, price of natural gas liquids, and the associated impact to natural gas production in North America, and as well the outcome of TransCanada’s mainline toll bearing.

Still believe that Great Lakes is fundamental to the market that it serves. Great Lakes has traditionally being a storage refill pipeline in the summer and a peak, which are demand pipeline and believe that it will serve this need in the future. We anticipate that the demand for transportation services on Great Lakes will return once the current market conditions correct itself.

In terms of Northern Border, it had another excellent quarter. While the second quarter is typically a shoulder season Northern Border it operated at full capacity. As the pipeline has been running full out for quick sometime, we anticipate we will need to perform some maintenance activities in the second half of the year. Northern Border remains substantially contracted for all of its capacity through March 2013, and continues to experience strong demand for transportation services. For Border’s contracts that recently came up the renewal in the last quarter, the majority of which were renewed for terms of three years or longer resulting in Border now being approximately 67% sold through to the end of 2014.

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