Williams Companies Management Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Williams Companies (WMB)

Q2 2012 Earnings Call

August 02, 2012 9:30 am ET


John Porter

Alan S. Armstrong - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director, Chairman of Williams Partners Gp Llc and Chief Executive Officer of Williams Partners Gp Llc

Rory Lee Miller - Senior Vice President of Midstream

Frank J. Ferazzi - Vice President, Director and Member of Management Committee

Donald R. Chappel - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President


Kevin A. Smith - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Bradley Olsen - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc., Research Division

Craig Shere - Tuohy Brothers Investment Research, Inc.

Carl L. Kirst - BMO Capital Markets U.S.

Stephen J. Maresca - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Theodore Durbin - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Holly Stewart - Howard Weil Incorporated, Research Division

Sharon Lui - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

Rebecca Followill - U.S. Capital Advisors LLC, Research Division



Good day, everyone, and welcome to the Williams Company Second Quarter 2012 Earnings Release Conference Call. Today's call is being recorded. At this time, for opening remarks and introductions, I would like to turn the call over to Mr. John Porter, Head of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, sir.

John Porter

Thank you. Good morning, and welcome. As always, we thank you for your interest in Williams. As you know, yesterday afternoon, we released our financial results and posted several important items on our website, williams.com. These items include the press release of our results with related schedules and our analyst package; a presentation on our results and growth opportunities with related audio commentary from our President and CEO, Alan Armstrong; and an update to our quarterly data book, which contains detailed information regarding various aspects of our business.

This morning, Alan will make a few brief comments, and then we will open the discussion for Q&A. Rory Miller is here from our Midstream business; Randy Barnard is here from our Gas Pipeline business; and our CFO, Don Chappel, is also available to respond to any questions.

In yesterday's presentation and also in the quarterly data book, you will find an important disclaimer related to forward-looking statements. This disclaimer is important and integral to all of our remarks and you should review it. Also, included in our presentation materials are various non-GAAP measures that have been reconciled back to generally excepted accounting principles. Those reconciliation schedules appear at the back of the presentation materials.

So with that, I'll turn it over to Alan.

Alan S. Armstrong

Great. Thanks, John, and good morning. Thanks for joining us and it's a busy time right now, and so we appreciate you being able to take the timeout for us. Well, certainly, despite a very disappointing financial performance in the second quarter and significantly lower margin forecast for the balance of '12 and '13, we're very pleased that despite that, we're able to continue to remain confident in our very well-supported dividend growth, which is still at 55% here in 2012 and 20%, both in '13 and '14. So a lot of our confidence on that continues to come from the degree of coverage that we've had built into our model, as well as the extraordinary maintenance costs or maintenance capital we have built into PZ right now, and as well a lot of continued strong growth coming from our fee-based business.

Our second quarter performance was certainly impacted by a rapid decline in NGL prices, but a few things as well. It is one thing, I think, that isn't always obvious in the way we report is that we also have a pretty significant amount of product that's in transit that has held in pipelines. And of course, that gets remarked each quarter based on the pricing decline. So in fact, in this period, we had about $22 million impact on that over and above what you would see in your typical pricing model. So whenever we see prices move down, that gets somewhat accelerated. And when we see it move back, the other way it comes back to us.

But there were certainly were other factors as well beyond pricing. Some growing pains, the Boreal Pipeline line fill. The high start-up O&M cost associated with the Caiman pipeline -- or sorry, the Caiman acquisition that we now refer to as Ohio Valley and as well, quite a bit of depreciation expense going on with that as well. But we also had higher maintenance costs, which we accelerated some of our work on a lot of our Western plants as we had a third-party fractionator being out during the second quarter that requires us to take some of our plants down, so we took advantage of that and accelerated things like a lot of turbine overhauls, embezzled maintenance during the period.

The good news for the quarter, a 19% increase in our fee-based view businesses within our midstream portion of WPZ. And we certainly had great progress on our major project execution going on during the quarter as well. So we remain very confident in the way our model is growing particularly on the fee-based business side.

Just commenting quickly on prices. Certainly, the second quarter dropped that we have from the first and second quarter was over 20% on our NGL margins, and the balance of the year is forecasted to be approximately 30% lower than what we recognized in the first quarter of '12. So we certainly have, in this model, we have taken it down to what we're seeing and certainly, we expect for prices, particularly on the light-end products, ethane and propane, to be very choppy as we see a lot of new infrastructure and supply coming on of the NGL side, but a bit ahead of a lot of the Petrochemical build out and some of the export build out on the propane side.

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