Brookfield Infrastructure's CEO Discusses Q2 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners L.P. (BIP)

Q2 2012 Results Earnings Call

August 8, 2012 9:00 AM ET

Executives

Tracey Wise – Vice President, Investor Relations

Sam Pollock – Chief Executive Officer

John Stinebaugh – Chief Financial Officer

Analysts

Bert Powell – BMO Capital Markets

Cherilyn Radbourne – TD Securities

Michael Goldberg – Desjardins Securities

Brendan Maiorana – Wells Fargo

Robert Kwan – RBC Capital Markets

Timm Schneider – Citigroup

Presentation

Operator

Hello. This is the Chorus Call Conference Operator. Welcome to the Brookfield Infrastructure Partners’ Conference Call and Webcast to present the company’s 2012 Second Quarter Results to Unitholders. As a reminder, all participants are in listen-only mode and the conference is being recorded. After the presentation, there will be an opportunity to ask questions. (Operator Instructions)

At this time, I would like to turn the conference over to Tracey Wise, Vice President, Investor Relations. Please go ahead, Ms. Wise.

Tracey Wise

Thank you, Operator, and good morning. Thank you all for joining us for Brookfield Infrastructure’s second quarter 2012 earnings conference call. On the call today, Chief Executive Officer, Sam Pollock, who will discuss highlights for the quarter and provide comments on our strategy and the outlook for our business. Also joining us is John Stinebaugh, our Chief Financial Officer, who will review our financial results. Following their remarks, we look forward to taking your questions and comments.

At this time, I would like to remind you that in responding to questions and in talking about our growth initiatives and our financial and operating performance, we may make forward-looking statements. These statements are subject to known and unknown risks and future results may differ materially. For further information on known risks factors I would encourage you to review our annual report on Form 20-F which is available on our website.

With that, I would like to turn the call over to Sam Pollock. Sam?

Sam Pollock

Great. Thank you, Tracey, and good morning, everyone. In the second quarter, Brookfield Infrastructure continued to generate stable cash flows in a challenging macro economic environment. As a result of the European sovereign debt crisis and the slowdown of the Chinese economy, some of our operations and many of our customers were impacted by reduced trade and lower commodity prices.

Our businesses, however, for the most part have been immune from these circumstances due to their strong contractual and regulatory frameworks. We generated FFO of $0.60 per share, resulting in a distribution payout ratio of 63% for the quarter.

We also announced a number of transactions that will meaningfully expand our transportation and utility businesses. Over two years ago, we initiated an outreach program to position Brookfield Infrastructure to acquire businesses that might be divested as a result of the environment in Europe.

Our two-pronged strategy focused on developing relationships with European companies that own infrastructure assets in South America and also identifying potential add-on acquisitions for our existing European businesses. On both fronts we achieved success this quarter.

As a result of a relationship developed with Spanish toll road operator Abertis, we were invited to participate on an exclusive basis in the acquisition of a controlling stake in OHL Brasil. We also secured a transaction to purchase the remaining interests in our Chilean toll road from the German construction company Hochtief.

And finally, we executed agreements to acquire a controlling stake in a regulated distribution business in United Kingdom, a complicated transaction that we have been working on for the past year and one that should be very complementary with our existing U.K. regulated distribution business. While these transactions are subject to a number of closing conditions, we are optimistic that we will be able to successfully complete them later this year.

With that, I’ll now turn the call over to John to discuss our results for the quarter.

John Stinebaugh

Thanks, Sam. I’d like to spend a few minutes walking through our results. In my remarks I will focus on FFO which is a proxy for cash flow from our operations. I will also focus on AFFO yield, which is a measure of how effectively we deploy our capital.

During the quarter, we generated FFO of $111 million, an increase of $9 million over the second quarter of 2011. Our results reflected strong performances from our utilities and transport and energy segments, partially offset by a lower contribution from our timber segment.

Our FFO per unit of $0.60 was $0.05 lower than the prior year due to the impact of our equity issuance in October of last year. The proceeds from this offering were primarily used to fund the expansion of our railroad, which has just begun generating cash flows as expansion projects are being commissioned. Overall, we earned an AFFO yield of 9% in the period.

Our utilities segment generated FFO of $78 million in the quarter, compared with $66 million in the prior year. The increase in FFO was primarily due to greater connections revenue from our U.K. regulated distribution business, as well as contribution from our Colombian regulated distribution business, which was acquired in January of this year. Our utilities segment posted an AFFO yield of 16% in the current period, compared with 15% in the prior year.

Our transport and energy segment produced $53 million of FFO, compared to $39 million in the second quarter of 2011, driven by increased profitability of our Australian railroad. During the quarter, our railroad’s FFO increased by 86% over the prior year, due to increased volume from the above average grain harvest and contribution from three expansion projects that have commenced operation.

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