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Valener and Énergir, L.P. Report Their Fiscal 2018 Second Quarter Results

MONTRÉAL, May 10, 2018 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Valener Inc. (“Valener”) (VNR.TO) (TSX:VNR.PR.A), the public investment vehicle in Énergir, L.P., today reported its fiscal 2018 second quarter results. The results of Énergir, L.P., Valener’s primary investment, are also presented in this press release.

Summary of Valener’s results

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

• Adjusted net income1,2 of $33.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2018, up 3% from the second quarter of fiscal 2017

  • Adjusted net income1,2 of $0.87 per share compared to $0.85 per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2017

• Normalized operating cash flows1 of $14.0 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2018, up $2.7 million from the second quarter of fiscal 2017

  • Normalized operating cash flows1 per share of $0.36 compared to $0.29 per share in the second quarter of fiscal 2017.

“Valener’s high-quality assets continued to deliver growth this quarter,” said Pierre Monahan, Chairman of Valener’s board of directors. “Adjusted net income was up 3% year over year, as a result of Énergir’s strong performance.”

  For the three
months ended
March 31
For the six
months ended
March 31
(in millions of dollars, unless otherwise indicated) 2018 2017 2018 2017
Net income 35.0 32.6 49.4 56.7
Net income attributable to common shareholders 33.9 31.5 47.1 54.5
Adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders (1) 33.9 32.9 53.9 53.2
Per common share (in $) (1) 0.87 0.85 1.38 1.37
Normalized operating cash flows (1) 14.0 11.3 25.3 23.5
Distributions received from Énergir, L.P. 14.9 14.1 29.8 28.1
Distributions received from Beaupré Éole and Beaupré Éole 4 2.0 2.4 0.2
Per common share (in $) (1) 0.36 0.29 0.65 0.61

Valener reported adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders of $33.9 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 compared to $32.9 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2017. This increase was mainly driven by growth in Énergir, L.P.’s adjusted net income.

In the second quarter of fiscal 2018, Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farms 2 and 3 General Partnership and Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farm 4 General Partnership (collectively, the “SDB Wind Farms”) generated a combined 297,205 MWh of electric power, down 3.3% given weaker wind conditions than those of the second quarter of 2017 as well as a two-week period of frost in March 2018.

The SDB Wind Farms still generated $15.3 million in operating cash flows during the second quarter of 2018, a $1.5 million year-over-year increase resulting from changes in working capital.

Valener’s second quarter normalized operating cash flows totalled $14.0 million compared to $11.3 million in the second quarter of 2017, mainly from higher distributions received from Énergir, L.P. and the SDB Wind Farms.

Énergir, L.P.

FINANCIAL HIGHLIGHTS

• Adjusted net income1,3 of $150.0 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2018, up $7.5 million from the second quarter of fiscal 2017.

  • Adjusted net income1,3 per unit of $0.87, a 2% increase from the second quarter of fiscal 2017. 

• Québec Energy Distribution (“QDA”): net income of $116.6 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2018, up $2.2 million year over year.

  • QDA’s fiscal 2018 net income is expected to exceed the net income anticipated in the 2018 rate case by at least $6.0 million.

_________________________________________
1 Financial measures not defined by U.S. generally accepted accounting principles (“GAAP”). A reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures is presented hereafter.
2 Adjusted net income (loss) attributable to common shareholders.
3 Adjusted net income (loss) attributable to Partners.

“Our commercial and geographic diversification strategy continues to pay off,” said Sophie Brochu, President and Chief Executive Officer. “During the second quarter, our energy distribution activities generated excellent results, both in Québec and the United States. Building on a diverse range of renewable and less-emissive energies, Énergir is well positioned to meet the needs of its Québec and U.S. customers while offering its shareholders stable, predictable financial performance.”

BUSINESS HIGHLIGHTS

  • QDA: 4.9% second-quarter increase in normalized natural gas deliveries driven mainly by economic growth in Québec.
  • Gaz Métro Plus Limited Partnership (“Gaz Métro Plus”): $4.4 million gain realized on the sale of server hosting assets in February 2018.
  • Standard Solar Inc.: approximately 10 MW in solar projects completed, 23 MW under construction, and an agreement signed with an investor for the financing of solar farms in exchange for tax attributes (“tax equity partner”), representing a total investment of approximately US$50 million.
  • Portland Xpress project: in order to meet growing demand, Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (“PNGTS”) will need to increase network capacity by adding, among other things, a compressor at the Elliot station. In the meantime, PNGTS will also benefit from future additional work at the East Hereford station of the Trans Québec & Maritimes Inc. (“TQM”) gas pipeline, scheduled for completion in November 2019. These projects are scheduled to come online in November 2020.

U.S. tax reform

In December 2017, the U.S. government adopted exhaustive tax legislation commonly referred to as the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (“tax reform”) that introduced complex and significant U.S. tax code changes that are applicable to Énergir, L.P.’s U.S. subsidiaries and entities subject to significant influence. The impacts of this tax reform on Énergir, L.P.’s 2018 first quarter consolidated financial statements consisted essentially of a $238.0 million decrease in deferred income tax liabilities, the creation of $246.9 million in regulatory liabilities, and a $24.2 million decrease in net income attributable to Partners. The impact of this reform on net income is mainly attributable to the deferred income taxes related to the portion not included in rate-setting as well as to the downward remeasurement of deferred income taxes related to non-capital loss carryforwards unrelated to rate-regulated activities.

With respect to the rate-regulated operations of Énergir, L.P.’s U.S. subsidiaries and entities subject to significant influence, the tax reform impacts were primarily recognized as regulatory liabilities, as current and deferred income taxes are included during the rate-setting of such entities. The regulatory liabilities recognized following these adjustments equal the amounts expected to be reimbursed through future rates over amortization periods that will subsequently be set and approved by the regulatory agencies. In their respective 2019 rate cases, GMP and VGS proposed different amortization periods that yielded an estimated period of approximately 40 years, based on Internal Revenue Services (“IRS”) normalization rules as well as the nature of the factors that led to the recognition of the deferred income taxes to be returned to customers. The proposed amortization periods were notably impacted by the estimated residual lives of the underlying assets. The amounts to be returned total approximately US$30 million for 2019 and US$4 million for the subsequent years.

Énergir, L.P.’s segment results – Adjusted net income attributable to Partners (1)
 
(in millions of dollars, unless otherwise indicated)    
Segments Q2 2018   Q2 2017   H1-2018   H1-2017  
QDA 116.6   114.4   180.7   178.5  
Distribution in Vermont 36.0   29.6   63.2   56.9  
Natural Gas Transportation 7.1   7.4   11.0   12.9  
Electricity Production 1.3   1.6   2.0   2.4  
Energy Services, Storage and Other 2.0   1.8   3.8   3.2  
Corporate Affairs (13.0 ) (12.3 ) (26.2 ) (22.5 )
Total 150.0   142.5   234.5   231.4  
Basic and diluted weighted average number of units outstanding (in millions) 171.8   167.3   171.8   167.3  
Basic and diluted per unit (in $) 0.87   0.85   1.36   1.38  

For the second quarter of fiscal 2018, and excluding one-time adjustments, Énergir, L.P.’s adjusted net income attributable to Partners totalled $150.0 million compared to $142.5 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2017. This change stems mainly from the favourable impact of a regulatory timing difference in the Québec Energy Distribution segment combined with a strong Québec economy in the second quarter of fiscal 2018, despite the earnings reduction anticipated in the rate case, and the effects of GMP’s favorable rate case parameters.

Énergir, L.P.’s net income attributable to Partners was $154.4 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2018 compared to $142.5 million in second quarter 2017, resulting from the above-mentioned factors and a gain realized on the sale of Gaz Métro Plus’s server hosting assets.

QUÉBEC ENERGY DISTRIBUTION

Énergir, L.P.’s distribution activities carried out through QDA generated net income attributable to Partners of $116.6 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2018, a $2.2 million year-over-year increase that was mainly due to:

  • the favourable impact of a regulatory timing difference, with most of the difference expected to reverse at the end of fiscal 2018; and
  • the favourable impact of an increase in normalized natural gas deliveries as a result of the strong Québec economy;

partly offset by various parameters in QDA’s 2018 rate case, as filed with the Régie de l’énergie (the “Régie”), which had anticipated net income of $132.7 million for fiscal 2018, down $14.9 million from fiscal 2017.

Given the change in volumes during the first six months of fiscal 2018, Énergir, L.P. now expects fiscal 2018 net income generated by the Québec Energy Distribution segment to exceed the net income anticipated in the 2018 rate case by at least $6 million.

2019 rate case

Phase 1

In October 2017, QDA submitted a proposal to the Régie seeking the renewal, for its 2019 rate case, of the authorized rate of return on deemed common equity and of the performance sharing mechanism currently in place. In December 2017, the Régie issued a favourable decision under which it renewed, for the 2019 rate year, the 8.90% rate of return on deemed common equity as well as the performance sharing mechanism in effect since fiscal 2015.

Phase 2

In March and April 2018, QDA filed Phase 2 of its 2019 rate case with the Régie. It presents, among other things, an overall average decrease in rates of 4.1% and an average rate base of $2,154 million, up $36 million from the 2018 rate case. The decrease in rates stems mainly from transportation and load-balancing services given the lower TCPL rates in effect since January 1, 2018 as well as from the net impact of amounts to be returned to customers related to the overearnings and shortfalls realized in fiscal years 2017 and 2016. The higher rate base is attributable to the general increase in property, plant and equipment investment projects in recent years, such as, among other things, the project to improve and strengthen the Saguenay region transmission system. The Régie is expected to issue a decision in autumn 2018.

ENERGY DISTRIBUTION IN VERMONT

Through Green Mountain Power Corporation (“GMP”) and Vermont Gas Systems, Inc. (“VGS”), the Energy Distribution segment in Vermont recorded adjusted net income attributable to Partners of $36.0 million in the second quarter of fiscal 2018, a $6.4 million, or 21.6%, increase from $29.6 million in the same quarter last year. Excluding the exchange rate impact, this increase was mainly due to:

  • the various parameters in GMP’s 2018 rate case, which anticipated an increase in adjusted net income attributable to Partners;
  • the impact of VGS’s 2018 rate case parameters, which include an increase in the rate base to reflect the Addison project coming into service; and
  • the favourable impact of a regulatory timing difference, most of which is expected to reverse at the end of fiscal 2018.

GMP – 2019 rate case

In April 2018, GMP filed its 2019 rate case with the Vermont Public Utility Commission (“VPUC”). Prepared on a cost-of-service basis, it provides for an authorized rate of return on common equity of 9.30%, a 49.8% common equity ratio, and covers the period of January 1, 2019 to September 30, 2019 to reset the rate case to a fiscal year basis. In the rate case, a 5.45% rate increase is being proposed to reflect an increase in supply and transmission costs and an expected decrease in deliveries resulting largely from the adoption of energy efficiency measures by GMP’s customers. However, this increase will be fully offset by the impact of beginning to reimburse customers the regulatory liabilities recorded following the U.S. tax reform and resulting in an overall decrease in rates of 0.5%. The rate case also provides for an average rate base of US$1,563 million, a US$130 million increase from the 2018 rate case, to reflect greater investments in property, plant and equipment, GMP’s ownership interest in Vermont Transco LLC, and solar power projects. Lastly, the rate case contains a provision whereby US$13.9 million would be returned to GMP’s customers as a result of the synergies generated by the merger with Central Vermont Public Service Corporation. The VPUC is expected to issue a decision in December 2018.

VGS – 2019 rate case

In February 2018, VGS filed a cost-of-service proposal for its 2019 fiscal year with the VPUC. The cost of service proposed by VGS for fiscal 2019 provides for an 8.5% rate of return on common equity and a 50% common equity ratio. VGS is also proposing an overall decrease in rates of 3.8%, which includes a 14.8% reduction in rates related to the cost of natural gas, beginning to reimburse customers the regulatory liabilities recorded as a result of the U.S. tax reform, and a 4% increase in distribution rates. VGS is also proposing the use of a US$8.1 million portion of the amounts collected in the System Expansion and Reliability Fund as well as an average rate base of US$264.2 million, an increase of US$16 million. A decision is expected in time for the new rates to take effect as of November 1, 2018.

To see the financial report, click here.

 
Reconciliation of non-GAAP financial measures
For additional information on non-GAAP financial measures, refer to Valener’s MD&A for the three-month and six-month periods ended March 31, 2018 and 2017.
Valener
Reconciliation of normalized operating cash flows
  For the three months
ended March 31
For the six months
ended March 31
(in millions of dollars) 2018   2017   2018   2017  
Cash flows related to operating activities 15.1   12.4   27.5   25.7  
Dividends to preferred shareholders (1.1 ) (1.1 ) (2.2 ) (2.2 )
Normalized operating cash flows 14.0   11.3   25.3   23.5  


 
Valener
Reconciliation of adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders
  For the three months
ended March 31
For the six months
ended March 31
(in millions of dollars) 2018   2017   2018   2017  
Net income 35.0   32.6   49.4   56.7  
Gain on derivative financial instruments       (0.8 )
Income taxes on the gain on derivative financial instruments       0.2  
Share in Énergir, L.P.’s net income adjustments (1.3 )   5.7   (3.6 )
Income taxes on Énergir, L.P.’s net income adjustments 0.2     0.2   0.7  
Deferred income taxes related to the outside-basis temporary difference on the interest in Énergir, L.P. 1.1   1.4   0.9   2.2  
Cumulative dividends on Series A preferred shares (1.1 ) (1.1 ) (2.3 ) (2.2 )
Adjusted net income attributable to common shareholders 33.9   32.9   53.9   53.2  
Per common share (in $) 0.87   0.85   1.38   1.37  


 
Énergir, L.P.
Reconciliation of adjusted net income attributable to Partners
(in millions of dollars, unless otherwise indicated) Q2-2018
    Adjustments:  
Segments Net income attributable
to Partners
Other gains (2) Adjusted net
income
attributable to
Partners (1)
QDA 116.6     116.6  
Distribution in Vermont 36.0     36.0  
Natural Gas Transportation 7.1     7.1  
Electricity Production 1.3     1.3  
Energy Services, Storage and Other 6.4   (4.4 ) 2.0  
Corporate Affairs (13.0 )   (13.0 )
Total 154.4   (4.4 ) 150.0  
Basic and diluted weighted average number of units outstanding (in millions) 171.8   171.8   171.8  
Basic and diluted per unit (in $) 0.90   (0.03 ) 0.87  
  Q2-2017
   
    Adjustments:  
Segments Net income attributable
to Partners
Other gains (2) Adjusted net
income
attributable to
Partners (1)
QDA 114.4     114.4  
Distribution in Vermont 29.6     29.6  
Natural Gas Transportation 7.4     7.4  
Electricity Production 1.6     1.6  
Energy Services, Storage and Other 1.8     1.8  
Corporate Affairs (12.3 )   (12.3 )
Total 142.5     142.5  
Basic and diluted weighted average number of units outstanding (in millions) 167.3   167.3   167.3  
Basic and diluted per unit (in $) 0.85     0.85  


(in millions of dollars, unless otherwise indicated) H1-2018
    Adjustments:  
Segments Net income
attributable to
Partners
  Impact of the
tax reform (3)
Other gains (2) Adjusted net
income
attributable to
Partners (1)
 
QDA 180.7       180.7  
Distribution in Vermont 56.7   6.5     63.2  
Natural Gas Transportation 13.6   (2.6 )   11.0  
Electricity Production 2.0       2.0  
Energy Services, Storage and Other 8.2     (4.4 ) 3.8  
Corporate Affairs (46.5 ) 20.3     (26.2 )
Total 214.7   24.2   (4.4 ) 234.5  
Basic and diluted weighted average number of units outstanding (in millions)  171.8   171.8   171.8   171.8  
Basic and diluted per unit (in $) 1.25   0.14   (0.03 ) 1.36  
  H1-2017
      Adjustments:
 
Segments Net income
attributable to
Partners
  Impact of the tax
reform (3)
Other gains (2) Adjusted net
income
attributable to
Partners (1)
 
QDA 178.5       178.5  
Distribution in Vermont 56.9       56.9  
Natural Gas Transportation 12.9       12.9  
Electricity Production 2.4       2.4  
Energy Services, Storage and Other 15.7     (12.5 ) 3.2  
Corporate Affairs (22.5 )     (22.5 )
Total 243.9     (12.5 ) 231.4  
Basic and diluted weighted average number of units outstanding (in millions)  167.3   167.3   167.3   167.3  
Basic and diluted per unit (in $) 1.46     (0.08 ) 1.38  


(1) Financial measure not defined by GAAP. 
(2) In December 2016, Énergir, L.P., through its subsidiary Gaz Métro Plus, acquired an additional 50% ownership interest in CDH (CCUM), giving it control thereover and resulting in the recognition of a $12.5 million gain upon the remeasurement of assets already held. In addition, in February 2018, Gaz Métro Plus realized a $4.4 million gain on the sale of server hosting assets. For additional information, refer to the Q2-2018 MD&A.
(3) Refer to the “U.S. Tax Reform” section above.     

Conference call

Valener will hold a conference call today at 11:00 am (Eastern Time) to discuss its results and those of Énergir, L.P. for the period ended March 31, 2018. The public is invited to join the call at
647-788- 4922 or toll-free at 877-223-4471. A simultaneous webcast will also be available using the link provided under “Events and Presentations” in the “Investors” section of www.valener.com. A replay of the webcast will be archived on the Company’s website for 365 days following the call; a phone replay will be available for 30 days by dialing 416-621-4642 or toll-free 800-585-8367 (access code: 1277528).

Overview of Valener

Valener is a public company held entirely by its shareholders and serves as the investment vehicle in Énergir, L.P. Through its investment in Énergir, L.P., Valener offers its shareholders a solid investment in a diversified and largely regulated energy portfolio in Québec and Vermont. As a strategic partner, Valener, on the one hand, contributes to the growth of Énergir, L.P., and on the other, invests in wind power production in Québec alongside Énergir, L.P. Valener favours energy sources and uses that are innovative, clean, competitive and profitable. Valener’s common and preferred shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the “VNR” symbol for common shares and the “VNR.PR.A” symbol for Series A preferred shares. www.valener.com

Overview of Énergir, L.P.

With more than $7 billion in assets, Énergir, L.P. is a diversified energy company whose mission is to meet the energy needs of approximately 520,000 customers and the communities it serves in an increasingly sustainable way. Énergir, L.P. is the largest natural gas distribution company in Québec; through its subsidiaries, it also generates electricity from wind power. In the United States, through its subsidiaries, the company operates in nearly fifteen states, where it produces electricity from hydraulic, wind and solar sources, in addition to being the leading electricity distributor and the sole natural gas distributor in Vermont. Énergir, L.P. values energy efficiency and invests both resources and efforts in innovative energy projects such as renewable natural gas and liquefied and compressed natural gas. Through its subsidiaries, it also offers a wide range of energy services. Énergir, L.P. is seeking to become the partner of choice for those striving toward a better energy future. www.energir.com

Cautionary note regarding forward-looking statements

This press release may contain forward-looking information within the meaning of applicable securities laws. Such forward-looking information reflects the intentions, plans, expectations and opinions of the management of Énergir Inc., in its capacity as General Partner of Énergir, L.P., acting as manager of Valener (“the management of the manager”), and is based on information currently available to the management of the manager and assumptions about future events. Forward-looking statements can often be identified by words such as “plans,” “expects,” “estimates,” “seeks,” “targets,” “forecasts,” “intends,” “anticipates” or “believes” or similar expressions, including the negative and conjugated forms of these words. Forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and other factors beyond the control of the management of the manager. A number of factors could cause the actual results of Valener or of Énergir, L.P. to differ significantly from historical results or current expectations, as described in the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to the general nature of the aforementioned, terms of decisions rendered by regulatory agencies, uncertainty that approvals will be obtained by Énergir, L.P. from regulatory agencies and interested parties to carry out all of its activities and the socio-economic risks associated with such activities, uncertainty related to the implementation of Québec’s 2030 Energy Policy, the competitiveness of natural gas in relation to other energy sources in the context of fluctuating global oil prices, the reliability or costs of natural gas supply and electricity supply, the integrity of the natural gas and electricity distribution and transportation systems, the evolution and profitability of Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farms 2 and 3 General Partnership (“Wind Farms 2 and 3”) and Seigneurie de Beaupré Wind Farm 4 GP (“Wind Farm 4”) and other development projects, Valener’s ability to generate sufficient cash to support its anticipated target annual dividend growth rate on its common shares, the ability to complete attractive acquisitions and the related financing and integration aspects, the ability to complete new development projects, the ability to secure future financing, general economic conditions, exchange rate and interest rate fluctuations, uncertainty surrounding the December 2017 U.S. tax reform commonly referred to as Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, the weather conditions and other factors described in section E) Risk Factors Relating to Valener and in section R) Risk Factors Relating to Énergir, L.P. (formerly Gaz Métro Limited Partnership) of Valener’s MD&A for the fiscal year ended September 30, 2017 and in subsequent Valener quarterly MD&As that might address changes to these risks. Although the forward-looking statements contained in this press release are based on what the management of the manager believes to be reasonable assumptions, in particular assumptions that no unforeseen changes in the legislative and regulatory framework of energy markets in Québec and in the United States will occur; that the applications filed with various regulatory agencies will be approved as submitted; that natural gas prices will remain competitive; that the supply of natural gas and electricity will be maintained or will be available at competitive costs; that no significant event will occur outside the ordinary course of business, such as a natural disaster or any other type of calamity, a major service interruption, or a threat to cybersecurity (or cyberattack); that Énergir, L.P. can continue to distribute substantially all of its adjusted net income; that Wind Farms 2 and 3 and Wind Farm 4 will be able to make distribution payments to their partners; that Valener will be able to generate sufficient cash to support its anticipated target annual dividend growth rate on its common shares; that Green Mountain Power Corporation will be able to continue achieving efficiency gains and synergies from the merger with Central Vermont Public Service Corporation; that Valener and Énergir, L.P. will be able to present their information in accordance with U.S. GAAP beyond 2023 or, after 2023, will adopt International Financial Reporting Standards (“IFRS”) that permit the recognition of regulatory assets and liabilities; that liquidity needs for Énergir, L.P.’s development projects will be obtained through a combination of operating cash flows, borrowings on credit facilities, capital injections from partners, and issuances of debt securities; and that the subsidiaries will obtain the required authorizations and funds needed to finance their development projects. In addition to the other assumptions described in the Valener MD&A for the quarter ended March 31, 2018, the management of the manager cannot assure investors that actual results will be consistent with these forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements are made as of this date, and the management of the manager assumes no obligation to update or revise them to reflect new events or circumstances, except as required pursuant to applicable securities laws. These statements do not reflect the potential impact of any unusual item or any business combination or other transaction that may be announced or that may occur after the date hereof. Readers are cautioned to not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.

For additional information:

Investors and Analysts Media
Mariem Elsayed Maude Hébert-Chaput
Investor Relations Public Affairs and Communications
514-598-3253
www.valener.com
514-598-3449
Twitter: @Energir
  www.energir.com/en/about/media/news/   
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