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Press release from Marketwire

Canexus Corporation Announces Third Quarter Results

Strong Cash Operating Profit Across All Business Units

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Canexus Corporation Announces Third Quarter Results17:51 EST Tuesday, November 06, 2012CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwire - Nov. 6, 2012) - Canexus Corporation (TSX:CUS) (the "Corporation" or "Canexus") today announced its financial results for the third quarter ended September 30, 2012. Highlights:Cash operating profit improved in all three business units in the third quarter, resulting in total cash operating profit of $35.6 million ($98.8 million year-to-date). Improved demand for both hydrochloric acid and chlorine and higher metric electrochemical unit ("MECU") realized netback prices in the third quarter contributed to significantly higher operating rates and cash operating profit in our North America chlor-alkali business unit at North Vancouver ($16.2 million for the third quarter as compared to $4.3 million for the second quarter). We expect full year 2012 cash operating profit of $135 million to $140 million (the low end of our guidance range). Our preliminary expectation for 2013 cash operating profit is $155 million to $160 million, which reflects the start of benefits from our hydrochloric acid growth projects at North Vancouver and the expanded diluted bitumen and crude oil ("DBCO") transload capacity at Bruderheim. Formal guidance for 2013 will be announced in mid-December. Distributable cash was $25.9 million ($0.21 per share) and $61.4 million ($0.51 per share) for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, resulting in payout ratios of 65% and 81%, respectively. The tie-in of the upgraded power line at our low-cost Brandon sodium chlorate plant was completed during the quarter and is expected to increase capacity modestly (2-3%). It also paves the way for a meaningful potential future debottleneck expansion. Production losses of 3,800 metric tonnes ("MT") in September, due to a transformer failure on startup of the upgraded power line, impacted cash operating profit in the quarter by about $1.3 million. Record daily production levels of 915 MT have been achieved consistently since we returned to full capacity at the Brandon plant in late September. The Corporation continues to make noticeable progress at its North American Terminal Operation ("NATO") at Bruderheim, both in the DBCO transload business and with connecting our Bruderheim terminal to nearby diluted bitumen and diluent pipelines. Canexus continues to expect our DBCO transload capacity to reach 35,000 bbls/day (current capacity is approximately 18,000 bbls/day), however, this is likely to be delayed into the first quarter of 2013 due to the timing of tank deliveries. The Corporation's hydrochloric acid capacity expansion projects at its North Vancouver chlor-alkali facility will each add an additional 110,000 wet metric tonnes ("WMT") of capacity, increasing our total hydrochloric acid capacity to 370,000 WMT's per year. The output from the first of the two expansions is sold out under multi-year contracts. Startup of the expansions are scheduled for the first and fourth quarters of 2013. The Board declared the regular quarterly dividend of $0.1368 per common share payable January 15, 2013 to shareholders of record on December 31, 2012. "Our businesses are performing well in tepid economic conditions, and we are positioned for continued growth," said Gary Kubera, President and CEO. "We are seeing the benefits of past investments and are continuing to make solid progress on our growth projects at both North Vancouver and Bruderheim resulting in record cash operating profits in 2012, with higher expectations for 2013."To facilitate a meaningful analysis and discussion of the Corporation's financial performance for the nine months ended September 30, 2012, the following financial information for the nine months ended September 30, 2011 has been prepared on a proforma basis to include the 100% financial results of Canexus Limited Partnership ("Canexus LP") for the period January 1, 2011 to February 6, 2011. On February 7, 2011, the Corporation's predecessor, Canexus Income Fund, indirectly acquired Nexen Inc's interest in Canexus LP and consolidated the 100% financial results of Canexus LP from that date. Distributable Cash Distributable cash of Canexus Corporation was $25.9 million ($0.21 per share) and $61.4 million ($0.51 per share) for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012, resulting in payout ratios of 65% and 81%, respectively.Three Months Ended September 30Nine Months Ended September 30CAD thousands2012201120122011Cash Operating Profit35,56636,38498,79686,681Interest Expense(4,860)(5,975)(15,499)(17,820)Realized Currency Translation Gains (Losses)(755)511(777)3,884Maintenance Capital Expenditures(2,335)(4,328)(13,835)(11,810)Provision for Current Income Taxes(981)(1,057)(3,712)(3,385)DTU Plan Settlement-(1,505)-(1,505)TCP Severance Costs Paid--(888)(2,133)Other(704)(305)(2,658)(213)Distributable Cash25,93123,72561,42753,699Distributable Cash Per Share0.210.200.510.46Dividends Declared Per Share0.13680.13680.41040.4104Payout Ratio65%67%81%88%Below is a reconciliation of net cash generated from operating activities to Distributable Cash of the Corporation for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011.Three Months Ended September 30Nine Months Ended September 30CAD thousands2012201120122011Net Cash Generated from Operating Activities32,85032,47265,94862,402Changes in Non-Cash Operating Working Capital(5,300)(2,524)13,6697,963Non-Cash Change in Income Tax Payable and Interest Payable2,004(807)(1,758)(1,618)Interest Income114220309453Maintenance Capital Expenditures(2,335)(4,328)(13,835)(11,810)Realized Foreign Currency Translation Losses on Cash(542)(552)(517)(126)TCP Severance Costs Paid--(888)(2,133)Amortization of the Purchase Cost of Foreign Exchange Options(662)(278)(1,571)(571)Expenditures on Decommissioning Liabilities(73)(5)(466)(82)Operating Non-Cash Items(125)(473)536(779)Distributable Cash25,93123,72561,42753,699Segmented Information for the Three MonthsEnded September 30, 2012 and 2011 Canexus has a total of six manufacturing plants - four in Canada and two at one site in Brazil - organized into three business units. Canexus also provides fee-for-service hydrocarbon transloading at its terminal in Alberta. NATO results are included in the North America Chlor-alkali results. Below is our third quarter performance by segment.CAD thousands, except as notedNorth AmericaThree Months Ended September 30, 2012Sodium ChlorateChlor- alkali (2)South AmericaOtherTotalSales Revenue58,69767,24825,112-151,057Cost of Sales36,00734,93019,836(177)90,596Distribution, Selling and Marketing7,53719,67628778928,289General and Administrative (1)2,3232,9447952,3638,425Operating Profit (Loss)12,8309,6984,194(2,975)23,747Add:Depreciation and Amortization included in Cost of Sales3,1336,4921,873(354)11,144Depreciation and Amortization included in General and Administrative--12171183Share-based Compensation Expense---492492Cash Operating Profit (Loss)15,96316,1906,079(2,666)35,566Cash Operating Profit Percentage27%24%24%24%CAD thousands, except as notedNorth AmericaThree Months Ended September 30, 2011Sodium ChlorateChlor- alkali (2)South AmericaOtherTotalSales Revenue54,61057,37527,293-139,278Cost of Sales32,34828,54021,0439582,026Distribution, Selling and Marketing6,72914,77735980122,666General and Administrative (1)2,5613,2451,1513,0129,969Operating Profit (Loss)12,97210,8134,740(3,908)24,617Add:Depreciation and Amortization included in Cost of Sales3,0435,6951,335-10,073Depreciation and Amortization included in General and Administrative--11231242Share-based Compensation Expense---1,4521,452Cash Operating Profit (Loss)16,01516,5086,086(2,225)36,384Cash Operating Profit Percentage29%29%22%26%Notes: (1)General and administrative expenses are for functional areas such as human resources, finance, information technology and legal and are allocated to the operating segments based on production volumes. (2)Revenues and costs for NATO are included in North America Chlor-alkali. Business Unit Highlights North America Sodium Chlorate:Q3 2012 versus Q2 2012: Sales revenue increased 5% to $58.7 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 from $56.1 million for the three months ended June 30, 2012. Sales volumes increased 3% and realized netback prices increased 2% for the three months ended September 30, 2012, as compared to the three months ended June 30, 2012. Cash operating profit percentage decreased from 28% to 27% as a result of lower production volumes (primarily at our low-cost Brandon plant) and higher fixed costs as a result of a planned shutdown at Brandon to perform regularly scheduled maintenance at the same time the plant was down to tie-in the upgraded power line. The decrease was partially offset by higher realized netback prices, lower salt costs and somewhat lower general and administrative expense allocated to this segment. Q3 2012 versus Q3 2011 Sales revenue increased 7% to $58.7 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 from $54.6 million for the three months ended September 30, 2011 as a result of a 7% increase in realized netback prices. Realized netback prices were positively affected by the weaker Canadian dollar (three months ended September 30, 2012 - US $0.99 as compared to US $1.03 for the three months ended September 30, 2011). Cash operating profit percentage decreased from 29% for the three months ended September 30, 2011 to 27% for the three months ended September 30, 2012 as a result of lower production volumes (10%) and higher fixed costs, partially offset by higher realized netback prices and lower salt costs. North America Chlor-alkali:Q3 2012 versus Q2 2012: Sales revenue increased 13% to $67.2 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 from $59.7 million for the three months ended June 30, 2012. The increase in sales revenue was primarily due to higher sales volumes of hydrochloric acid (46%), chlorine (3%) and caustic soda (2%) and higher MECU realized netback prices (6%). Cash operating profit percentage increased from 7% to 24% for the three months ended September 30, 2012 as a result of higher production volumes (23%), higher MECU realized netback prices (6%) and lower fixed costs, partially offset by slightly higher salt costs. The decrease in fixed costs was due to the planned maintenance shutdown for two weeks in April 2012. Q3 2012 versus Q3 2011: Sales revenue increased 17% to $67.2 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 from $57.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2011 due to higher sales volumes of chlorine (5%) and caustic soda (6%) and higher realized netback prices for hydrochloric acid (88%) and caustic soda (5%). The increase was partially offset by lower hydrochloric acid sales volumes (10%) and lower chlorine realized netback prices (83%). Cash operating profit decreased from $16.5 million for the three months ended September 30, 2011 to $16.2 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 as a result of higher electricity and salt costs and higher fixed costs, partially offset by higher MECU realized netback prices (3%). South America:Q3 2012 versus Q2 2012: Sales revenue decreased 1% to $25.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 from $25.4 million for the three months ended June 30, 2012 on lower realized netback prices for all products, partially offset by higher chlor-alkali product sales volumes. Cash operating profit increased from $4.3 million for the three months ended June 30, 2012 to $6.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012, primarily as a result of higher production and sales volumes and lower fixed costs. There were planned maintenance shutdowns at both the sodium chlorate and chlor-alkali plants during the second quarter. Q3 2012 versus Q3 2011: Sales revenue decreased 8% to $25.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 from $27.3 million for the three months ended September 30, 2011 as a result of lower sales volumes and realized netback prices for sodium chlorate and lower realized netback prices for hydrochloric acid and caustic soda, partially offset by higher hydrochloric acid and caustic soda sales volumes. Cash operating profit was $6.1 million for the three months ended September 30, 2012 and 2011 with lower sodium chlorate sales volumes and lower hydrochloric acid netback prices in the third quarter of 2012 being offset by lower fixed costs. Market Fundamentals North America Sodium Chlorate: As expected, pulp pricing experienced moderate downward pressure in the third quarter as inventories increased. Some pulp grades have achieved new lows for the year, and are currently at levels equal to fourth quartile cash costs. Industry experts seem to agree that pricing has most likely bottomed for the year. Despite the challenging environment, the North American pulp industry saw very limited (if any) market related downtime. After increasing for four of the last five months, pulp inventories were down at 33 days (September), suggesting that a trend reversal could be building. Softwood pulp inventories were down for the same month, and are now at comfortable levels (27 days). Global pulp shipments continued their positive trend for the year, increasing by 1.8% year-to-date. Most, if not all of this growth is being fuelled by strong Chinese imports, which are higher by 16.7% year-to-date. Based on the expected pick-up in seasonal demand and on improving fundamentals, all major pulp producers have announced price increases for most grades which are slated to be implemented in the fourth quarter. Production of bleached pulp was strong throughout the quarter, and consequently, the demand for sodium chlorate was equally strong. With new demand starting up early in the third quarter, coupled with further new demand scheduled for the fourth quarter, the North American sodium chlorate industry is poised to maintain its high operating rates (about 95%) for the foreseeable future.North America Chlor-alkali: The North American chlor-alkali industry operated at an estimated 85% of capacity in the third quarter of 2012, as compared to 80% in the second quarter of 2012 and 83% in the third quarter of 2011. The increase in industry capacity utilization was due to seasonal demand improvement for water treatment and increased production of Polyvinyl Chloride ("PVC") for export. Industry operating rates are expected to decline moderately in the fourth quarter due to reduced seasonal water treatment demand and typical year-end producer inventory reductions for construction related products such as PVC and Urethanes.North American hydrochloric acid production was negatively impacted by Hurricane Isaac in the third quarter of 2012, resulting in a more balanced market. Hydrochloric acid demand was strong from most consuming segments with an increase from oil well fracturing activity in Western Canada. Supply in the fourth quarter is expected to decline due to several planned maintenance outages in the US gulf coast region.North American caustic soda production increased in the third quarter of 2012 consistent with higher chlorine operating rates. Demand remained strong from most consuming segments with further strength in demand from export markets taking advantage of the low cost position of US gulf coast production compared with Asia. Supply is expected to decline in the fourth quarter resulting in a balanced to tight market situation.MECU prices increased during the third quarter of 2012 due to caustic price improvement, offset partially by modest reductions in chlorine and hydrochloric acid values. Price increases for caustic soda and hydrochloric acid have been announced for the fourth quarter in anticipation of lower supply conditions.South America: Brazilian pulp exports were stable during the first eight months of 2012 (0.5% lower than the same period in 2011). Domestic sales were 6.8% higher than the same period last year. Canexus Brazil's major sodium chlorate customer's pulp production has been aligned with our estimate and our overall sodium chlorate sales are close to 2012 budget. The September year-to-date Brazilian chlor-alkali capacity utilization rate was 83.5% (approximately 1.5% higher than the same period last year). Brazilian industry operating rates were lower in 2011 due to power outages and planned outages at several chlor-alkali facilities during the year. Canexus Brazil's September year-to-date chlor-alkali capacity utilization was 96%. The key driver was higher hydrochloric acid sales as a result of lower spent acid availability in north east Brazil and market share gains.Western Canadian Oil and Gas: Crude oil prices rose during the third quarter of 2012 amid optimism for improved economic performance resulting from monetary stimulus in the U.S. and supply concerns in the Middle East. Global supply has been impacted by the removal of Iranian supply as a result of economic sanctions but oil inventory levels in the U.S. and the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development ("OECD") region remain generally healthy. Price differentials between Western Canadian grades and other key benchmarks remain wide supporting demand for oil transportation services based on rail. Natural gas prices improved modestly during the quarter due to higher demand driven by fuel switching (from coal) and reduced production. Reduced injections to storage brought inventories down from well above the normal range to the upper end of the five-year average range. While inventories remain high, production is expected to continue to gradually fall in North America into 2013 as drilling rigs are directed to oil wells and until gas prices begin to recover.Drilling activity picked up in Western Canada in the third quarter following the seasonal slowdown in the second quarter due to the spring thaw and is predominantly focused on oil production due to lower prices for natural gas. Financial Updates Long-term Debt and Finance Income (Expense): We borrow in US dollars, which creates unrealized currency translation gains as the Canadian dollar strengthens. A substantial portion of our revenues are denominated in or referenced to the US dollar. During the third quarter of 2012, we recorded an unrealized currency translation gain of $10.7 million as a result of the stronger Canadian dollar at the end of the quarter compared to the end of Q2 2012 (Q3/11 - $21.5 million unrealized loss) and $0.4 million of realized gains (Q3/11 - $0.9 million of realized gains). These amounts are included in finance income (expense). Interest expense in the quarter was $4.9 million (Q3/11 - $6.0 million). Interest capitalized on major projects was $0.4 million in Q3 2012 ($0.2 million in Q3/11). We recorded mark-to-market changes in fair value of convertible debentures of $3.7 million (loss) in Q3 2012 ($4.9 million gain in Q3/11). Other Income (Expense):In the third quarter, mark-to-market fair value losses of $0.5 million (Q3/11 - $0.6 million losses) and realized gains of $0.8 million (Q3/11 - $0.1 million of realized gains) were recorded on foreign exchange option contracts. We recorded mark-to-market fair value gains of $0.3 million (Q3/11 - $0.2 million gains) on interest rate swaps and realized losses of $0.4 million (Q3/11 - $0.4 million losses). In the third quarter, we recorded mark-to-market fair value gains on a cross currency swap of $0.6 million (Q3/11 - $1.9 million losses) as a result of the stronger Canadian dollar at the end of the quarter compared to the end of Q2 2012. In Q3 2011, we entered into a cross currency swap to effect the payment of interest on the Series IV Convertible Debentures issued on June 30, 2011 in US dollars. Capital Expenditures: Capital expenditures for the three months ended September 30, 2012 were $39.6 million, of which $2.3 million was spent on maintenance projects and the balance on continuous improvement ($1.0 million) and expansion projects ($36.2 million). Expansion capital was spent on the continued development of our NATO site, the hydrochloric acid expansions at our North Vancouver facility and the upgrade of the fresh water supply system at our Brandon plant. Provision for Income Taxes: The provision for income taxes is higher in the third quarter of 2012, as compared to the same period in 2011, due to higher earnings in the quarter. As of September 30, 2012, Canexus has approximately $478.0 million of future tax deductions resulting predominantly from capital expenditures which can be used to shelter future taxable income in Canada. Liquidity: As of September 30, 2012, total borrowings under committed credit facilities were $317.5 million with remaining available undrawn capacity of approximately $145.0 million. Cash on hand at September 30, 2012 was $6.7 million. Our debt-to-EBITDA ratio is 2.4 times (3.4 times inclusive of convertible debentures). Operating Results for the Three and Nine Months Ended September 30, 2012 and 2011Three Months Ended September 30Nine Months Ended September 302012201120122011Sales Revenue151,057139,278441,171395,788Cost of Sales (1)90,59682,026276,328251,365Gross Profit60,46157,252164,843144,423Distribution, Selling and Marketing28,28922,66674,47265,847General and Administrative (2)8,4259,96927,09926,135Operating Profit23,74724,61763,27252,441Finance Income (Expense)1,419(22,782)(22,170)(23,858)Income before Other Income (Expense) and Income Taxes25,1661,83541,10228,583Other Income (Expense)292(2,418)(599)(1,875)Income (Loss) before Income Taxes25,458(583)40,50326,708Provision for Income TaxesCurrent9811,0573,7123,385Deferred5,8351,14211,7268,8736,8162,19915,43812,258Net Income (Loss)18,642(2,782)25,06514,450Notes: 1.Depreciation and amortization included for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 - $11.1 million and $33.0 million respectively; depreciation and amortization included for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2011 of $10.1 million and $31.6 million respectively. 2.Depreciation and amortization included for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2012 - $0.2 million and $0.6 million respectively; depreciation and amortization included for the three and nine months ended September 30, 2011 of $0.2 million and $0.7 million respectively. Financial Statements, Conference Call and Webcast Financial Statements and Management's Discussion and Analysis will be posted on the Canexus web site at www.canexus.ca and filed on SEDAR when available. Management will host a conference call at 10:00 a.m. ET on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, to discuss the results. A Q3 2012 presentation will be available on our website to facilitate the conference call. Please dial 416-644-3414 or 1-800-814-4859. The conference call will also be accessible via webcast at www.canexus.ca. A replay of the conference call will be available until midnight November 14, 2012. To access the replay, call 416-640-1917 or 1-877-289-8525, followed by passcode 4567721#.Non-GAAP Measures Cash operating profit, cash operating profit percentage, payout ratio, distributable cash and gross profit are non-GAAP financial measures, but management believes they are useful in measuring the Corporation's performance. Readers are cautioned that these measures should not be construed as alternatives to net income or loss or other comparable measures determined in accordance with GAAP as an indicator of the Corporation's performance or as a measure of the Corporation's liquidity and cash flow. The Corporation's method of calculating non-GAAP measures may differ from the methods used by other issuers and accordingly, the Corporation's non-GAAP measures are unlikely to be comparable to similarly titled measures used by other issuers. Readers should consult the Corporation's 2012 MD&A filed on SEDAR for a complete explanation of how the Corporation calculates each such non-GAAP measure.Forward-Looking Statements This news release contains forward-looking statements and information relating to expected future events relating to Canexus and its subsidiaries, including with respect to: North American hydrochloric acid and caustic soda supply, production and pricing; North American chlor-alkali industry operating rates; North American sodium chlorate demand, plant utilization and pricing; Canexus' corporate performance, including as a result of the impact of hydrochloric acid growth projects at North Vancouver and expanded DBCO transload capacity at Bruderheim, and resultant expectations for cash operating profit; Brandon power line tie-in and its impact on plant capacity; the timing of and completion and capacity implications of capital projects at NATO; the timing of completion and capacity implications of the hydrochloric acid expansion projects at Canexus' North Vancouver chlor-alkali facility; and the impact of pricing and inventories on natural gas production in North America. The use of the words "expects", "anticipates", "continue", "estimates", "projects", "should", "believe", "plans", "intends", "may", "will" or similar expressions are intended to identify forward-looking statements. These statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties and other factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in such forward-looking statements for a variety of reasons, including market and general economic conditions, future costs, treatment under governmental regulatory, tax and environmental regimes and the other risks and uncertainties detailed under "Risk Factors" in the Corporation's Annual Information Form filed on the Corporation's SEDAR profile at www.sedar.com. Management believes the expectations reflected in these forward-looking statements are currently reasonable but no assurance can be given that these expectations will prove to be correct and such forward-looking statements should not be unduly relied upon. Due to the potential impact of these factors, Canexus disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, unless required by applicable law. Financial outlook information contained in this press release about prospective results of operations, financial position or cash flows is based on assumptions about future events, including economic conditions and proposed courses of action, based on management's assessment of the relevant information currently available. Such financial outlook information should not be used for purposes other than those for which it is disclosed herein.About Canexus Canexus produces sodium chlorate and chlor-alkali products largely for the pulp and paper and water treatment industries. Our four plants in Canada and two at one site in Brazil are reliable, low-cost, strategically-located facilities that capitalize on competitive electricity costs and transportation infrastructure to minimize production and delivery costs. Canexus also provides fee-for-service hydrocarbon transloading services to the oil and gas industry from its terminal at Bruderheim, Alberta. Canexus targets opportunities to maximize shareholder returns and delivers high-quality products to its customers. Canexus' common shares (CUS) and debentures (Series I - CUS.DB; Series III - CUS.DB.A; Series IV - CUS.DB.B) trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange. More information about Canexus is available at www.canexus.ca.FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT: Contact Information: Canexus CorporationGary KuberaPresident and CEO(403) 571-7300Canexus CorporationRichard McLellanCFO(403) 571-7300www.canexus.ca