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Press release from CNW Group

Valener announces its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

Valener announces its financial results for the first quarter of fiscal 201308:04 EST Monday, February 11, 2013$4.1 MILLION INCREASE IN RECURRING INCOME STEMMING FROM THE EXPECTED EARNINGS FOLLOWING GAZ MÉTRO'S ACQUISITION OF CVPSHighlights:Valener$14.3 million in recurring net income, up $4.1 million; and$9.4 million in dividends paid to common shareholders, i.e., $0.25 per common share, and $1.6 million to preferred shareholders.Gaz Métro$67.8 million in recurring net income, up $12.5 million;$6.3 million increase in the net income generated by energy distribution in Vermont following the acquisition of Central Vermont Public Service;5.9% increase in natural gas deliveries to the industrial market in Quebec; and$14.7 million net gain on the disposal of Gaz Métro's interest in HydroSolution.Seigneurie de Beaupré wind power projectsDecree issued by the Government of Quebec authorizing the 68-megawatt Seigneurie de Beaupré wind power project 4.MONTREAL, Feb. 11, 2013 /CNW Telbec/ - Valener Inc. (Valener) (TSX: VNR), the public investment vehicle in Gaz Métro Limited Partnership (Gaz Métro), is today announcing its financial results for the first quarter ended December 31, 2012.Valener's results Excluding non-recurring items, Valener's net income attributable to common shareholders totalled $14.3 million ($0.38 per common share) for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 compared to $10.2 million ($0.27 per common share) for the year-earlier first quarter, a $4.1 million increase ($0.11 per common share) owing primarily to the additional earnings that Gaz Métro realized from energy distribution activities in Vermont given the June 2012 acquisition of Central Vermont Public Service Corporation (CVPS) and to higher income from natural gas distribution in Quebec."Valener's first quarter results reflect the financial and commercial strategy of Gaz Métro, Valener's primary investment. Gaz Métro continues to benefit from the favourable competitive position of natural gas, leveraging it to deploy its strategy and development initiatives. Valener's shareholders are now reaping the rewards of these initiatives," said Pierre Monahan, Chairman of Valener's board of directors.A profitable investment strategy"In acquiring CVPS and merging it with Green Mountain Power, Gaz Métro remained consistent with its strategy of focusing on energy distribution, transportation and production in Quebec and Vermont. This transaction is paying off, reflecting positively on Gaz Métro's and Valener's results for the first quarter of fiscal 2013. Also, in line with this vision, during the quarter, Gaz Métro disposed of its interest in HydroSolution, which operates a major rental fleet of electric hot water heaters, for $44.4 million. The transaction generated a net gain on disposal of $14.7 million and freed up cash flow to be allocated to projects in line with Gaz Métro's prudent and targeted growth strategy" said Sophie Brochu, President and Chief Executive Officer of Gaz Métro.A step forward in the development of the Seigneurie de Beaupré wind power projectsValener and Gaz Métro indirectly own interests of 24.5% and 25.5%, respectively, in the Seigneurie de Beaupré wind power projects developed jointly with Boralex Inc. (the "consortium").On January 22, 2013, a decree was issued by the Government of Quebec, on the recommendation of the Minister of Sustainable Development, Environment, Wildlife and Parks (Ministre du Développement durable, de l'Environnement, de la Faune et des Parcs), authorizing the wind power project 4. Having successfully completed the key environmental approvals stage, the consortium can now move on to the next steps of, notably, applying for construction permits, signing final agreements with Enercon, the turbine and maintenance service supplier with world-renowned expertise, and arranging the financing."Obtaining the environmental approval for Seigneurie de Beaupré wind power project 4 is another step in asserting our renewable energy presence and thus helping to shape Quebec's energy profile of tomorrow. This approval is also testament to the quality of the projects that the consortium is initiating to help develop Quebec's renewable energy sector," said Ms. Brochu.Wind power project 4 represents a total investment of approximately $190 million (including financing costs) for a total installed capacity of 68 megawatts. Start-up is scheduled for December 2014.The construction work on wind power projects 2 and 3 with an installed capacity of 272 megawatts ceased for the winter on December 21, 2012 and is expected to resume in spring 2013. These projects, which are scheduled for start-up in December 2013, represent a total investment of approximately $750 million (including financing costs).Declaration of quarterly dividends Valener's board of directors declared a quarterly dividend of $0.25 per common share for the quarter ending March 31, 2013, payable on April 15, 2013, to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 28, 2013. Valener expects to maintain the dividend at $0.25 per common share for each quarter of fiscal 2013.Under Valener's dividend reinvestment plan, the board of directors approved the reinvestment of dividends into additional common shares, for the dividend payable on April 15, 2013, by way of an issuance of new common shares of Valener, at a 5% discount compared to the weighted average price for the five trading days immediately preceding the dividend payment date.The board of directors also declared a quarterly dividend of $0.271875 per Series A preferred share for the period of January 16, 2013 to April 15, 2013, payable on April 15, 2013 to the shareholders of record at the close of business on April 9, 2013.Consolidated net income attributable to the common shareholders, excluding the share in the non­recurring items of Gaz Métro, net of income taxes 3 months ended December 31(in millions of dollars, unless otherwise indicated)20122011Consolidated net income18.610.1 Share in the non-recurring items of Gaz Métro(4.3)0.1 Income taxes on the share in the non-recurring items of Gaz Métro1.1-Consolidated net income, excluding the share in the non-recurring items of Gaz Métro, net of income taxes15.410.2Less: Cumulative dividends on Series A preferred shares1.1-Consolidated net income attributable to the common shareholders, excluding the share in the non-recurring items of Gaz Métro, net of income taxes (1)14.310.2Weighted average number of common shares outstanding (in millions of common shares)37.637.4Consolidated net income attributable to the common shareholders, excluding the share in the non-recurring items of Gaz Métro, net of income taxes, per common share (in $) (1)0.380.27(1)These measures are financial measures that are not defined in Canadian generally accepted accounting principles(GAAP). For additional information, refer to the Non-GAAP Financial Measures heading in Valener's MD&A for thequarter ended December 31, 2012.Gaz Métro's results First-quarter net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro, excluding non-recurring items, totalled $67.8 million, a $12.5 million year-over-year increase that was essentially due to a $6.3 million increase in net income from energy distribution activities in Vermont given the additional earnings, net of financing costs, from the June 2012 CVPS acquisition, and to a $5.8 million increase in net income from the natural gas distribution activity in Quebec, as explained below.Quebec natural gas distribution (Gaz Métro-QDA)For the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Gaz Métro-QDA's normalized natural gas deliveries totalled 1,582 million cubic metres, up 2.9% from 1,538 million cubic metres in the first quarter of last year.In the industrial market, first-quarter volumes rose 5.9% year over year, due to greater consumption, particularly in the pulp and paper and metallurgy sectors.Normalized deliveries to the residential and commercial markets declined 0.6% and 1.5%, respectively, from the first quarter of fiscal 2012, essentially due to energy conservation measures undertaken by Gaz Métro-QDA's customers, partly offset by new sales.For the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Gaz Métro-QDA's net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro totalled $49.5 million, a $5.8 million year-over-year increase that was essentially due to:a timing difference between the revenue recognition profile of the distribution service, which follows the customers' consumption profile, and that of costs, resulting in a $2.9 million increase in net income. However, this increase is expected to reverse in the next quarters of the current fiscal year;a favourable impact of closer-to-normal temperatures in the first quarter of fiscal 2013, whereas temperatures were considerably warmer-than-normal in the first quarter of fiscal 2012. These weather conditions, which were unique to the first quarter of fiscal 2012, had adversely affected the net income of this period because, while the normalization mechanism had been applied, it did not fully eliminate the impact on revenues;the impact of higher load-balancing and transportation costs in the first quarter of fiscal 2012 resulting from temperatures, as explained above, and from the higher average costs for load-balancing tools resulting from changing demand, in the first quarter of fiscal 2012, of customers in the industrial market, both of which adversely affected the net income for the period; anda $1.2 million increase in the gross margin of the distribution service due to higher deliveries to the industrial market compared to the 2013 rate case, partly mitigated by lower deliveries of short-term interruptible service sales;mitigated by:the unfavourable impact of a decrease in the rate of return on deemed common equity and in revenues related to the Global Energy Efficiency Plan (GEEP) performance incentive.Anticipated impacts of the 2013 rate case proposed to the Régie de l'énergie ("Régie")In Phase II of its 2013 rate case, filed in December 2012, Gaz Métro-QDA proposed that the Régie suspend application of the automatic adjustment formula on the established rate of return on deemed common equity. Gaz Métro-QDA submitted this proposal, because, in its view, the rate obtained using this automatic adjustment formula is not reasonable for fiscal 2013, in particular due to the low long-term interest rates prevailing in the market. In a January 14, 2013 procedural decision, the Régie estimated that it might be appropriate, for fiscal 2013, to suspend application of the automatic adjustment formula and maintain the 8.90% rate of return on deemed common equity (excluding productivity gains) set in 2012. While a hearing is scheduled for February 2013 to hear Gaz Métro-QDA and intervenors on this matter, Gaz Métro-QDA has recognized its fiscal 2013 first quarter revenues based on an 8.90% rate of return on deemed common equity, i.e., the rate of return mentioned by the Régie on January 14, 2013. Gaz Métro-QDA's revenues for the first quarter of fiscal 2013 also reflect the cost-of-service parameters included in the 2013 rate case.The rate case proposed to the Régie for fiscal 2013, based on an 8.90% rate of return, is expected to translate into a $6.6 million decrease in net income for the 12 months of fiscal 2013 compared to the net income realized in fiscal 2012. This decrease would primarily stem from the following factors:a lower rate of return on the deemed common equity proposed in 2013 compared to that of 9.69% (including productivity gains) authorized in 2012;a $4.0 million decrease in revenues related to the GEEP performance incentive; andthe impact of having no share in overearnings anticipated in the 2013 rate case, whereas a $1.0 million share had been realized in fiscal 2012;partially offset by:an increase in the average rate base combined with an increase in investments not included in the rate base.A quarterly breakdown of how the 2013 rate case proposed to the Régie impacts net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro shows higher net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro in the first two quarters of fiscal 2013 and lower net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro in the last two quarters compared to the same periods in fiscal 2012.Incentive mechanismThe Gaz Métro-QDA incentive mechanism, in effect since October 1, 2007, expired on September 30, 2012. On September 2, 2011, Gaz Métro-QDA filed an incentive mechanism proposal with the Régie that was supported by a majority of the intervenors. On June 28, 2012, the Régie issued a decision denying the mechanism proposed by the working group and asked Gaz Métro-QDA to file a new incentive mechanism proposal as part of a more traditional framework. On November 30, 2012, Gaz Métro-QDA filed a new incentive mechanism proposal for distribution activities to be applicable for a five-year period as of fiscal 2014. Hearings on this proposal will be held in the coming months.Service to the Côte-Nord regionThe Côte-Nord region is the last of Quebec's major industrial regions that does not yet benefit from the environmental and economic advantages of natural gas. The project to serve the Côte-Nord region, which involves laying down 450 km of pipeline to connect Saguenay to Sept-Îles, has a preliminary estimated cost of $750 million. To make a fully informed decision on a project of such magnitude, the Government of Quebec and Gaz Métro are exercising due diligence through three comprehensive feasibility studies, the conclusions of which, initially expected before the end of the 2012 calendar year, are now expected by March 31, 2013. If the conclusions are positive, Gaz Métro-QDA will continue the regulatory and environmental approval process in 2013. If all the necessary approvals are obtained, the preparatory work and construction of Gaz Métro-QDA's Côte-Nord service could begin in 2015 with a view to start-up in 2016.Energy Distribution in VermontThe first-quarter net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro generated by natural gas and electricity distribution activities in Vermont increased $6.3 million from the first quarter of fiscal 2012.This increase was mainly due to:an increase in the net income of Green Mountain Power Corporation (GMP) given the June 2012 CVPS acquisition, mitigated by a $1.2 million unfavourable impact from costs incurred in the wake of Hurricane Sandy, net of the portion that can be recovered in future rates through the profit and loss sharing mechanism; anda $5.5 million increase in the shares in the earnings of entities subject to significant influence following the acquisition of CVPS, which also owned an interest in these entities subject to significant influence;mitigated by:a $3.8 million increase in financing costs resulting mainly from the additional financing assumed for the CVPS acquisition.The system development project of Vermont Gas Systems, Inc. (VGS) On October 17, 2012, VGS announced an agreement with International Paper Company under which one of that company's mills will purchase, under a long-term contract, natural gas from VGS starting at the end of the 2015 calendar year. The required system extension would be an expansion of the planned VGS system extension into Addison County in order to serve the communities of Vergennes and Middlebury.In fiscal 2013, VGS plans on seeking the regulatory approvals needed for the construction of the additional facilities required to deliver natural gas to International Paper Company's mill. On December 20, 2012, VGS filed for the regulatory approval of the extension into Addison County. A decision from the VPSB is expected by the end of fiscal 2013 such that construction may commence in 2014. If approved, these system extensions could give rise to an investment of approximately US$100 million.Kingdom Community Wind (KCW) projectAt the end of fiscal 2011, GMP began construction of the KCW project, a 63-megawatt wind power project located in Lowell, Vermont. This US$150 million, 21-turbine wind power project can supply power to more than 24,000 households consisting of GMP's customers and members of the Vermont Electric Cooperative, Inc. Construction of the wind farm has been completed, and the 21 turbines have been in service since November 20, 2012.Natural Gas TransportationThe segment's first-quarter net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro was up $0.3 million compared to the first quarter of fiscal 2012, mainly due to a $1.5 million increase in the share of the income before income taxes of Portland Natural Gas Transmission System (PNGTS), partly as a result of the fact that less natural gas was available on other systems, thus helping to increase its short-term sales, mitigated by a $1.1 million income tax expense allocation from Gaz Métro's wholly owned subsidiary 9265-0860 Québec Inc. to Trans Québec & Maritimes Pipeline (TQM).9265-0860 Québec Inc. was created in 2012 to offset the effects of a change in fiscal year-end imposed by the Income Tax Act (Canada) applicable to multi-tiered partnership structures. Since October 1, 2012, the income tax expense related to TQM has been recognized by Gaz Métro rather than by its Partners, Valener and Gaz Métro inc. (GMi).Energy ProductionThis new segment consists of non-regulated energy production activities related to the wind farm construction projects located on the private lands of Seigneurie de Beaupré. The wind power projects are under construction and therefore have not yet begun to generate revenue.Energy Services, Storage and OtherThis segment now includes the natural gas storage activities that had previously been presented in a separate segment as at September 30, 2012.Aside from the $14.7 million net gain realized on the disposal of the interest in HydroSolution, the segment's net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro totalled $2.6 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2013, a similar amount to that of the same period in fiscal 2012.This segment includes the activities of Gaz Métro Transport Solutions, L.P. (Transport Solutions), an indirect subsidiary of Gaz Métro created to develop natural gas for use as fuel by the transportation industry.Natural gas as transportation fuelSince July 2011, Transport Solutions has been installing the facilities needed to supply liquefied natural gas (LNG) to 180 freight trucks under an agreement entered into with Transport Robert 1973 Ltée (Robert Transport). For Transport Solutions, the project represents an investment of approximately $5 million. Two private stations set up at Robert Transport's terminals in Boucherville and Mississauga are currently in service. Pending completion of a permanent public station in Lévis, in October 2012 Transport Solutions installed a temporary mobile fuelling station on the Robert Transport property in Lévis, which can also service other carriers. For fiscal 2013, there are also plans for building two other permanent public stations in Rivière-du-Loup and Cornwall. While waiting for these permanent public stations to be built and in order to accelerate the development of the public supply network, two other mobile fuelling stations have been ordered. These mobile stations may be deployed in different locations pending the construction of permanent stations.Gaz Métro's segment results - Consolidated net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro For the quarters ended December 31 (1)     (in millions of dollars)2012 2011 ChangeEnergy Distribution      Gaz Métro-QDA49.5 43.7 5.8 VGS and GMP17.6 7.5 10.1 Financing costs of investments in this segment (2)(4.9) (1.1) (3.8) 62.2 50.1 12.1Natural Gas Transportation      TQM, PNGTS and Champion Pipe Line Corporation Limited4.8 5.1 (0.3) Financing costs of investments in this segment (2)(0.4) (1.0) 0.6 4.4 4.1 0.3Energy Production (3)      Gaz Métro Éole inc. and Gaz Métro Éole 4 inc.(0.1) (0.6) 0.5 Financing costs of investments in this segment (2)- - - (0.1) (0.6) 0.5Energy Services, Storage and Other (3)      Energy and storage17.7 3.1 14.6 Financing costs of investments in this segment (2)(0.4) (0.8) 0.4 Net gain on the disposal of the interest in HydroSolution(14.7) - (14.7) 2.6 2.3 0.3Corporate Affairs      Corporate Affairs(1.3) (1.1) (0.2) Costs related to the CVPS acquisition- 0.5 (0.5) (1.3) (0.6) (0.7)Consolidated net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro, excluding non-recurring items67.8 55.3 12.5Non-recurring items14.7 (0.5) 15.2Consolidated net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro82.5 54.8 27.7(1)Seasonal temperature fluctuations influence the energy consumption levels of customers and in turn have an influenceon Gaz Métro's interim consolidated financial results. Historically, Gaz Métro's revenues and profitability are higher in thefirst two quarters of a fiscal year than in the last two quarters.(2)These costs consist of the interest on the long-term debt incurred by the Partnership to finance investments in thesubsidiaries, joint ventures and entities subject to significant influence of each segment.(3)During the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Gaz Métro modified its financial reporting structure for segment disclosures giventhe development of important wind power projects and the sale of certain companies. Created for this new structure was the Energy Production segment, which had previously been included in the Corporate Affairs and Other segment. Gaz Métro alsocombined the Storage segment with the Energy Services and Other segment to create a single segment named Energy Services, Storage and Other. Last year's first-quarter figures have been reclassified to present financial information thatreflects the new business segments.Conference callValener will hold a conference call with financial analysts today, Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11 am (Eastern Time) to discuss its results and those of Gaz Métro for the first quarter ended December 31, 2012.Pursuant to an administration and management support agreement entered into between Valener and Gaz Métro on September 30, 2010, Gaz Métro acts as manager of Valener. As such, Pierre Despars, Executive Vice-President, Corporate Affairs and Chief Financial Officer of Gaz Métro inc., the General Partner of Gaz Métro, will be the speaker, and a question period will follow.The call will be broadcast live and is accessible by dialling 647-427-7450 or toll-free 1-888-231-8191. It will also be available via webcast on Valener's website (www.valener.com) in the Events & Presentations page of the Investors section.The media and other interested parties are invited to listen in. After the conference call, the speaker will be available for media interviews and questions.For 30 days afterward, a rebroadcast will be accessible by dialling 416-849-0833 or toll-free 1-855-859-2056 (access code: 88001458). For 90 days afterward, the call can be played back on the above-mentioned website.Annual shareholders' meetingValener will hold its annual shareholders' meeting on March 27, 2013 at 10 am (Eastern Time) at the Palais des congrès de Montréal in Montréal, Quebec.Overview of ValenerValener owns an economic interest of approximately 29% in Gaz Métro. Valener therefore has a stake in the energy industry and benefits from Gaz Métro's diversified profile, both in terms of geography and business segment. Valener also owns a 24.5% indirect interest in the wind power projects developed with Gaz Métro and Boralex Inc. on the private lands of Séminaire de Québec. Valener's common shares and preferred shares are listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the "VNR" trading symbol for common shares and under the "VNR.PR.A" trading symbol for Series A preferred shares. www.valener.comOverview of Gaz MétroWith more than $5 billion in assets, Gaz Métro is a leading energy provider. It is the largest natural gas distribution company in Quebec, where its more than 10,000-km underground network of pipelines serves 300 municipalities and more than 185,000 customers. Gaz Métro is also present in Vermont, producing electricity and distributing electricity and natural gas to meet the needs of some 300,000 customers. Gaz Métro is actively involved in the development of innovative, promising energy projects such as the production of wind power, the use of natural gas as a transportation fuel, and the development of biomethane. Gaz Métro is committed to ensuring the satisfaction of its customers, providing support to businesses, local organizations, families and communities, and meeting the expectations of its Partners (Gaz Métro inc. and Valener) and employees. www.gazmetro.comCautionary note regarding forward-looking statementsThis 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 GMi, in its capacity as General Partner of Gaz Métro, and 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," "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 Gaz Métro to differ significantly from current expectations, as they are described in the forward-looking statements, including but not limited to the general nature of the aforementioned, terms of decisions rendered by regulatory agencies, the competitiveness of natural gas in relation to other energy sources, the reliability of natural gas and electricity supply, the integrity of the natural gas and electricity distribution systems, the progress of wind power projects and other development projects, the ability to complete attractive acquisitions and the related financing and integration aspects, the ability to secure future financing, general economic conditions, exchange rate and interest rate fluctuations, weather conditions and other factors described in the "Risk Factors Relating to Valener" and the "Risk Factors Relating to Gaz Métro" sections of Valener's MD&A for the year ended September 30, 2012 and in Gaz Métro's and Valener's disclosure filings. Although the forward-looking statements contained herein are based on what the management of the manager believes to be reasonable assumptions, in particular, assumptions to the effect that no unforeseen changes in the legislative and regulatory framework of energy markets in Quebec and in the New England states will occur; that the applications filed with the Régie, in particular the rate applications and the authorized return on deemed equity applications will be granted as filed; that natural gas prices will remain competitive; and that no significant event occurring outside the ordinary course of business, such as a natural disaster or other calamity, will occur; that Gaz Métro will be able to continue distributing substantially all of its net income (excluding non-recurring items); that the wind power projects in which Valener and Gaz Métro own indirect interests will be completed on schedule and as per specification; that GMP will be able to quickly and effectively integrate CVPS's operations; and that the conclusions of studies on the project to serve the Côte-Nord region will be positive and that the regulatory approvals will be obtained; in addition to the other assumptions described in the Valener and Gaz Métro MD&As for the quarter ended December 31, 2012, 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. Readers are cautioned to not place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements.HIGHLIGHTS VALENER INC.3 months ended December 31(in millions of dollars, except for share data, which is in dollars, and unless otherwise indicated) 2012  2011  (unaudited)  (unaudited)      CONSOLIDATED INCOME AND CASH FLOWS     Share in the net income of Gaz Métro$23.9 $15.9Net income attributable to the common shareholders$17.5 $10.1Basic and diluted net income per common share$0.47 $0.27Cash flows related to operating activities$10.5 $(4.3)Dividends declared per common share$0.25 $0.25Weighted average number of common shares outstanding (in millions) 37.6  37.4OTHER INFORMATION     Market prices for common shares on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX):      High$16.27 $16.29 Low$15.68 $13.55 Close$16.05 $15.98CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS       December 31,2012  September 30,2012  (unaudited)  (audited)      Total assets$779.3 $765.5Total debt$52.0 $51.4Shareholders' equity$688.4 $675.7      GAZ MÉTRO LIMITED PARTNERSHIP3 months ended December 31(in millions of dollars, except for unit data, which is in dollars, and unless otherwise indicated) 2012  2011  (unaudited)  (unaudited)      CONSOLIDATED INCOME AND CASH FLOWS     Revenues$622.8 $536.6Gross margin$260.6 $202.8Net income attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro$82.5 $54.8Cash flows related to operating activities$66.9 $80.2Purchases of property, plant and equipment$114.6 $118.0Change in deferred charges and credits$50.9 $42.4Basic and diluted net income per unit attributable to the partners of Gaz Métro$0.56 $0.43Distributions declared per unit to the Partners of Gaz Métro$0.28 $0.28Weighted average number of units outstanding (in millions) 148.7  126.3OTHER INFORMATION     Authorized rate of return on deemed common equity(Gaz Métro's natural gas distribution activity in Quebec) (1) (3) 8.90%  9.69%Credit ratings      First mortgage bonds (Standard and Poor's (S&P) / DBRS Limited (DBRS))(2) A/A  A/A Commercial paper (S&P/DBRS) (2) A-1(low)/R-1(low)  A-1(low)/R-1(low)CONSOLIDATED BALANCE SHEETS       December 31, 2012  September 30,2012  (unaudited)  (audited)Total assets$5,307.8 $5,118.0Total debt$2,599.8 $2,474.1Partners' equity attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro$1,352.2 $1,303.3Partners' equity per unit attributable to the Partners of Gaz Métro$9.10 $8.77(1)Including the sharing of productivity gains, if applicable, and excluding the Global Energy Efficiency Plan incentive.(2)Through its General Partner, Gaz Métro inc.(3)Pursuant to the Régie's procedural decision of January 14, 2013, the Régie estimated that it might be appropriate to suspend applicationof the automatic adjustment formula and to maintain the 8.90% rate of return on deemed common equity (excluding productivity gains) setin 2012.     SOURCE: VALENER INC.For further information: Investors and AnalystsCaroline Warren Investor Relations 514-598-3324 MediaMarie-Noëlle Cano Media and Public Relations 514-598-3449