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Atmos Energy Corporation Reports Earnings for Fiscal 2022 First Quarter; Affirms Fiscal 2022 Guidance

Business Wire - Tue Feb 8, 2022

Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE: ATO) today reported consolidated results for its first fiscal quarter ended December 31, 2021.

Highlights

  • Earnings per diluted share was $1.86 for the three months ended December 31, 2021.
  • Consolidated net income was $249.2 million for the three months ended December 31, 2021.
  • Capital expenditures totaled $684.2 million for the three months ended December 31, 2021, with approximately 88 percent of capital spending related to system safety and reliability investments.

Outlook

  • Earnings per diluted share for fiscal 2022 is expected to be in the previously announced range of $5.40 to $5.60.
  • Capital expenditures are expected to be in the range of $2.4 billion to $2.5 billion in fiscal 2022.
  • The company's Board of Directors has declared a quarterly dividend of $0.68 per common share. The indicated annual dividend for fiscal 2022 is $2.72, which represents an 8.8% increase over fiscal 2021.

"Our first quarter performance reflects the successful execution of our strategy to modernize our natural gas distribution, transmission, and storage systems as we continue our journeyto be the safest provider of natural gas services," said Kevin Akers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atmos Energy. "Our employees’ dedication, focus and effort positions us well for continued success in fiscal 2022."

Results for the Three Months Ended December 31, 2021

Consolidated operating income decreased $22.9 million to $275.9 million for the three months ended December 31, 2021, compared to $298.8 million in the prior year. The refund of excess deferred income taxes reduced operating income by $38.8 million year over year, which was substantially offset by a corresponding decrease in income tax expense. Excluding the impact of these refunds, operating income increased $15.9 million due to rate outcomes in both segments and customer growth in our distribution segment, partially offset by lower thru-system revenue in our pipeline and storage segment and increased system maintenance, depreciation and property tax expenses.

Distribution operating income decreased $19.1 million to $190.5 million for the three months ended December 31, 2021, compared with $209.6 million in the prior year period. Refunds of excess deferred taxes reduced operating income by $28.8 million year over year. Key operating drivers for this segment include a $32.2 million increase in rates, and customer growth of $4.3 million partially offset by a $14.5 million increase in operation and maintenance expense driven primarily by higher pipeline maintenance costs and other administrative costs and a $10.1 million increase in depreciation and property tax expenses associated with increased capital investments.

Pipeline and storage operating income decreased $3.9 million to $85.4 million for the three months ended December 31, 2021, compared with $89.3 million in the prior year. Refunds of excess deferred income taxes decreased operating income by $10.0 million. Key operating drivers for this segment include a $14.5 million increase from our GRIP filings approved in fiscal 2021 partially offset by a $5.8 million increase in system maintenance, a $3.1 million increase in depreciation and property tax expenses due to increased capital investments and a $2.5 million decrease in through system revenues.

Capital expenditures increased $227.4 million to $684.2 million for the three months ended December 31, 2021, compared with $456.8 million in the prior year, due to continued system modernization spending.

For the three months ended December 31, 2021, the company generated operating cash flow of $61.8 million, a $95.2 million decrease compared with the three months ended December 31, 2020. The year-over-year decrease reflects working capital changes, primarily due to the timing of gas cost recoveries under our purchase gas cost mechanisms partially offset by the positive effects of successful rate case outcomes achieved in fiscal 2021.

Our equity capitalization ratio at December 31, 2021 was 51.0%, compared with 51.9% at September 30, 2021, due to the issuance of $600 million of 2.85% senior notes in October 2021, partially offset by $261.9 million in equity issuances under our forward equity agreements. Excluding the $2.2 billion of incremental Winter Storm Uri financing issued in fiscal 2021, our equity capitalization ratio was 59.0% at December 31, 2021.

Conference Call to be Webcast February 9, 2022

Atmos Energy will host a conference call with financial analysts to discuss the fiscal 2022 first quarter financial results on Wednesday, February 9, 2022, at 9:00 a.m. Eastern Time. The domestic telephone number is 877-407-3088 and the international telephone number is 201-389-0927. Kevin Akers, President and Chief Executive Officer, and Chris Forsythe, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer, will participate in the conference call. The conference call will be webcast live on the Atmos Energy website at www.atmosenergy.com. A playback of the call will be available on the website later that day.

Forward-Looking Statements

The matters discussed in this news release may contain “forward-looking statements” within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All statements other than statements of historical fact included in this news release are forward-looking statements made in good faith by the company and are intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this news release or any of the company’s other documents or oral presentations, the words “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “forecast”, “goal”, “intend”, “objective”, “plan”, “projection”, “seek”, “strategy” or similar words are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed in this presentation, including the risks relating to regulatory trends and decisions, the company’s ability to continue to access the credit and capital markets, and the other factors discussed in the company’s reports filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. These risks and uncertainties include the following: federal, state and local regulatory and political trends and decisions, including the impact of rate proceedings before various state regulatory commissions; increased federal regulatory oversight and potential penalties; possible increased federal, state and local regulation of the safety of our operations; the impact of greenhouse gas emissions or other legislation or regulations intended to address climate change; possible significant costs and liabilities resulting from pipeline integrity and other similar programs and related repairs; the inherent hazards and risks involved in distributing, transporting and storing natural gas; the availability and accessibility of contracted gas supplies, interstate pipeline and/or storage services; increased competition from energy suppliers and alternative forms of energy; adverse weather conditions; the impact of climate change; the inability to continue to hire, train and retain operational, technical and managerial personnel; increased dependence on technology that may hinder the Company's business if such technologies fail; the threat of cyber-attacks or acts of cyber-terrorism that could disrupt our business operations and information technology systems or result in the loss or exposure of confidential or sensitive customer, employee or Company information; natural disasters, terrorist activities or other events and other risks and uncertainties discussed herein, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control; the capital-intensive nature of our business; our ability to continue to access the credit and capital markets to execute our business strategy; market risks beyond our control affecting our risk management activities, including commodity price volatility, counterparty performance or creditworthiness and interest rate risk; the concentration of our operations in Texas; the impact of adverse economic conditions on our customers; changes in the availability and price of natural gas; increased costs of providing health care benefits, along with pension and postretirement health care benefits and increased funding requirements; and the outbreak of COVID-19 and its impact on business and economic conditions.

Accordingly, while we believe these forward-looking statements to be reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will approximate actual experience or that the expectations derived from them will be realized. Further, the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise any of our forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.

About Atmos Energy

Atmos Energy Corporation, an S&P 500 company headquartered in Dallas, is the country’s largest natural gas-only distributor. We safely deliver reliable, affordable, efficient and abundant natural gas to more than 3 million distribution customers in over 1,400 communities across eight states located primarily in the South. As part of our vision to be the safest provider of natural gas services, we are modernizing our business and infrastructure while continuing to invest in safety, innovation, environmental sustainability and our communities. Atmos Energy manages proprietary pipeline and storage assets, including one of the largest intrastate natural gas pipeline systems in Texas. Find us online at http://www.atmosenergy.com, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

This news release should be read in conjunction with the attached unaudited financial information.

Atmos Energy Corporation

Financial Highlights (Unaudited)

 

Statements of Income

 

Three Months Ended December 31

(000s except per share)

 

2021

 

2020

Operating revenues

 

 

 

 

Distribution segment

 

$

972,422

 

 

$

876,650

 

Pipeline and storage segment

 

 

162,918

 

 

 

159,713

 

Intersegment eliminations

 

 

(122,554

)

 

 

(121,883

)

 

 

 

1,012,786

 

 

 

914,480

 

Purchased gas cost

 

 

 

 

Distribution segment

 

 

496,799

 

 

 

411,072

 

Pipeline and storage segment

 

 

(3,411

)

 

 

(1,244

)

Intersegment eliminations

 

 

(122,225

)

 

 

(121,568

)

 

 

 

371,163

 

 

 

288,260

 

Operation and maintenance expense

 

 

159,110

 

 

 

138,643

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

127,856

 

 

 

115,285

 

Taxes, other than income

 

 

78,796

 

 

 

73,452

 

Operating income

 

 

275,861

 

 

 

298,840

 

Other non-operating income

 

 

8,702

 

 

 

6,072

 

Interest charges

 

 

19,851

 

 

 

22,010

 

Income before income taxes

 

 

264,712

 

 

 

282,902

 

Income tax expense

 

 

15,503

 

 

 

65,224

 

Net income

 

$

249,209

 

 

$

217,678

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic net income per share

 

$

1.86

 

 

$

1.71

 

Diluted net income per share

 

$

1.86

 

 

$

1.71

 

Cash dividends per share

 

$

0.680

 

 

$

0.625

 

Basic weighted average shares outstanding

 

 

133,682

 

 

 

127,034

 

Diluted weighted average shares outstanding

 

 

133,689

 

 

 

127,034

 

 

 

Three Months Ended December 31

Summary Net Income by Segment (000s)

 

2021

 

2020

Distribution

 

$

179,571

 

$

153,692

Pipeline and storage

 

 

69,638

 

 

63,986

Net income

 

$

249,209

 

$

217,678

Atmos Energy Corporation

Financial Highlights, continued (Unaudited)

 

Condensed Balance Sheets

 

December 31,

 

September 30,

(000s)

 

2021

 

2021

Net property, plant and equipment

 

$

15,726,791

 

$

15,063,970

Cash and cash equivalents

 

 

264,005

 

 

116,723

Accounts receivable, net

 

 

514,333

 

 

342,967

Gas stored underground

 

 

220,279

 

 

178,116

Other current assets

 

 

2,275,588

 

 

2,200,909

Total current assets

 

 

3,274,205

 

 

2,838,715

Goodwill

 

 

731,257

 

 

731,257

Deferred charges and other assets

 

 

813,531

 

 

974,720

 

 

$

20,545,784

 

$

19,608,662

 

 

 

 

 

Shareholders' equity

 

$

8,289,545

 

$

7,906,889

Long-term debt

 

 

5,555,177

 

 

4,930,205

Total capitalization

 

 

13,844,722

 

 

12,837,094

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

 

 

398,431

 

 

423,222

Other current liabilities

 

 

626,684

 

 

686,681

Current maturities of long-term debt

 

 

2,401,377

 

 

2,400,452

Total current liabilities

 

 

3,426,492

 

 

3,510,355

Deferred income taxes

 

 

1,744,648

 

 

1,705,809

Regulatory excess deferred taxes

 

 

508,731

 

 

549,227

Deferred credits and other liabilities

 

 

1,021,191

 

 

1,006,177

 

 

$

20,545,784

 

$

19,608,662

Atmos Energy Corporation

Financial Highlights, continued
(Unaudited)

 

Condensed Statements of Cash Flows

 

Three Months Ended December 31

(000s)

 

2021

 

2020

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

249,209

 

 

$

217,678

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

 

127,856

 

 

 

115,285

 

Deferred income taxes

 

 

11,813

 

 

 

64,587

 

Other

 

 

(12,689

)

 

 

(2,976

)

Changes in other assets and liabilities

 

 

(314,365

)

 

 

(237,505

)

Net cash provided by operating activities

 

 

61,824

 

 

 

157,069

 

Cash flows from investing activities

 

 

 

 

Capital expenditures

 

 

(684,180

)

 

 

(456,809

)

Debt and equity securities activities, net

 

 

2,374

 

 

 

511

 

Other, net

 

 

2,058

 

 

 

2,706

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

 

(679,748

)

 

 

(453,592

)

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

 

 

Proceeds from issuance of long-term debt, net of premium/discount

 

 

596,142

 

 

 

597,390

 

Net proceeds from equity offering

 

 

261,943

 

 

 

216,002

 

Issuance of common stock through stock purchase and employee retirement plans

 

 

3,918

 

 

 

4,007

 

Cash dividends paid

 

 

(90,411

)

 

 

(79,023

)

Debt issuance costs

 

 

(6,386

)

 

 

(5,062

)

Net cash provided by financing activities

 

 

765,206

 

 

 

733,314

 

Net increase in cash and cash equivalents

 

 

147,282

 

 

 

436,791

 

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period

 

 

116,723

 

 

 

20,808

 

Cash and cash equivalents at end of period

 

$

264,005

 

 

$

457,599

 

 

 

Three Months Ended December 31

Statistics

 

2021

 

2020

Consolidated distribution throughput (MMcf as metered)

 

 

108,142

 

 

128,470

Consolidated pipeline and storage transportation volumes (MMcf)

 

 

136,067

 

 

144,587

Distribution meters in service

 

 

3,412,929

 

 

3,369,622

Distribution average cost of gas

 

$

7.14

 

$

4.63

 

Provided Content: Content provided by Business Wire. The Globe and Mail was not involved, and material was not reviewed prior to publication.

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