- 4Q 2016 Cash Flow from Operations of $1.597 billion, Up $1.034 billion Including Barnett Contract Restructure
- Full-Year 2016 Adjusted EBITDA of $4.427 billion, Up 8.3% vs. 2015
- Increased Fee-Based Revenues and Lowered Expenses for Full-Year 2016 as Additional Assets were Placed Into Service
- Full-Year 2016 DCF of $2.970 billion, Up $151 million, or 5.4% vs. 2015
- Financial Repositioning Strengthens Distribution Coverage, Enhances Credit Profile, Improves Cost of Capital, Removes Need to Access Public Equity Markets, Boosts Growth Outlook
TULSA, Okla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Williams Partners L.P. (NYSE: WPZ) today announced its financial results for the three and 12 months ended Dec. 31, 2016.
|Summary Financial Information||4Q||Full Year|
|Amounts in millions, except per-unit amounts. Per unit amounts are reported on a diluted basis. All amounts are attributable to Williams Partners L.P.||2016||2015||2016||2015|
|Cash Flow from Operations||$1,597||$563||$3,938||$2,661|
|Net income (loss)||$145||($1,644)||$431||($1,449)|
|Net income (loss) per common unit||$0.24||($2.68)||($0.17)||($3.27)|
|Non-GAAP Measures (1)|
|DCF attributable to partnership operations||
|Cash distribution coverage ratio||
|(1) Adjusted EBITDA, distributable cash flow (DCF) and cash distribution coverage ratio are non-GAAP measures. Reconciliations to the most relevant measures included in GAAP are attached to this news release.|
Fourth-Quarter and Full-Year 2016 Financial Results
Williams Partners reported unaudited fourth-quarter 2016 net income attributable to controlling interests of $145 million, a $1.789 billion improvement over the fourth-quarter 2015. The favorable change was driven by the absence of a $1.1 billion impairment of goodwill and $580 million of lower impairments of equity-method investments. The improvement also reflected lower operating and maintenance (O&M) and selling, general and administrative (SG&A) expenses.
For the year, Williams Partners reported unaudited net income attributable to controlling interests of $431 million, a $1.880 billion improvement compared to full-year 2015 results. The favorable change was driven by the absence of a $1.1 billion impairment of goodwill and $929 million of lower impairments of equity-method investments. The improvements also reflected an increase in olefins margins associated with the Geismar olefins plant, higher fee-based revenues, lower O&M and SG&A expenses and higher equity earnings. These favorable changes were partially offset by increased asset-impairment charges, a loss associated with the sale of our Canadian operations, a reduction of $119 million of insurance recoveries and higher interest expenses.
Williams Partners reported fourth-quarter 2016 Adjusted EBITDA of $1.113 billion, a $49 million increase over fourth-quarter 2015. The increase was due primarily to $48 million lower O&M and SG&A expenses and $17 million higher commodity margins. These increases were partially offset by $23 million due to a one-time, year-to-date true-up of amounts previously recognized during 2016 related to Barnett Shale minimum volume commitments caused by the Barnett re-contracting that occurred during the fourth quarter.
For the year, Williams Partners reported Adjusted EBITDA of $4.427 billion, a $338 million increase over full-year 2015 results. The increase is due primarily to $130 million lower O&M and SG&A expenses, $111 million higher olefins margins due primarily to a full year of Geismar operations, $93 million higher fee-based revenues primarily due to expansion projects and $47 million of higher proportional EBITDA from joint ventures. These favorable changes were partially offset by $43 million of other unfavorable changes including a $20 million unfavorable change in foreign currency exchange gains and losses related to our former Canadian operations.
Distributable Cash Flow and Distributions
For fourth-quarter 2016, Williams Partners generated $699 million in distributable cash flow (DCF) attributable to partnership operations, compared with $718 million in DCF attributable to partnership operations for the same period last year. The decrease is due primarily to a $33 million increase in maintenance capital and a $25 million increase in interest expense, partially offset by the previously described improvement in Adjusted EBITDA. For fourth-quarter 2016, the cash distribution coverage ratio was 0.92x.
For the year, the partnership generated $2.970 billion in DCF, an increase of $151 million over full-year 2015 DCF results. The increase was due primarily to the $338 million increase in Adjusted EBITDA described above, partially offset by $125 million higher interest expense and $39 million higher maintenance capital. For full-year 2016, the cash distribution coverage ratio was 1.01x.
On Feb. 10, 2017, Williams Partners paid a regular quarterly cash distribution of $0.85 per unit for its common unitholders of record at the close of business on Feb. 3, 2017.
Alan Armstrong, chief executive officer of Williams Partners’ general partner, made the following comments:
“We realized strong cash flows from operations in 2016. The fact that Williams Partners delivered 8 percent year-over-year growth in Adjusted EBITDA demonstrates the strength of our proven natural gas-focused strategy. Our well-positioned natural gas infrastructure assets enabled us to once again organically grow fee-based revenues while our disciplined approach drove lower expenses even as we brought new assets online.
“The demand for natural gas for clean-power generation, heating, industrial use and LNG continues to increase as highlighted last month when Transco established record high one-day and three-day delivery volumes. We have construction underway on a number of Transco-expansion projects. And just this month, we successfully placed into service our Gulf Trace project, a 1.2 million dekatherm per day expansion of the Transco pipeline system to serve Cheniere Energy’s Sabine Pass Liquefaction export terminal in Louisiana. Gulf Trace is just one of the five Transco projects that are planned to be completed this year. This project was also brought in under budget and nearly six months ahead of its original planned in-service date.
“In January, we took steps to strengthen our financial position and lower our cost of capital to match up with our peer-leading, high-quality, low-risk growth portfolio. We continue to fortify our focus on natural gas market fundamentals. Once the Geismar monetization process is completed, we expect to be at approximately 97 percent fee-based revenues driven by natural gas volumes. As a result, Williams and Williams Partners are positioned for long-term, sustainable growth.”
Business Segment Results
|Williams Partners||Modified and Adjusted EBITDA|
|Amounts in millions||4Q 2016||4Q 2016||4Q 2015||4Q 2015||Full-Year 2016||Full-Year 2015|
|Modified EBITDA||Adjust.||Adjusted EBITDA||Modified EBITDA||Adjust.||Adjusted EBITDA||Modified EBITDA||Adjust.||Adjusted EBITDA||Modified EBITDA||Adjust.||Adjusted EBITDA|
|NGL & Petchem Services||81||6||87||72||–||72||(23||)||383||360||321||(124||)||197|
|Definitions of modified EBITDA and adjusted EBITDA and schedules reconciling these measures to net income are included in this news release.|
For the fourth-quarter and full-year 2016, the Atlantic-Gulf operating area included the Transco interstate gas pipeline and a 41 percent interest in the Constitution interstate gas pipeline development project, which Williams Partners consolidates. The segment also included the partnership’s significant natural gas gathering and processing and crude oil production handling and transportation in the Gulf Coast region. These operations include a 51 percent consolidated interest in Gulfstar One, a 50 percent equity method interest in Gulfstream and a 60 percent equity-method interest in the Discovery pipeline and processing system.
Atlantic-Gulf reported Modified EBITDA of $451 million for fourth-quarter 2016, compared with $385 million for fourth-quarter 2015. Adjusted EBITDA increased by $59 million to $449 million for the same time period. The increase in both measures was due primarily to $47 million higher fee-based revenues primarily from offshore projects and Transco expansion projects as well as $9 million of higher NGL margins.
For the year, Atlantic-Gulf reported Modified EBITDA of $1.600 billion, an increase of $77 million over full-year 2015. Adjusted EBITDA increased $112 million to $1.640 billion. The increase in Modified EBITDA was due primarily to $74 million higher fee-based revenues predominantly from Transco expansion projects and offshore expansions as well as $30 million higher proportional EBITDA from Discovery. Partially offsetting these increases were higher expenses primarily related to the net impact of new assets being placed into service and increased maintenance and modernization expenses. Modified EBITDA was also unfavorably impacted by potential rate refunds associated with litigation, severance-related costs, and project development costs, all of which are excluded from Adjusted EBITDA.
For the fourth-quarter and full-year 2016, the Central operating area included operations that were previously part of the former Access Midstream segment located in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. These operations became the Central operating area effective Jan. 1, 2016 and prior-period segment disclosures have been recast for this change. In 2016, Central provided gathering, treating and compression services to producers under long-term, fee-based contracts. The segment also includes a non-operated 50 percent interest in the Delaware Basin gas gathering system in the Mid-Continent region.
The Central operating area reported Modified EBITDA of $340 million for fourth-quarter 2016, a decrease of $44 million from fourth-quarter 2015. Adjusted EBITDA decreased by $25 million to $194 million. The unfavorable change in Modified EBITDA was due primarily to a $27 million reduction in fee-based revenues, which decreased primarily due to volume declines in the Barnett and Anadarko as well as a lower rate in the Barnett, Anadarko, and Eagle Ford areas. These decreases were partially offset by higher rates and volumes in the Haynesville Basin primarily attributable to the restructured contract with Chesapeake. Modified EBITDA was also favorably impacted by a $16 million decrease in O&M and SG&A expenses from fourth-quarter 2015. Adjusted EBITDA was unfavorably impacted by approximately $23 million due to a one-time, year-to-date true-up of amounts previously recognized during 2016 related to Barnett Shale minimum volume commitments caused by the Barnett re-contracting that occurred during the fourth quarter.
For the year, the Central operating area reported Modified EBITDA of $807 million, a decrease of $33 million from full-year 2015 results. Adjusted EBITDA increased $13 million to $912 million. The decrease in Modified EBITDA was due primarily to lower fee-based revenues and higher non-cash asset impairment charges. Consistent with the fourth-quarter explanation, fee revenues decreased primarily due to volume declines in the Barnett and Anadarko as well as a lower rate in the Barnett, Anadarko, and Eagle Ford areas. These decreases were partially offset by higher rates and volumes in the Haynesville primarily attributable to the restructured contract with Chesapeake. Full-year 2016 Modified EBITDA was also favorably impacted by lower O&M and SG&A expenses due to cost-reduction efforts and the absence of prior-year merger and transition costs as well as higher proportional EBITDA from joint-venture operations. Adjusted EBITDA was not impacted by the impairment charges or merger and transition costs.
NGL & Petchem Services
In 2016, NGL & Petchem Services operating area included an 88.5 percent undivided ownership interest in an olefins production facility in Geismar, Louisiana, along with a refinery grade propylene splitter and pipelines in the Gulf Coast region. This segment also included the partnership’s energy commodities marketing business, an NGL fractionator and storage facilities near Conway, Kan. and a 50 percent equity-method interest in Overland Pass Pipeline. Prior to the sale of all of our Canadian-based assets effective Sept. 23, 2016, this segment included midstream operations in Alberta, Canada, including an oil sands offgas processing plant near Fort McMurray, 261 miles of NGL and olefins pipelines and an NGL/olefins fractionation facility at Redwater.
NGL & Petchem Services operating area reported Modified EBITDA of $81 million for fourth-quarter 2016, compared with $72 million for fourth-quarter 2015. Adjusted EBITDA increased by $15 million to $87 million. The increase in Modified EBITDA was due primarily to $7 million lower O&M and SG&A expenses and $6 million higher commodity margins. Partially offsetting these increases were $8 million lower fee-based revenues.
For the year, NGL & Petchem Services operating area reported Modified EBITDA of ($23) million compared with $321 million during full-year 2015. Adjusted EBITDA increased $163 million to $360 million. The decrease in Modified EBITDA was due primarily to a second-quarter 2016 non-cash impairment charge of $341 million associated with our former Canadian operations, the additional loss associated with the sale, and $119 million of lower business-interruption proceeds. Partially offsetting these unfavorable items were $111 million favorable olefins margins, primarily related to higher volumes and prices at the Geismar olefins plant, and a $30 million increase in fee-based revenues primarily from our former Canadian operations. Adjusted EBITDA excludes the impairment charge, additional loss-on-sale and insurance proceeds.
Northeast G&P operating area includes the Susquehanna Supply Hub, Ohio Valley Midstream, Marcellus South, Bradford and Utica midstream gathering and processing operations as well as its 69-percent equity investment in Laurel Mountain Midstream, and its 58.4 percent equity investment in Caiman Energy II. Caiman Energy II owns a 50 percent interest in Blue Racer Midstream. The Marcellus South, Bradford and Utica midstream gathering and processing operations that were previously within the former Access Midstream segment became part of Northeast G&P effective Jan. 1, 2016 and prior period segment disclosures have been recast for this change.
Northeast G&P operating area reported Modified EBITDA of $202 million for fourth-quarter 2016, compared with $196 million for fourth-quarter 2015. Adjusted EBITDA increased $3 million to $212 million. The increase in Modified EBITDA was due primarily to $15 million lower O&M and SG&A expenses and $12 million higher fee-based revenues. Partially offsetting the increases was $18 million lower proportional joint-venture EBITDA.
For the year, Northeast G&P operating area reported Modified EBITDA of $840 million compared with $753 million for full-year 2015. Adjusted EBITDA increased $43 million to $861 million. The increase in Modified EBITDA was driven by $37 million higher fee-based revenues, $36 million reduced O&M expenses, and a reduced level of non-cash impairment charges. Adjusted EBITDA excludes the impact of non-cash impairment charges.
In 2016, the West operating area included the partnership’s Northwest Pipeline interstate gas pipeline system, as well as gathering, processing and treating operations in Wyoming, the Piceance Basin and the Four Corners area.
West operating area reported Modified EBITDA of $170 million for fourth-quarter 2016, compared with $77 million for fourth-quarter 2015. Adjusted EBITDA of $171 million is $4 million lower than the same period in 2015. The increase in Modified EBITDA was driven primarily by the absence of $97 million non-cash impairment charges incurred in 2015. The favorable change in Modified EBITDA was also driven by $7 million lower O&M and SG&A expenses, $4 million higher commodity margins, and $11 million lower fee-based revenues. Adjusted EBITDA excludes the prior-year non-cash impairment charges.
For the year, the West operating area reported Modified EBITDA of $649 million compared with $557 million for full-year 2015. Adjusted EBITDA increased $6 million to $654 million. The increase in Modified EBITDA was driven primarily by the absence of $97 million non-cash impairment charges incurred in 2015. The favorable change in Modified EBITDA was also driven by $26 million lower O&M and SG&A expenses and $17 million lower fee-based revenues. Adjusted EBITDA excludes the prior-year non-cash impairment charges.
Financial Repositioning and Guidance
On Jan. 9, 2017, Williams Partners and Williams (NYSE: WMB) announced a financial repositioning plan designed to strengthen Williams Partners’ distribution coverage, enhance the partnership’s credit profile, improve cost of capital, remove the partnership’s need to access public equity markets for the next several years and boost its growth outlook. The plan included the permanent waiver of Incentive Distribution Rights (IDRs) held by Williams in exchange for 289 million newly issued Williams Partners’ common units which closed on Jan. 9.
Also as part of this plan, Williams purchased 58.7 million newly issued Williams Partners common units with total proceeds of $2.1 billion. Williams Partners used $600 million of these proceeds to repay 7.25 percent notes that matured on Feb. 1, 2017 and also announced that on Feb. 23, 2017 it will redeem all of its $750 million 6.125 percent senior notes due 2022. We expect the balance of the proceeds to be used to fund capital and investment expenditures. Also as previously announced, Williams expects to raise more than $2 billion in after-tax proceeds from planned asset monetizations of Geismar and other select assets which are not core to our strategy. We expect proceeds from these monetizations will be used for additional debt reduction and to fund capital and investment expenditures.
Additionally, the partnership announced its intent to pay a regular quarterly cash distribution of $0.60 per common unit beginning with the next quarterly distribution for the quarter ending March 31, 2017. The partnership expects to pay $2.40 per common unit for 2017 and is targeting 5 to 7 percent annual growth over the next several years.
Guidance for 2017 (as previously announced on Jan. 9, 2017) is unchanged.
Williams Partners’ Year-End 2016 Materials to be Posted Shortly; Q&A Webcast Scheduled for Tomorrow
Williams Partners’ fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 financial results package will be posted shortly at www.williams.com. The materials will include the data book and analyst package.
Williams Partners and Williams will host a joint Q&A live webcast on Thursday, Feb. 16 at 9:30 a.m. EST. A limited number of phone lines will be available at (800) 946-0709. International callers should dial (719) 325-2376. The conference ID is 7387877. A link to the webcast, as well as replays of the webcast, will be available for two weeks following the event at www.williams.com.
The partnership plans to file its 2016 Form 10-K with the Securities and Exchange Commission next week. Once filed, the document will be available on both the SEC and Williams Partners’ websites.
Definitions of Non-GAAP Measures
This news release may include certain financial measures – Adjusted EBITDA, distributable cash flow and cash distribution coverage ratio – that are non-GAAP financial measures as defined under the rules of the SEC.
Our segment performance measure, modified EBITDA, is defined as net income (loss) before income tax expense, net interest expense, equity earnings from equity-method investments, other net investing income, impairments of equity investments and goodwill, depreciation and amortization expense, and accretion expense associated with asset retirement obligations for nonregulated operations. We also add our proportional ownership share (based on ownership interest) of modified EBITDA of equity-method investments.
Adjusted EBITDA further excludes items of income or loss that we characterize as unrepresentative of our ongoing operations and may include assumed business interruption insurance related to the Geismar plant. Management believes these measures provide investors meaningful insight into results from ongoing operations.
We define distributable cash flow as adjusted EBITDA less maintenance capital expenditures, cash portion of interest expense, income attributable to non-controlling interests and cash income taxes, plus WPZ restricted stock unit non-cash compensation expense and certain other adjustments that management believes affects the comparability of results. Adjustments for maintenance capital expenditures and cash portion of interest expense include our proportionate share of these items of our equity-method investments.
We also calculate the ratio of distributable cash flow to the total cash distributed (cash distribution coverage ratio). This measure reflects the amount of distributable cash flow relative to our cash distribution. We have also provided this ratio using the most directly comparable GAAP measure, net income (loss).
This news release is accompanied by a reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to their nearest GAAP financial measures. Management uses these financial measures because they are accepted financial indicators used by investors to compare company performance. In addition, management believes that these measures provide investors an enhanced perspective of the operating performance of the Partnership’s assets and the cash that the business is generating.
Neither adjusted EBITDA nor distributable cash flow are intended to represent cash flows for the period, nor are they presented as an alternative to net income or cash flow from operations. They should not be considered in isolation or as substitutes for a measure of performance prepared in accordance with United States generally accepted accounting principles.
About Williams Partners
Williams Partners is an industry-leading, large-cap natural gas infrastructure master limited partnership with a strong growth outlook and major positions in key U.S. supply basins. Williams Partners has operations across the natural gas value chain from gathering, processing and interstate transportation of natural gas and natural gas liquids to petchem production of ethylene, propylene and other olefins. Williams Partners owns and operates more than 33,000 miles of pipelines system wide – including the nation’s largest volume and fastest growing pipeline – providing natural gas for clean-power generation, heating and industrial use.
Williams Partners L.P.
Keith Isbell, 918-573-7308
John Porter, 918-573-0797
Brett Krieg, 918-573-4614