Piedmont Natural Gas Reports 1st Quarter 2011 Results

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 3/11/2011, Location: North America

Piedmont Natural Gas announced results for the first fiscal quarter ended January 31, 2011. For the quarter, the Company reported net income of $84.4 million, or $1.16 per diluted share, compared to net income of $113.7 million, or $1.55 per diluted share for the same period in 2010. It was during the first quarter of 2010 that Piedmont sold one-half of its 30 percent membership interest in SouthStar, posting a pre-tax gain on the sale of $49.7 million or $30.2 million after-tax and $0.41 per diluted share. Piedmont now maintains a 15 percent earnings and ownership interest in SouthStar as a result of the sale.

Piedmont Chairman, President and CEO, Thomas E. Skains, commented on the results, "We are very pleased with the Company's performance during the first quarter. We continue to see positive customer growth in a challenging economic environment, improvements in our industrial markets and increased wholesale marketing margins. We believe this is strong evidence of the value that energy consumers place on natural gas. The market price for natural gas remains affordable and stable even after a start to the winter for us that has been 22 percent colder than normal. The outlook for clean, efficient, abundant and American natural gas is very bright."

Margin for the quarter was $230 million, an increase of $7.1 million from the prior year's quarter. The increase is primarily attributable to continued customer growth, increased natural gas deliveries to customers due to colder than normal weather, and wholesale marketing activity.

Operations and maintenance expenses totaled $51.1 million during the first quarter of 2011, a decrease of $1.0 million from the first quarter of 2010. The decrease is primarily due to lower bad debt and payroll expenses.

Pre-tax income from Piedmont's joint ventures was $7.8 million compared to $11.8 million for the same period in 2010. The decrease is primarily due to the Company's new 15 percent ownership interest in SouthStar Energy as of January 1, 2010.

DIVIDEND INCREASED FOR THIRTY-THIRD CONSECUTIVE YEAR
As previously announced, the Board of Directors on March 4 approved an increase in the Company's quarterly dividend on Common Stock. The new quarterly dividend of 29 cents per share reflects a 3.6 percent increase and will be payable on April 15 to holders of record at the close of business on March 25.

FISCAL 2011 EARNINGS GUIDANCE REAFFIRMED
Piedmont Natural Gas reaffirms its fiscal year 2011 earnings guidance of $1.50 to $1.60 per diluted share. The Company forecasts a capital expenditure level of $293 million in fiscal year 2011 compared to an original forecast of $313 million.


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Related Categories: Accounting, Statistics  Acquisitions and Divestitures  Asset Portfolio Management  Economics/Financial Analysis  General  Industrial Development  Insurance  Investment  Mergers and Acquisitions  Risk Management 

Related Articles: Accounting, Statistics  Acquisitions and Divestitures  Asset Portfolio Management  Economics/Financial Analysis  General  Industrial Development  Insurance  Investment  Mergers and Acquisitions  Risk Management 


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