Atmos Energy Reports Earnings for Fiscal 2022 First Quarter

Source: www.gulfoilandgas.com 2/8/2022, Location: North America

Atmos Energy Corporation 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 journey to 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.


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