Suburban propane partners, l.p. announces second quarter earnings electricity ground explained

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Net income and earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") for the second quarters of fiscal 2018 and 2017 included unrealized (non-cash) mark-to-market adjustments on derivative instruments in both periods; and the second quarter of fiscal 2017 included a loss on debt extinguishment of $1.6 million. Excluding the effect of the foregoing items, Adjusted EBITDA (as defined and reconciled below) increased $24.1 million, or 17.5%, to $162.1 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2018, compared to $138.0 million in the prior year second quarter.

In announcing these results, President and Chief Executive Officer Michael A. Stivala said, "We are very pleased to report an improvement of $24.1 million, or 17.5%, in Adjusted EBITDA for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 compared to the prior year. In a quarter that presented some extreme weather variability, our volumes increased more than 10% over the prior year. Our people were well prepared to meet the increase in weather-related customer demand – delivering outstanding service to the customers and communities we serve, while maintaining their focus on managing costs and driving efficiencies."

Mr. Stivala continued, "As we indicated at the start of this fiscal year, we developed our business plans for fiscal 2018 based on customer demand expectations assuming a weather pattern reflective of average heating degree days over the prior 10 years. Now that we are through the first half of fiscal 2018, we experienced weather that was in line with that 10-year average, albeit 7% warmer than normal (based on average heating degree days over the prior 30 years), and our volumes responded accordingly. We are also making significant strides in our stated goal to restore our financial strength following the past two consecutive years of record warm temperatures. With the improvement in earnings and cash flows, our distribution coverage has increased, we have reduced indebtedness this quarter and our leverage metrics have meaningfully improved."

Retail propane gallons sold in the second quarter of fiscal 2018 were 169.7 million gallons, representing an increase of 15.8 million gallons, or 10.3%, compared to the prior year second quarter. Sales of fuel oil and other refined fuels of 13.6 million gallons in the second quarter of fiscal 2018 increased 5.0% compared to the prior year second quarter. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, average temperatures (as measured by heating degree days) across all of the Partnership’s service territories for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 were 6% warmer than normal, and 9% cooler than the prior year second quarter. The heating degree days for the quarter were concentrated in January and March as average temperatures for those months were at or near normal. However, average temperatures for the month of February were 16% warmer than normal and only slightly cooler than the record warm temperatures in February 2017.

Revenues in the second quarter of fiscal 2018 of $536.3 million increased $85.7 million, or 19.0%, compared to the prior year second quarter, primarily due to higher volumes sold, coupled with higher retail selling prices associated with higher wholesale product costs. Average posted propane prices (basis Mont Belvieu, Texas) and fuel oil prices were 18.0% and 23.4% higher than the prior year second quarter, respectively. Cost of products sold for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 of $246.6 million increased $54.2 million, or 28.1%, compared to $192.5 million in the prior year, primarily due to higher volumes sold and higher wholesale product costs. Cost of products sold included a $3.7 million unrealized (non-cash) loss attributable to the mark-to-market adjustment for derivative instruments used in risk management activities, compared to a $2.5 million unrealized (non-cash) loss in the prior year second quarter. These unrealized losses were excluded from Adjusted EBITDA for both periods in the table below.

Combined operating and general and administrative expenses of $131.2 million for the second quarter of fiscal 2018 increased $8.6 million, or 7.0%, compared to the prior year second quarter, primarily due to higher variable operating costs to support higher demand, and higher variable compensation expense associated with higher earnings.

Depreciation and amortization expense of $32.2 million decreased $0.5 million, or 1.4%, compared to the prior year second quarter. Net interest expense of $19.4 million increased $1.9 million, or 11.0%, compared to the prior year second quarter, primarily due to a higher level of outstanding borrowings under the revolving credit facility. During the second quarter of fiscal 2018, the Partnership repaid approximately $36.0 million under its revolver from operating cash flows, which reduced outstanding revolver borrowings to $174.0 million at the end of the second quarter. The increase in Adjusted EBITDA and the debt repayment during the second quarter resulted in the Partnership’s Consolidated Leverage Ratio improving to 4.58x as of March 2018.

As previously announced on April 26, 2018, the Partnership’s Board of Supervisors had declared a quarterly distribution of $0.60 per Common Unit for the three months ended March 31, 2018. On an annualized basis, this distribution rate equates to $2.40 per Common Unit. The distribution is payable on May 15, 2018 to Common Unitholders of record as of May 8, 2018.

Suburban Propane Partners, L.P. is a publicly traded master limited partnership listed on the New York Stock Exchange. Headquartered in Whippany, New Jersey, Suburban has been in the customer service business since 1928. The Partnership serves the energy needs of approximately 1.0 million residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers through 668 locations in 41 states.

This press release contains certain forward-looking statements relating to future business expectations and financial condition and results of operations of the Partnership, based on management’s current good faith expectations and beliefs concerning future developments. These forward-looking statements are subject to certain risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those discussed or implied in such forward-looking statements, including the following:

• Volatility in the unit cost of propane, fuel oil and other refined fuels, natural gas and electricity, the impact of the Partnership’s hedging and risk management activities, and the adverse impact of price increases on volumes as a result of customer conservation;

• The impact of changes in applicable statutes and government regulations, or their interpretations, including those relating to the environment and climate change, derivative instruments and other regulatory developments on the Partnership’s business;

Some of these risks and uncertainties are discussed in more detail in the Partnership’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for its fiscal year ended September 30, 2017 and other periodic reports filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on forward-looking statements, which reflect management’s view only as of the date made. The Partnership undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statement, except as otherwise required by law.