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Classified in: Business, Covid-19 virus
Subjects: EARNINGS, Conference Call, Webcast

Atmos Energy Corporation Reports Earnings for Fiscal 2021; Initiates Fiscal 2022 through Fiscal 2026 Guidance; Raises Dividend 8.8 Percent


Atmos Energy Corporation (NYSE: ATO) today reported consolidated results for its fourth fiscal quarter ended September 30, 2021.

Highlights

Outlook

"Fiscal 2021 was our 10th year executing our proven investment strategy of operating safely and reliably while we modernize our natural gas distribution, transmission, and storage systems," said Kevin Akers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Atmos Energy. "Our success in Fiscal 2021 once again reflects our employees' commitment and ongoing effort to keep our 3.2 million customers in our 1,400 communities, themselves and their families healthy and safe."

Results for the Fiscal Year Ended September 30, 2021

Consolidated operating income increased $80.9 million to $905.0 million for the year ended September 30, 2021, compared to $824.1 million in the prior year, which primarily reflects rate outcomes in both segments and customer growth in our distribution segment, partially offset by higher bad debt expense and lower service order revenue in our distribution segment, lower through system revenue in our pipeline and storage segment and increased system maintenance, depreciation and property tax expenses. Additionally, operating income decreased due to the refund of excess deferred income taxes, which was substantially offset by a corresponding decrease in income tax expense.

Distribution operating income increased $90.3 million to $618.5 million for the year ended September 30, 2021, compared with $528.2 million in the prior year. The increase reflects a $150.6 million increase in rates and customer growth of $19.2 million, partially offset by a $43.6 million increase in depreciation and property tax expenses associated with increased capital investments, increased bad debt expense of $18.2 million, a $12.8 million increase in pipeline maintenance and other activities and an $8.4 million decrease in service order revenues.

Pipeline and storage operating income decreased $9.4 million to $286.5 million for the year ended September 30, 2021, compared with $295.9 million in the prior year. This decrease is primarily attributable to a $56.2 million increase from our GRIP filings approved in fiscal 2020 and 2021 which was more than offset by a $17.1 million increase in system maintenance, a $17.0 million increase in depreciation and property tax expenses due to increased capital investments, and an $8.2 million decrease in through system revenues.

Additionally, our fiscal year results reflect a reduction in our annual effective tax rate related to the refund of $55.9 million of excess deferred taxes. As a result, our consolidated effective tax rate declined from 19.5% in the prior year to 18.8% for the year ended September 30, 2021.

Capital expenditures increased $33.8 million to $1.97 billion for the year ended September 30, 2021, compared with $1.94 billion in the prior year, due to continued spending for infrastructure replacements and enhancements.

For the year ended September 30, 2021, the company had negative operating cash flow of $1.08 billion, a $2.12 billion decrease compared with the year ended September 30, 2020. The year-over-year decrease is primarily the result of approximately $2.3 billion incurred for gas costs during Winter Storm Uri.

Our equity capitalization ratio at September 30, 2021 was 51.9%, compared with 60.0% at September 30, 2020, due to the issuance of $600 million of 1.50% senior notes in October 2020 and a $2.2 billion debt issuance in March 2021 to finance gas costs incurred during Winter Storm Uri, partially offset by $606.7 million in equity issuances under our forward equity agreements. Excluding the $2.2 billion of incremental financing, our equity capitalization ratio would have been 60.6% at September 30, 2021.

Results for the Three Months Ended September 30, 2021

Consolidated operating income decreased $9.8 million to $91.0 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021, from $100.8 million in the prior-year quarter. Rate case outcomes in both segments were more than offset by increased depreciation and property tax expenses, timing of system maintenance and increased employee costs. Additionally, operating income decreased due to the refund of excess deferred income taxes, which was substantially offset by a corresponding decrease in income tax expense.

Distribution operating income increased $5.7 million to $37.6 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021, compared with $31.9 million in the prior-year quarter. The increase primarily reflects a net $22.9 million increase in rates and a $4.2 million increase in customer growth, which was partially offset by a $12.2 million increase in depreciation and property tax expenses associated with increased capital investments, a $7.0 million increase in pipeline maintenance and other activities and a $6.6 million increase in employee related costs.

Pipeline and storage operating income decreased $15.5 million to $53.4 million for the three months ended September 30, 2021, compared with $68.9 million in the prior-year quarter. This decrease is primarily attributable to a $16.4 million increase in system maintenance expenses primarily due to timing, a $2.2 million increase in depreciation and property tax expenses due to increased capital investments and a $1.7 million decrease in through system revenues, which were partially offset by a $14.4 million increase in rates.

Conference Call to be Webcast November 11, 2021

Atmos Energy will host a conference call with financial analysts to discuss the fiscal 2021 financial results and the outlook for fiscal 2022 through fiscal 2026 on Thursday, November 11, 2021, at 10:00 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.

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Due to the passage of Kansas House Bill 2585 in June 2020 we remeasured our deferred tax liability and updated our state deferred tax rate. As a result, we recorded a non-cash income tax benefit of $21.0 million for the year ended September 30, 2020. Due to the non-recurring nature of this benefit, we believe that net income and diluted net income per share before the non-cash income tax benefit provide a more relevant measure to analyze our financial performance than net income and diluted net income per share in order to allow investors to better analyze our core results and allow the information to be presented on a comparative basis to the prior year. Accordingly, the discussion and analysis of our financial performance herein will reference adjusted net income and adjusted diluted net income per share, non-GAAP measures, which are calculated as follows:

Year Ended September 30

 

2021

 

2020

 

 

Change

 

(In thousands, except per share data)

Net income

$

665,563

 

 

$

601,443

 

 

 

$

64,120

 

Non-cash income tax benefits

?

 

 

(20,962

)

 

 

20,962

 

Adjusted net income

$

665,563

 

 

$

580,481

 

 

 

$

85,082

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Diluted net income per share

$

5.12

 

 

$

4.89

 

 

 

$

0.23

 

Diluted EPS from non-cash income tax benefits

?

 

 

(0.17

)

 

 

0.17

 

Adjusted diluted net income per share

$

5.12

 

 

$

4.72

 

 

 

$

0.40

 

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

 

Year Ended September 30

(000s except per share)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Operating revenues

 

 

 

 

Distribution segment

 

$

3,241,973

 

 

 

$

2,626,993

 

 

Pipeline and storage segment

 

637,347

 

 

 

609,339

 

 

Intersegment eliminations

 

(471,830

)

 

 

(415,195

)

 

 

 

3,407,490

 

 

 

2,821,137

 

 

Purchased gas cost

 

 

 

 

Distribution segment

 

1,501,695

 

 

 

1,071,227

 

 

Pipeline and storage segment

 

1,582

 

 

 

1,548

 

 

Intersegment eliminations

 

(470,560

)

 

 

(413,921

)

 

 

 

1,032,717

 

 

 

658,854

 

 

Operation and maintenance expense

 

679,019

 

 

 

629,601

 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

477,977

 

 

 

429,828

 

 

Taxes, other than income

 

312,779

 

 

 

278,755

 

 

Operating income

 

904,998

 

 

 

824,099

 

 

Other non-operating income (expense)

 

(2,145

)

 

 

7,171

 

 

Interest charges

 

83,554

 

 

 

84,474

 

 

Income before income taxes

 

819,299

 

 

 

746,796

 

 

Income tax expense

 

153,736

 

 

 

145,353

 

 

Net income

 

$

665,563

 

 

 

$

601,443

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic net income per share

 

$

5.12

 

 

 

$

4.89

 

 

Diluted net income per share

 

$

5.12

 

 

 

$

4.89

 

 

Cash dividends per share

 

$

2.50

 

 

 

$

2.30

 

 

Basic weighted average shares outstanding

 

129,779

 

 

 

122,788

 

 

Diluted weighted average shares outstanding

 

129,834

 

 

 

122,872

 

 

 

 

Year Ended September 30

Summary Net Income by Segment (000s)

 

2021

 

2020

Distribution

 

$

445,862

 

 

$

395,664

 

Pipeline and storage

 

219,701

 

 

205,779

 

Net income

 

$

665,563

 

 

$

601,443

 

 

Atmos Energy Corporation

Financial Highlights, continued (Unaudited)

 

Statements of Income

 

Three Months Ended September 30

(000s except per share)

 

2021

 

 

2020

 

Operating revenues

 

 

 

 

Distribution segment

 

$

523,899

 

 

 

$

430,176

 

 

Pipeline and storage segment

 

160,479

 

 

 

156,918

 

 

Intersegment eliminations

 

(115,994

)

 

 

(112,180

)

 

 

 

568,384

 

 

 

474,914

 

 

Purchased gas cost

 

 

 

 

Distribution segment

 

197,426

 

 

 

128,641

 

 

Pipeline and storage segment

 

2,022

 

 

 

1,258

 

 

Intersegment eliminations

 

(115,670

)

 

 

(111,868

)

 

 

 

83,778

 

 

 

18,031

 

 

Operation and maintenance expense

 

199,531

 

 

 

180,072

 

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

124,708

 

 

 

111,746

 

 

Taxes, other than income

 

69,403

 

 

 

64,220

 

 

Operating income

 

90,964

 

 

 

100,845

 

 

Other non-operating expense

 

(16,938

)

 

 

(1,962

)

 

Interest charges

 

14,486

 

 

 

15,494

 

 

Income before income taxes

 

59,540

 

 

 

83,389

 

 

Income tax expense

 

10,820

 

 

 

18,056

 

 

Net income

 

$

48,720

 

 

 

$

65,333

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Basic net income per share

 

$

0.37

 

 

 

$

0.53

 

 

Diluted net income per share

 

$

0.37

 

 

 

$

0.53

 

 

Cash dividends per share

 

$

0.625

 

 

 

$

0.575

 

 

Basic weighted average shares outstanding

 

131,564

 

 

 

124,096

 

 

Diluted weighted average shares outstanding

 

131,653

 

 

 

124,100

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended September 30

Summary Net Income by Segment (000s)

 

2021

 

2020

Distribution

 

$

6,545

 

 

$

19,944

 

Pipeline and storage

 

42,175

 

 

45,389

 

Net income

 

$

48,720

 

 

$

65,333

 

 

Atmos Energy Corporation

Financial Highlights, continued (Unaudited)

 

Condensed Balance Sheets

 

September 30,

 

September 30,

(000s)

 

2021

 

2020

Net property, plant and equipment

 

$

15,063,970

 

 

$

13,355,347

 

Cash and cash equivalents

 

116,723

 

 

20,808

 

Accounts receivable, net

 

342,967

 

 

230,595

 

Gas stored underground

 

178,116

 

 

111,950

 

Other current assets

 

2,200,909

 

 

107,905

 

Total current assets

 

2,838,715

 

 

471,258

 

Goodwill

 

731,257

 

 

731,257

 

Deferred charges and other assets

 

974,720

 

 

801,170

 

 

 

$

19,608,662

 

 

$

15,359,032

 

 

 

 

 

 

Shareholders' equity

 

$

7,906,889

 

 

$

6,791,203

 

Long-term debt

 

4,930,205

 

 

4,531,779

 

Total capitalization

 

12,837,094

 

 

11,322,982

 

Accounts payable and accrued liabilities

 

423,222

 

 

235,775

 

Other current liabilities

 

686,681

 

 

546,461

 

Current maturities of long-term debt

 

2,400,452

 

 

165

 

Total current liabilities

 

3,510,355

 

 

782,401

 

Deferred income taxes

 

1,705,809

 

 

1,456,569

 

Regulatory excess deferred taxes

 

549,227

 

 

697,764

 

Deferred credits and other liabilities

 

1,006,177

 

 

1,099,316

 

 

 

$

19,608,662

 

 

$

15,359,032

 

 

Atmos Energy Corporation

Financial Highlights, continued (Unaudited)

 

Condensed Statements of Cash Flows

 

Year Ended September 30

(000s)

 

2021

 

2020

Cash flows from operating activities

 

 

 

 

Net income

 

$

665,563

 

 

$

601,443

 

Depreciation and amortization

 

477,977

 

 

429,828

 

Deferred income taxes

 

155,355

 

 

155,322

 

One-time income tax benefit

 

?

 

 

(20,962)

 

Other

 

(3,733)

 

 

6,044

 

Change in Winter Storm Uri current regulatory asset

 

(2,003,659)

 

 

?

 

Change in Winter Storm Uri long-term regulatory asset

 

(76,652)

 

 

?

 

Changes in other assets and liabilities

 

(299,102)

 

 

(133,676)

 

Net cash provided by (used in) operating activities

 

(1,084,251)

 

 

1,037,999

 

Cash flows from investing activities

 

 

 

 

Capital expenditures

 

(1,969,540)

 

 

(1,935,676)

 

Debt and equity securities activities, net

 

(6,072)

 

 

491

 

Other, net

 

11,957

 

 

9,667

 

Net cash used in investing activities

 

(1,963,655)

 

 

(1,925,518)

 

Cash flows from financing activities

 

 

 

 

Net decrease in short-term debt

 

?

 

 

(464,915)

 

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

 

2,797,346

 

 

999,450

 

Net proceeds from equity offering

 

606,667

 

 

624,302

 

Issuance of common stock through stock purchase and employee retirement plans

 

15,841

 

 

19,548

 

Settlement of interest rate swaps

 

62,159

 

 

(4,426)

 

Cash dividends paid

 

(323,904)

 

 

(282,444)

 

Debt issuance costs

 

(14,288)

 

 

(7,738)

 

Net cash provided by financing activities

 

3,143,821

 

 

883,777

 

Net increase (decrease) in cash and cash equivalents

 

95,915

 

 

(3,742)

 

Cash and cash equivalents at beginning of period

 

20,808

 

 

24,550

 

Cash and cash equivalents at end of period

 

$

116,723

 

 

$

20,808

 

 

 

 

Three Months Ended September 30

 

Year Ended September 30

Statistics

 

2021

 

2020

 

2021

 

2020

Consolidated distribution throughput (MMcf as metered)

 

65,505

 

 

66,447

 

 

461,346

 

 

439,037

 

Consolidated pipeline and storage transportation volumes (MMcf)

 

157,526

 

 

167,725

 

 

585,857

 

 

621,371

 

Distribution meters in service

 

3,397,249

 

 

3,333,181

 

 

3,397,249

 

 

3,333,181

 

Distribution average cost of gas

 

$

5.96

 

 

$

3.75

 

 

$

4.86

 

 

$

3.67

 

 

 


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