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Spectra Energy Reports First Quarter 2016 Results

First Quarter Highlights:

  • Distributable cash flow of $523 million and declared dividends of $284 million
  • 2015 expansion projects at U.S. Transmission and Distribution continued to add to EBITDA and cash generation
  • $8 billion of expansion projects in execution advancing as planned

Spectra Energy Corp SE, -2.21% today reported first quarter 2016 financial results. For the quarter, ongoing earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) were $757 million, compared with $788 million in the prior-year quarter.

Distributable cash flow (DCF) for the quarter was $523 million, compared with $578 million in the same quarter last year.

Ongoing net income from controlling interests was $238 million, or $0.35 diluted earnings per share (EPS), compared with $274 million, or $0.41 diluted EPS in first quarter 2015. Reported net income from controlling interests was $234 million, or $0.35 diluted EPS, compared with $267 million, or $0.40 diluted EPS in first quarter 2015.

CEO COMMENT

"Spectra Energy's solid first quarter results are very much in line with our full year expectations. Our businesses generated strong earnings and cash flow despite continued headwinds in the sector. These results, which illustrate our stable, reliable and disciplined business model, continue to give us confidence in our ability to deliver on the plan we outlined to investors in February," said Greg Ebel, chief executive officer, Spectra Energy.

"Spectra Energy benefits from the flexibility of multiple financing options across the corporation. This allows us to access capital markets at favorable rates and fund our $8 billion of secured expansion projects, as demonstrated by our recent successful equity raises. Those expansion projects are advancing as planned, and we continue to make great progress on projects under development. Most notably, we moved closer to placing Access Northeast – our solution to lower electricity costs and improve electric reliability in New England – into execution," continued Ebel.

SEGMENT RESULTS

Spectra Energy Partners Ongoing EBITDA from Spectra Energy Partners was $473 million in first quarter 2016, compared with $464 million in first quarter 2015. The 2015 period excludes a non-cash special item expense of $9 million. These results reflect increased earnings from expansion projects in our natural gas transmission business, partially offset by lower interruptible and short-term contract transportation revenue due to warmer weather and the absence of equity earnings from Sand Hills and Southern Hills natural gas liquids (NGL) pipelines, which Spectra Energy Partners owned until October 2015. Earnings from these NGL pipeline interests are now reflected in the Field Services segment.

Distribution Distribution reported first quarter 2016 EBITDA of $170 million, compared with $192 million in first quarter 2015. This decrease was mainly due to the effect of a lower Canadian dollar and warmer weather, partially offset by incremental earnings from the 2015 Dawn-Parkway expansion project.

Western Canada Transmission & Processing Western Canada Transmission & Processing reported first quarter 2016 EBITDA of $123 million, compared with $161 million in first quarter 2015. The segment's results reflect the effect of a lower Canadian dollar and lower earnings at Empress, largely due to changes in non-cash mark-to-market commodity-related pricing adjustments associated with the risk management program.

Field Services Ongoing EBITDA from Field Services was $10 million in first quarter 2016, compared with $(14) million in first quarter 2015. The ongoing results exclude non-cash special item expenses of $7 million in 2016 and a special item expense of $3 million in 2015. Results for the quarter reflect higher earnings attributable to expansions and favorable contract realignment efforts, including a settlement with a producer that DCP announced earlier in the year. These increases were partially offset by lower commodity prices and volume declines in certain geographic regions.

During the first quarters of 2016 and 2015, respectively, NGL prices averaged $0.37 per gallon versus $0.49 per gallon, NYMEX natural gas averaged $2.09 per million British thermal units (MMBtu) versus $2.98 per MMBtu, and crude oil averaged approximately $33 per barrel versus $49 per barrel.

Other "Other" reported net expenses of $19 million in first quarter 2016, compared with $15 million in first quarter 2015, reflecting higher corporate costs, including employee benefits costs. "Other" primarily consists of corporate expenses, including benefits and captive insurance.

Income Tax Expense Income tax expense was $98 million in first quarter 2016, compared with $101 million in first quarter 2015, reflecting lower earnings. The effective tax rate was 24 percent in the first quarter of both 2016 and 2015.

Interest Expense Interest expense was $151 million in first quarter 2016, compared with $159 million in first quarter 2015, reflecting higher capitalized interest and a lower Canadian dollar, partially offset by higher average long-term debt balances.

Foreign Currency Net income from controlling interests for the quarter was lower by $14 million due to a lower Canadian dollar.

Liquidity and Capital Expenditures Total debt outstanding at Spectra Energy as of March 31, 2016, was $15.0 billion, with available liquidity of $2.7 billion. Including contributions from noncontrolling interests, Spectra Energy has $3.0 billion of capital expansion spending planned in 2016, $1.8 billion of which will be at Spectra Energy Partners.

Through its newly initiated "At the Market" (ATM) equity issuance program, Spectra Energy has received net proceeds of $383 million this year.

In April 2016, Spectra Energy issued 16.1 million common shares to the public for total net proceeds of $479 million. The proceeds were used to purchase 10.4 million common units from Spectra Energy Partners.

Including contributions from noncontrolling interests of $95 million, total capital spending in first quarter 2016 was $596 million, composed of $508 million of growth capital expenditures and $88 million of maintenance capital expenditures.

EXPANSION PROJECT UPDATES Spectra Energy continues to make progress on securing $35 billion in new projects by the end of the decade. At the end of first quarter 2016, the company had:

$10.2 billion – in service and delivering solid cash flows $8.3 billion – in execution, including ~ $2 billion scheduled for 2016 in-service $20+ billion – in development

Spectra Energy Partners

Spectra Energy Partners has advanced numerous projects across the system. Sabal Trail, a joint venture with NextEra Energy and Duke Energy, received its Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) in February. This approval authorizes Sabal Trail, subject to certain conditions, to proceed with construction in order to meet a May 2017 in-service date. On April 1, 2016, Sabal Trail ownership agreements were finalized with Spectra Energy Partners, NextEra Energy and Duke Energy owning 50 percent, 42.5 percent and 7.5 percent respectively.

The NEXUS project, a joint venture with DTE Energy, will allow customers to move up to 1.5 billion cubic feet per day (Bcf/d) to Ohio and Michigan markets with access to the Dawn Hub, which is the second largest physically traded gas hub in North America and is owned and operated by Union Gas. NEXUS has a strong customer base and is moving forward with support from executed customer agreements with local distribution companies (LDCs), as well as Marcellus and Utica producers.

NEXUS has also signed 13 interconnect agreements with industrial facilities and power generators that could connect incremental load across Northern Ohio of up to 1.75 Bcf/d, which demonstrates strong long-term market support for our route and the project. NEXUS has consistently met its milestones and is on target for a November 2017 in-service date.

The AIM project is now in its second year of construction and more than 60 percent complete. AIM is supported by New England LDCs and is scheduled to meet its planned in-service date in fourth quarter 2016.

Advancements continue in our other projects in execution. Projects on track for in-service dates in 2016 include Loudon Expansion, which received its FERC certificate and commenced construction in March, Ozark, Salem Lateral and the first phase of Gulf Markets. Projects scheduled to go into service in 2017 include Atlantic Bridge, Access South, Adair Southwest, Lebanon Extension, TEAL and the second phase of Gulf Markets.

The PennEast project continues to move forward, and received its notice of schedule from FERC in March. The project has an expected in-service date in the second half of 2018.

Access Northeast, a project under development with Eversource Energy and National Grid, is focused on the New England electric power market and saving consumers money while improving the reliability of the region's energy system. In normal weather conditions, the project could save electric consumers an average of $1 billion a year. Savings during the extreme 2013-2014 winter could have been $2.5 billion with Access Northeast in service.

This solution is designed to meet the needs of New England by maximizing use of existing utility corridors and the Algonquin and Maritimes & Northeast pipelines, which directly connect to more than 60 percent of the existing ISO-New England gas-fired electric generation capacity and more than 80 percent of the new capacity that has recently cleared the ISO-New England forward capacity market. Access Northeast will cost-effectively deliver affordable natural gas when power generators need it, with new tariff services to handle peak hours, seasonal needs, and quick starts to support intermittent wind and solar energy.

Access Northeast has executed contracts with electric distribution companies in New Hampshire and Massachusetts totaling more than 50 percent of the 0.9 Bcf/d project design capacity, and processes are under way at state public utility commissions, which are required to approve those contracts. The project anticipates additional contracts as regulatory processes progress in Connecticut, Rhode Island and Maine.

In April, FERC issued the Notice of Intent to prepare an Environmental Impact Statement for the Access Northeast project, which initiates the formal scoping process FERC utilizes to gather input from the public and interested agencies on the project. The project continues to advance toward a late 2018 initial in-service date, and Spectra Energy Partners expects to move Access Northeast into execution later this year.

In the liquids business, the Express Enhancement project is supported by long-term contracts and is on schedule for completion by the end of 2016.

Distribution

Union Gas' Dawn storage hub and mainline transmission system continues to expand and is increasingly important in supplying gas to eastern Canada and the U.S. Northeast.

The 2016 and 2017 Dawn Parkway expansions are in construction and are on schedule for their respective in-service dates. Construction has also commenced on the Burlington-Oakville expansion, which is expected to be in service later this year.

Western Canada Transmission & Processing

Two expansion projects on the company's BC Pipeline in Western Canada are underpinned by long-term contracts with Montney producers. The High Pine project will add capacity through pipeline looping and compression, delivering an additional 240 million cubic feet per day (MMcf/d) of capacity growth, with an expected in-service date of late 2016. The project application was filed for approval with Canada's National Energy Board (NEB) in fourth quarter 2015. Wyndwood will add 50...


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