Capital Power reports solid third quarter 2019 results
Results highlighted by record cash flow generation in the quarter driven by the execution of the Company’s growth strategy
EDMONTON, Alberta – Capital Power Corporation (TSX: CPX) today released financial results for the quarter ended September 30, 2019.
Third Quarter Highlights
- Achieved excellent operating performance with 96% facility availability
- Generated net cash flows from operating activities of $209 million and adjusted funds from operations of $225 million
- Entered into an agreement to acquire full ownership of Genesee 3 through divestiture of share of Keephills 3
- Purchased and cancelled 1.6 million common shares under the Normal Course Issuer Bid
Net cash flows from operating activities were $209 million in the third quarter of 2019 compared with $65 million in the third quarter of 2018. Adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) were $225 million in the third quarter of 2019, compared to $156 million in the third quarter of 2018.
Net loss attributable to shareholders in the third quarter of 2019 was $226 million and basic loss per share was $2.25, compared with net income attributable to shareholders of $18 million, and basic earnings per share of $0.08, in the comparable period of 2018. Normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders in the third quarter of 2019, after adjusting for non-recurring items (see Significant Events) and fair value adjustments, were $64 million or $0.60 per share compared with $34 million or $0.33 per share in the third quarter of 2018.
Net cash flows from operating activities were $519 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 compared with $317 million for the nine months ended September 30, 2018. Adjusted funds from operations were $427 million for the first nine months of 2019, compared to $317 million in the comparable nine month period last year.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2019, net loss attributable to shareholders was $57 million and basic loss per share was $0.90 per share, compared with net income attributable to shareholders of $127 million, and basic earnings per share of $0.93, for the nine months ended September 30, 2018. For the nine months ended September 30, 2019, normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders were $109 million, or $1.05 per share, compared with $84 million or $0.81 per share in the first nine months of 2018.
“Our financial results for the third quarter of 2019 were in line with management’s expectations,” said Brian Vaasjo, President and CEO of Capital Power. “The third quarter results benefitted from strong operating performance with average facility availability of 96 per cent. The Company captured an averaged realized Alberta power price of $59 per megawatt hour (MWh) in the third quarter that was 26% higher than the average spot power price of $47 per MWh that was impacted by cooler summer temperatures and low natural gas prices. We continue to have a positive outlook for Alberta power prices that is consistent with current forward prices of nearly $60 per MWh for 2020 and 2021.”
“With the recent acquisitions of Arlington Valley and Goreway and commercial operations of New Frontier Wind, the Company generated a record quarter of adjusted funds from operations of $225 million in the third quarter and $427 million in the first nine months of 2019. Based on our outlook for the remainder of the year, we continue to be on track to achieve AFFO at the top end of the $485 million to $535 million annual guidance range for 2019,” stated Mr. Vaasjo.
“One of the highlights in the third quarter was an agreement to acquire the remaining 50% share of Genesee 3 from TransAlta Corporation in exchange for the divestiture of our 50% share in Keephills 3 and $10 million cash,” continued Mr. Vaasjo. “The transaction closed on October 1 allowing us to assume full control of the Genesee site and providing us strategic freedom to make decisions that further optimize value for the Genesee units including accelerating dual-fuel capability to maximize flexibility in using natural gas as fuel. The non-cash net loss on the transaction is expected to be $227 million, including the $401 million impairment of Keephills 3 recorded in the third quarter, and expected offsetting gains in the fourth quarter upon close of the transaction of $174 million.”
The Company continued to be active with its Normal Course Issuer Bid (NCIB) by purchasing and cancelling 1.6 million common shares at an average exercise price of $30.40 per share for a total cost of $50 million in the third quarter. In the first nine months of 2019, the Company purchased and cancelled 2.0 million common shares at an average exercise price of $29.66 per share for a total cost of $60 million. Under its TSX approved NCIB, the Company can purchase and cancel up to 9.0 million common shares during the one-year period ending February 2020.
|Operational and Financial Highlights 1
|Three months ended
|Nine months ended
|(millions of dollars except per share and operational amounts)||2019||2018||2019||2018|
|Electricity generation (Gigawatt hours)||6,808||5,213||18,090||14,823|
|Generation facility availability||96%||98%||95%||96%|
|Revenues and other income 3||$517||$395||$1,280||$1,077|
|Adjusted EBITDA 2, 3||$284||$179||$677||$565|
|Net (loss) income 3, 4, 5||$(228)||$17||$(62)||$122|
|Net (loss) income attributable to shareholders of the Company 3||$(226)||$18||$(57)||$127|
|Basic (loss) earnings per share 3||$(2.25)||$0.08||$(0.90)||$0.93|
|Diluted (loss) earnings per share 3||$(2.25)||$0.08||$(0.90)||$0.93|
|Normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders 2,3||$64||$34||$109||$84|
|Normalized earnings per share 2, 3||$0.60||$0.33||$1.05||$0.81|
|Net cash flows from operating activities||$209||$65||$519||$317|
|Adjusted funds from operations 2||$225||$156||$427||$317|
|Adjusted funds from operations per share 2||$2.11||$1.52||$4.11||$3.07|
|Purchase of property, plant and equipment and other assets||$193||$135||$523||$241|
|Dividends per common share, declared||$0.4800||$0.4475||$1.3750||$1.2825|
- The operational and financial highlights in this press release should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis and the unaudited condensed interim consolidated financial statements for the nine months ended September 30, 2019.
- Earnings before net finance expense, income tax expense, depreciation and amortization, impairments, foreign exchange gains or losses, finance expense and depreciation expense from its joint venture interests, gains or losses on disposals and unrealized changes in fair value of commodity derivatives and emissions credits (adjusted EBITDA), normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders, normalized earnings per share, adjusted funds from operations and adjusted funds from operations per share are non-GAAP financial measures and do not have standardized meanings under GAAP and are, therefore, unlikely to be comparable to similar measures used by other enterprises. See Non-GAAP Financial Measures.
- Prior quarter amounts have been restated to reflect the IAS 8 accounting policy changes resulting from the transition to IFRS 16 – Leases.
- Includes depreciation and amortization for the three months ended September 30, 2019 and 2018 of $135 million and $83 million respectively, and for the nine months ended September 30, 2019 and 2018 of $355 million and $250 million respectively. Forecasted depreciation and amortization for the three months ended December 31, 2019 is $117 million.
- On June 28, 2019, as a result of the Alberta Government’s Bill 3 – Job Creation Tax Cut Act, the Alberta corporate income tax rate was reduced from 12% to 8% over 4 years. Accordingly, the 2019 statutory tax rate is 26.5% and will decrease further to 25% for the 2020 year, to 24% for the 2021 year, and to 23% for the 2022 year. Due to this tax rate decrease, the Canadian deferred tax assets and liabilities were re-measured, resulting in the recognition of a deferred income tax recovery of $51 million within net income.
Genesee 3 and Keephills 3 swap transaction
On August 2, 2019, the Company announced it had entered into an agreement to divest its 50% share of Keephills 3 to TransAlta Corporation (TransAlta), and to acquire TransAlta’s 50% share of Genesee 3. The transaction closed on October 1, 2019, with a net cost to Capital Power of $10 million, subject to working capital and other closing adjustments. Previously both facilities had been owned and operated under 50/50 Joint Venture Agreements between Capital Power and TransAlta. Following the close of the transaction, Genesee 3 is fully owned and operated by Capital Power and Keephills 3 is fully owned and operated by TransAlta.
Keephills 3 and Genesee 3 are the only supercritical coal facilities in Alberta, with a net capacity of 463 MW and 466 MW, respectively. The swap of interests in the facilities is aligned with Capital Power’s strategic plan to deliver responsible energy for tomorrow. As a result of the transaction, the Company gained full control of the Genesee site, providing strategic freedom and latitude to make decisions that further optimize value for the Genesee units. The transaction is expected to streamline costs and commercial processes and reduce regulatory compliance risk.
The transaction results in an expected pre-tax net loss of approximately $227 million. In the third quarter of 2019, the Company recorded a pre-tax impairment of $401 million on Keephills 3 upon classification as assets held for sale. In the fourth quarter of 2019, the acquisition of the additional 50% of Genesee 3 will be accounted for as a business combination. A gain of approximately $60 million is expected to be recognized on the Company’s existing share of Genesee 3 as a result of the remeasurement of the carrying amount of the Company’s previously owned portion of Genesee 3. In addition, the net reduction to the carrying amounts of the Company’s coal-fired generation assets will result in a one-time adjustment of approximately $114 million to accelerate the recognition of deferred government grant revenue that aligns with the reduction in the new lower carrying amount of coal-fired assets. This relates to the government grant revenue that the Company is receiving over time from the province of Alberta for the 2029 phase-out of coal-fired generation. The Off-coal Agreement is not impacted by the transaction and as a result, compensation will continue to be collected over time and the Company’s ongoing obligations pertaining to the Off-coal Agreement are unchanged. The transaction is expected to be neutral to AFFO over the medium term.
Retirement plans announced for Brian Vaasjo, President and CEO
On July 29, 2019, the Company announced that Brian Vaasjo, President and Chief Executive Officer, has advised the Board of Directors of his intention to retire in 2020.
The announcement activated an established CEO succession plan developed by Capital Power’s Board of Directors. The Board’s search for a new President and Chief Executive Officer is well under way and the Board will announce a successor in due course. Mr. Vaasjo will continue in his current role, leading the Company and serving on the Board of Directors, until his successor assumes the role. For a period thereafter, Mr. Vaasjo will remain with the Company in an advisory role to support the Board, his successor, and the business and ensure a smooth leadership transition.
On July 26, 2019, the Company’s Board of Directors approved an increase of 7.3% in the annual dividend for holders of its common shares, from $1.79 per common share to $1.92 per common share. This increased common share dividend will commence with the third quarter 2019 quarterly dividend payment on October 31, 2019 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 30, 2019.
Accelerated plan for Genesee natural gas capability
On June 18, 2019, the Company announced that it is proceeding with a project that will maximize the flexibility to utilize natural gas as fuel at Genesee, which previously burned primarily coal. The financial impact of this transformation is highly dependant on carbon cost and natural gas price assumptions and is estimated to increase adjusted funds from operations by approximately $10 million in 2020 and $20 million in 2021.
The total cost of the project to completely transform Genesee 1 and 2 to dual-fuel capability and up to 40% gas capability for Genesee 3 is estimated at $50 million with expenditures of $18 million, $19 million, and $13 million in 2019 to 2021, respectively. The project involves adding new gas pipeline infrastructure within the Genesee site and modifications to the Genesee 1 and 2 boilers. The rated capacity of the units will remain the same.
After the units have been transformed to 100% dual-fuel capability, the units can utilize up to 100% natural gas or coal, or a mix of the two. The amount of coal used at any given time, versus natural gas, will be driven by several factors including natural gas and coal prices and carbon costs.
Based on Genesee 1 and 2 at 100% dual-fuel capability and Genesee 3 at 40% natural gas capability, annual greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs) are expected to be reduced by approximately 20% to 33%, assuming operation of the units is between 50% to 100% of hours on natural gas.
The coal operations at the Genesee facility are currently planned to continue up to December 2029, at which time regulatory requirements will require the Company to discontinue the use of coal. The Genesee facility will continue as a 100% natural gas-fired facility after that time. The Genesee units are already the most efficient coal generating units in Alberta and best performing from an emissions intensity perspective. Under the Genesee Performance Standard program, which commenced in 2016, a 10% improvement in efficiency and performance of the units is targeted by 2021, which improvements will benefit both natural gas and coal operations.
$325 million private placement debt financing
On June 12, 2019, the Company issued $325 million of private placement senior notes which consist of three tranches with 10, 12 and 15-year terms. The 10-year tranche has a principal amount of $210 million that matures in June 2029 with a coupon rate of 4.56%. The 12-year tranche has a $65 million principal amount and matures in June 2031 with a coupon rate of 4.72%. The 15-year tranche has a $50 million principal amount and matures in June 2034 with a coupon rate of 4.96%. The net proceeds from the transaction will primarily be used for refinancing of existing bank indebtedness and for other general corporate purposes.
Acquisition of the Goreway Power Station
On June 4, 2019, the Company completed the acquisition of 100% of the ownership interests in Goreway Power Station Holdings Inc., which owns the Goreway Power Station (Goreway). Goreway is an 875 MW natural gas combined cycle generation facility located in Brampton, Ontario. The purchase price consisted of (i) $410 million of total cash consideration, including working capital and other closing adjustments of $23 million, and (ii) the assumption of $590 million of project level debt.
Financing of the Goreway acquisition consisted of a combination of debt from the Company’s existing credit facilities and equity offerings as described below.
Goreway has a 20-year Accelerated Clean Energy Supply Contract expiring in June 2029 with the Ontario Independent Electricity System Operator (credit ratings of A (high)/Aa3 from DBRS and Moody’s, respectively). Goreway is strategically located in the Greater Toronto Area load centre making it an important asset in Ontario’s electric system and, in combination with the Company’s other Ontario natural gas assets, will provide operating and market synergies over time. The acquisition of Goreway supports the Company’s growth strategy and fully meets the Company’s investment criteria. In addition, the investment contributes to the Company’s dividend growth strategy through immediate AFFO accretion supported by contracted cash flows through mid-2029.
Goreway is expected to generate approximately $124 million of adjusted EBITDA and $50 million of AFFO in 2020. For the 2020-2023 period, average annual adjusted EBITDA and AFFO are estimated to be $127 million and $56 million, respectively. The acquisition of Goreway is forecasted to be $0.27 accretive to AFFO per share in 2020 representing growth of approximately 6%.
Preferred share offering
On May 16, 2019, the Company issued 6 million Cumulative Minimum Rate Reset Preference Shares, Series 11 (Series 11 Shares) at a price of $25.00 per share for gross proceeds of $150 million less issue costs of $4 million. The preferred shares will pay fixed cumulative dividends of $1.4375 per share per annum, yielding 5.75% per annum, payable on the last business day of March, June, September and December of each year, as and when declared by the Board of Directors of Capital Power, for the initial period ending June 30, 2024. The dividend rate will be reset on June 30, 2024 and every five years thereafter at a rate equal to the sum of the then five-year Government of Canada bond yield and 4.15%, provided that, in any event, such rate shall not be less than 5.75%. The Series 11 Shares are redeemable by Capital Power, at its option on June 30, 2024 and every five years thereafter at a value of $25.00 per share.
Holders of the Series 11 Shares will have the right to convert all or any part of their shares into Cumulative Floating Rate Preference Shares, Series 12 (Series 12 Shares), subject to certain conditions, on June 30, 2024 and every five years thereafter. Holders of the Series 12 Shares will be entitled to receive a cumulative quarterly floating dividend at a rate equal to the sum of the then 90-day Government of Canada Treasury Bill yield plus 4.15%, as and when declared by the Board of Directors of Capital Power. The Series 12 Shares would be redeemable by Capital Power, at its option, on June 30, 2029 and June 30 of every fifth year thereafter at a value of $25.00 per share. The Series 12 Shares would also be redeemable by Capital Power, at its option, on any date after June 30, 2024 excluding June 30 of every fifth year, at a value of $25.50 per share.
Common share offering
In May of 2019, the Company completed a public offering of 4,945,000 subscription receipts (Subscription Receipts), on a bought deal basis, at an issue price of $30.30 per Subscription Receipt (the Offering Price), for total gross proceeds of $150 million less issue costs of $6 million (inclusive of the full exercise of a 645,000 over-allotment option). On June 4, 2019, upon closing of the Goreway acquisition, each Subscription Receipt was converted for one common share of the Company.
Capital Power increases its equity interest in C2CNT; testing of carbon nanotubes in concrete proceeding
In May 2019, Capital Power committed to increase its equity interest in C2CNT from 5% to 9% by March of 2020. C2CNT has developed an innovative technology that captures and transforms carbon dioxide into a useful and high-value product called carbon nanotubes (CNTs) which can be used as an additive to substantially increase the strength of materials such as concrete, steel and aluminum. Carbon dioxide emissions are avoided by reducing the amount of material required in addition to the carbon dioxide utilized in the production of CNTs.
Capital Power also has the right to provide notice to exercise two tranches of options in 2020 for an additional 31% equity interest in C2CNT. If exercised, Capital Power’s equity ownership of C2CNT would increase to a total of 40%.
The investment supports Capital Power’s pursuit of innovative and leading-edge technology to reduce greenhouse gases. The carbon conversion technology, led by Dr. Stuart Licht, head of the C2CNT team and professor of chemistry at George Washington University, is currently being tested at demonstration scale at the Alberta Carbon Conversion Technology Centre located at the Shepard Energy Centre in Calgary that Capital Power co-owns with ENMAX.
Lehigh Hanson (Lehigh), a subsidiary of HeidelbergCement A.G., a worldwide construction materials company, has agreed to conduct testing for the utilization of CNTs in concrete at their cost. The testing is expected in the fall of 2019 followed by limited marketing of the CNTs in concrete product in the first half of 2020. Lehigh has also made a modest financial contribution to C2CNT development.
Additional information on C2CNT is available on Capital Power’s website at: https://www.capitalpower.com/sustainability/innovation.
Appointments to the Board of Directors
Effective April 26, 2019, Robert Phillips was appointed to the Capital Power Board of Directors.
Effective March 1, 2019, Jane Peverett was appointed to the Capital Power Board of Directors.
Heat rate call option at Arlington Valley
During the first quarter of 2019, the Company entered into a heat rate call option agreement (HRCO) with an investment grade counterparty covering the periods outside of Arlington Valley’s existing summer tolling agreements. The HRCO commenced on April 1, 2019 and terminates December 31, 2025, covering (i) April and November-December 2019 and (ii) January-May and October-December 2020-2025. Pursuant to the HRCO the counterparty has the right to call the plant in exchange for fixed monthly premiums plus reimbursements for fuel at an indexed price, variable operating and maintenance expense and start charges. Adjusted EBITDA and AFFO from the Arlington Valley facility during the period covered by the HRCO is expected to be consistent with the guidance provided at the time the acquisition was announced.
Analyst conference call and webcast
Capital Power will be hosting a conference call and live webcast with analysts on October 28, 2019 at 9:00 am (MDT) to discuss the third quarter operating and financial results. The conference call dial-in numbers are:
(604) 638-5340 (Vancouver)
(403) 351-0324 (Calgary)
(416) 915-3239 (Toronto)
(514) 375-0364 (Montreal)
(800) 319-4610 (toll-free from Canada and USA)
Interested parties may also access the live webcast on the Company’s website at www.capitalpower.com with an archive of the webcast available following the conclusion of the analyst conference call.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
The Company uses (i) earnings before net finance expense, income tax expense, depreciation and amortization, impairments, foreign exchange gains or losses, finance expense and depreciation expense from its joint venture interests, gains or losses on disposals and unrealized changes in fair value of commodity derivatives and emission credits (adjusted EBITDA), (ii) adjusted funds from operations, (iii) adjusted funds from operations per share (iv) normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders, and (v) normalized earnings per share as financial performance measures.
These terms are not defined financial measures according to GAAP and do not have standardized meanings prescribed by GAAP and, therefore, are unlikely to be comparable to similar measures used by other enterprises. These measures should not be considered alternatives to net income, net income attributable to shareholders of the Company, net cash flows from operating activities or other measures of financial performance calculated in accordance with GAAP. Rather, these measures are provided to complement GAAP measures in the analysis of the Company’s results of operations from management’s perspective.
Forward-looking information or statements included in this press release are provided to inform the Company’s shareholders and potential investors about management’s assessment of Capital Power’s future plans and operations. This information may not be appropriate for other purposes. The forward-looking information in this press release is generally identified by words such as will, anticipate, believe, plan, intend, target, and expect or similar words that suggest future outcomes.
Material forward-looking information in this press release includes disclosures regarding: (i) expected expenditures and impacts related to the Genesee dual-fuel project including expected AFFO increases, (ii) expected benefits, including AFFO impacts, related to the swap of interests in the Genesee 3 and Keephills 3 facilities, (iii) expected benefits, including AFFO and AFFO per share increases, related to the acquisition of Goreway, (iv) expected impacts on adjusted EBITDA and AFFO from Arlington Valley driven by the HRCO signed in the year, (v) expected AFFO performance compared to guidance for 2019 and (vi) forecasted depreciation and amortization for the remainder of 2019.
These statements are based on certain assumptions and analyses made by the Company in light of its experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, expected future developments and other factors it believes are appropriate. The material factors and assumptions used to develop these forward-looking statements relate to: (i) electricity, other energy and carbon prices, (ii) performance, (iii) status of and impact of policy, legislation and regulations, and (iv) effective tax rates.
Whether actual results, performance or achievements will conform to the Company’s expectations and predictions is subject to a number of known and unknown risks and uncertainties which could cause actual results and experience to differ materially from the Company’s expectations. Such material risks and uncertainties are: (i) changes in electricity prices in markets in which the Company operates, (ii) changes in energy commodity market prices and use of derivatives, (iii) regulatory and political environments including changes to environmental, financial reporting, market structure and tax legislation, (iv) generation facility availability and performance including maintenance of equipment, (v) ability to fund current and future capital and working capital needs, (vi) changes in market prices and availability of fuel, and (vii) ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the Goreway acquisition, (viii) limitations inherent in the Company’s review of acquired assets, (ix) ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the swap of interests in the Genesee 3 and Keephills 3 facilities, and (x) changes in general economic and competitive conditions. See Risks and Risk Management in the Company’s Management’s Discussion and Analysis for the year ended December 31, 2018, prepared as of February 15, 2019, for further discussion of these and other risks.
Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on any such forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the specified approval date. The Company does not undertake or accept any obligation or undertaking to release publicly any updates or revisions to any forward-looking statements to reflect any change in the Company’s expectations or any change in events, conditions or circumstances on which any such statement is based, except as required by law.
View our management’s discussion and analysis and consolidated financial statements (PDF).