EDMONTON, Alberta – Capital Power Corporation (TSX: CPX) today released financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2019.
Fourth Quarter and Annual Highlights
- Completed the 202-megawatt Whitla Wind 1 project on-schedule
- Completed the swap of interests in Genesee 3 and Keephills 3
- Acquired 875-megawatt Goreway Power Station in Ontario that provides contracted cash flows to 2029
- Generated net cash flows from operating activities of $720 million and adjusted funds from operations of $555 million in 2019
- Successfully raised $1.2 billion in capital through debt, preferred share and common share offerings
- Purchased and cancelled 2.5 million common shares in 2019 under the Normal Course Issuer Bid
Net cash flows from operating activities were $201 million in the fourth quarter of 2019 compared with $133 million in the fourth quarter of 2018. Adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) were $128 million in the fourth quarter of 2019, compared to $80 million in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Net income attributable to shareholders in the fourth quarter of 2019 was $182 million and basic earnings per share was $1.61 per share, compared with net income attributable to shareholders of $138 million and basic earnings per share of $1.24 in the comparable period of 2018. Normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders in the fourth quarter of 2019, after adjusting for non-recurring items and fair value adjustments, were $31 million or $0.29 per share, compared with $31 million or $0.30 per share in the fourth quarter of 2018.
Net cash flows from operating activities were $720 million for the year ended December 31, 2019 compared with $450 million in 2018. Adjusted funds from operations were $555 million in 2019, compared with $397 million in 2018.
For the year ended December 31, 2019, net income attributable to shareholders was $125 million and basic earnings per share was $0.73 per share compared with $265 million and $2.17 per share in 2018. For the year ended December 31, 2019, normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders were $140 million, or $1.34 per share, compared with $115 million, or $1.12 per share, in 2018.
“In 2019, Capital Power exceeded its annual AFFO target while adding nearly 1,100 megawatts of contracted generation through the acquisition of the Goreway Power Station and completion of the Whitla Wind 1 project,” said Brian Vaasjo, President and CEO of Capital Power. “The Company generated a record $555 million of AFFO in 2019 that exceeded our revised target range of $485 million to $535 million, which represented a 38% increase in AFFO per share from 2018. After removing the one-time impacts related to the Genesee 3 and Keephills 3 swap transaction recorded in the fourth quarter, adjusted EBITDA of $907 million was in line with our revised target range of $870 million to $920 million.”
“For 2020, we are targeting a moderate increase in AFFO based on the midpoint of our $500 million to $550 million target range for 2020, compared to $515 million of AFFO in 2019 after removing $40 million in additional AFFO from the final year of Arlington Valley’s previous tolling agreement in 2019. This is primarily due to a full year of contributions from assets added in 2019 and completion of our Cardinal Point Wind project in the first quarter of 2020,” stated Mr. Vaasjo.
“Our growth strategy continues to be focused on growing contracted cash flows and we have committed $500 million of capital for contracted growth to support a sustainable and growing dividend to our shareholders. Our dividend growth guidance includes 7% annual dividend growth to 2021 and 5% for 2022,” added Mr. Vaasjo.
“With our continued commitment to sustainability, we have released today an online version of our inaugural 2019 Integrated Annual Report, Powered for Tomorrow,” said Mr. Vaasjo. “The integrated annual report provides environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance information including our sustainability targets and financial results. We have also released our Climate Change Disclosure Report that aligns to the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations and discloses the Company’s climate-related risks and opportunities.”
The Company continued to be active with its Normal Course Issuer Bid (NCIB) by purchasing and cancelling 0.5 million common shares at an average exercise price of $30.71 per share for a total cost of $14 million in the fourth quarter. In 2019, the Company purchased and cancelled 2.5 million common shares at an average exercise price of $29.85 per share for a total cost of $74 million. In 2018, the Company purchased and cancelled 3.0 million common shares at an average exercise price of $25.28 per share for a total cost of $76 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 December 31||Year ended
|(millions of dollars except per share and operational amounts)||2019||2018||2019||2018|
|Electricity generation (Gigawatt hours)||6,437||5,406||24,527||20,229|
|Generation facility availability||94%||94%||94%||95%|
|Revenues and other income 3||$683||$340||$1,963||$1,417|
|Adjusted EBITDA 2,3,4||$352||$171||$1,029||$736|
|Net income 3,5,6||$181||$136||$119||$258|
|Net income attributable to shareholders of the Company 3||$182||$138||$125||$265|
|Basic earnings per share 3||$1.16||$1.24||$0.73||$2.17|
|Diluted earnings per share 3||$1.60||$1.24||$0.72||$2.16|
|Normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders 2,3||$31||$31||$140||$115|
|Normalized earnings per share 2, 3||$0.29||$0.30||$1.34||$1.12|
|Net cash flows from operating activities||$201||$133||$720||$450|
|Adjusted funds from operations 2||$128||$80||$555||$397|
|Adjusted funds from operations per share 2||$1.22||$0.78||$5.32||$3.85|
|Purchase of property, plant and equipment and other assets||$112||$114||$635||$355|
|Dividends per common share, declared||$0.4800||$0.4475||$1.8550||$1.7300|
- The operational and financial highlights in this press release should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis and audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 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.
- For the three months and year ended December 31, 2019, adjusted EBITDA includes accelerated recognition of coal compensation of $128 million pertaining to the swap of interests in the Genesee 3 and Keephills 3 facilities (see Significant Events) and includes a $6 million increase to the Line Loss Rule Proceeding provision to reflect the additional 50% interest in Genesee 3 and the divestiture of the Company’s interest in Keephills 3.
- Includes depreciation and amortization for the three months ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 of $118 million and $85 million respectively, and for the year ended December 31, 2019 and 2018 of $473 million and $335 million respectively. Budgeted depreciation and amortization for 2020 is $112 million, $115 million, $115 million and $116 million for the first through fourth quarters, respectively.
- 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.
Capital Power increases its equity interest in C2CNT; testing of carbon nanotubes in concrete proceeding
On December 5, 2019, Capital Power announced plans to build the Genesee Carbon Conversion Centre (GC3), the first ever commercial scale production facility of carbon nanotubes (CNTs) at its Genesee facility and plans to exercise its options to increase its equity interest in C2CNT to 40% by the end of 2020.
C2CNT has developed an innovative technology that captures and transforms carbon dioxide into a useful and high-value product called carbon nanotubes which can be used as an additive to help reduce weight and increase the strength in an array of applications including batteries, electronics, sensors, polymer composites and structural 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.
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, Inc. (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 currently underway and is expected to be 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.
Whitla Wind 1 commences commercial operations; Whitla Wind 2 project proceeding
On December 1, 2019, Whitla Wind 1, located in southeast Alberta, began commercial operations. The construction of the 202 MW project was completed on schedule and on budget within its $315 million to $325 million target, except for foreign exchange impacts. Whitla Wind 1 is expected to provide adjusted EBITDA of $27 million and AFFO of $17 million in its first full year of operation.
The Company also announced that it is moving forward with the second phase of the Whitla Wind facility (Whitla Wind 2) that will add 97 MW in 2021. Capital Power will leverage its construction experience from Whitla Wind 1 to deliver Whitla Wind 2 with an expected capital cost of $165 million.
Whitla Wind 2 will generate carbon credits that can be used to hedge against Capital Power’s carbon compliance costs from its Alberta thermal generation facilities. Capital Power is in active discussions with commercial and industrial customers for renewable offtake contracts from Whitla Wind 2.
Accelerated plan for Genesee natural gas capability
During 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 total cost of the project to completely transform the Genesee units to dual-fuel capability is estimated at $70 million with expenditures of $10 million incurred in 2019 and expected costs of $43 million, and $17 million in 2020 and 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 100% dual-fuel capability, annual greenhouse gas emissions would be reduced by approximately 25% to 45%, if operation of the units is between 50% to 100% of hours on natural gas.
The Genesee facility will have dual-fuel capability up to December 2029 and 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 12% improvement in efficiency and performance of the units is targeted by 2021, which improvements will benefit both natural gas and coal operations.
$275 million medium-term note issuance
On November 8, 2019, the Company issued $275 million of unsecured medium-term notes due in 2030 with interest payable semi-annually at 4.424% commencing on August 8, 2020. The net proceeds of the offering were used to repay indebtedness under the Company’s credit facilities and for general corporate purposes.
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, net of nominal 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 resulted in a pre-tax net loss of $249 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 was accounted for as a business combination. A gain of $24 million was recognized upon close of the transaction driven by the remeasurement of the Company’s existing share of Genesee 3. In addition, the net reduction to the carrying amounts of the Company’s coal-fired generation assets resulted in a one-time adjustment of $128 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 is related 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 was 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.
Capital Power updates plans for President and Chief Executive Officer role
On July 29, 2019, the Company announced that Brian Vaasjo, President and Chief Executive Officer, had advised the Board of Directors of his intention to retire in 2020.
The announcement activated an established Chief Executive Officer succession plan developed by Capital Power’s Board of Directors. The Board’s search for a new President and Chief Executive Officer was conducted through the remainder of 2019 and into early 2020, with the intention that the Board would announce a successor in due course. On February 24, 2020, the Company announced that Brian Vaasjo will remain as President and Chief Executive Officer of the Company for an additional three years.
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 commenced 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.
$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) $405 million of total cash consideration, including working capital and other closing adjustments of $18 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 $5 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 $7 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.
Appointments to the 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 are expected to be consistent with the guidance provided at the time the acquisition was announced.
Approval of normal course issuer bid
Subsequent to the end of 2019, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved Capital Power’s normal course issuer bid to purchase and cancel up to 10.5 million of its outstanding common shares during the one-year period from February 26, 2020 to February 25, 2021.
Analyst conference call and webcast
Capital Power will be hosting a conference call and live webcast with analysts on February 24, 2020 at 9:00 am (MT) to discuss the fourth quarter financial results. The conference call dial-in numbers are:
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) 2020 targets, including the AFFO guidance range and targeted capital commitments, (ii) budgeted 2020 depreciation and amortization, (iii) expected expenditures and impacts related to the Genesee dual-fuel project, (iv) expected benefits, including AFFO impacts, related to the swap of interests in the Genesee 3 and Keephills 3 facilities, (v) expected benefits, including adjusted EBITDA, AFFO and AFFO per share increases, related to the acquisition of Goreway, (vi) expected impacts on adjusted EBITDA and AFFO from Arlington Valley driven by the HRCO signed in the year, (vii) timing of commencing commercial production of carbon nanotubes and expected capital costs of the production facility, (viii) expectations pertaining to the financial impacts of Whitla Wind 1 in its first year of operations, including the impacts to AFFO and adjusted EBITDA, and (ix) expectations pertaining to the construction cost and commercial operations date for Whitla Wind 2.
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 including its review of purchased businesses and assets. The material factors and assumptions used to develop these forward-looking statements relate to: (i) electricity, other energy and carbon prices, (ii) performance, (iii) business prospects (including potential re-contracting opportunities) and opportunities including expected growth and capital projects, (iv) status of and impact of policy, legislation and regulations, (v) effective tax rates, (vi) results of carbon nanotube concrete testing and preliminary marketing, and (vii) anticipated performance of Genesee 3, Goreway and Whitla Wind 1.
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) acquisitions and developments including timing and costs of regulatory approvals and construction, (vii) changes in market prices and availability of fuel, (viii) ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the Goreway acquisition, (ix) limitations inherent in the Company’s review of acquired assets, (x) ability to realize the anticipated benefits of the swap of interests in the Genesee 3 and Keephills 3 facilities, and (xi) 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, 2019, prepared as of February 21, 2020, 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.
About Capital Power
Capital Power (TSX: CPX) is a growth-oriented North American power producer headquartered in Edmonton, Alberta. The company develops, acquires, owns, and operates power generation facilities using a variety of energy sources. Capital Power owns approximately 6,200 megawatts (MW) of power generation capacity at 26 facilities across North America. Approximately 800 MW of owned generation capacity is in advanced development in Alberta and Illinois.
- Full 2019 Q4 Report
- Capital Power 2019 Integrated Annual Report
- Management’s Discussion and Analysis and Consolidated Financial Statements