Company has excellent year highlighted by strong cash flow generation
EDMONTON, Alberta – Capital Power Corporation (TSX: CPX) today released financial results for the quarter ended December 31, 2018
Fourth Quarter Highlights
- Completed 99 megawatt New Frontier Wind project on-schedule and below budget
- Completed the sale of its minority owned interest in K2 Wind for a pre-tax gain of $159 million
- Generated net cash flows from operating activities of $133 million and adjusted funds from operations of $80 million
- Purchased and cancelled 0.8 million common shares under the Normal Course Issuer Bid
Net cash flows from operating activities were $133 million in the fourth quarter of 2018 compared with $75 million in the fourth quarter of 2017. Adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) were $80 million in the fourth quarter of 2018, compared to $94 million in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Net income attributable to shareholders in the fourth quarter of 2018 was $141 million and basic earnings per share was $1.27 per share, compared with net loss attributable to shareholders of $10 million, and basic loss per share of $0.20, in the comparable period of 2017. Normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders in the fourth quarter of 2018, after adjusting for non-recurring items and fair value adjustments, were $34 million or $0.33 per share compared with $25 million or $0.24 per share in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Net cash flows from operating activities were $450 million for the year ended December 31, 2018 compared with $372 million in 2017. Adjusted funds from operations were $397 million in 2018, compared with $361 million in 2017.
For the year ended December 31, 2018, net income attributable to shareholders was $274 million and basic earnings per share was $2.25 per share compared with $144 million and $1.07 per share in 2017. For the year ended December 31, 2018, normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders were $124 million, or $1.20 per share, compared with $113 million, or $1.12 per share in 2017.
“In 2018, Capital Power met or exceeded its annual operating and financial targets while adding 679 megawatts of contracted generation through the acquisition of Arlington Valley and completion of the New Frontier Wind project,” said Brian Vaasjo, President and CEO of Capital Power. “We have seen a recovery in Alberta power prices that averaged $50 per megawatt hour in 2018 and contributed to the strong financial results. The company generated AFFO of $397 million that was at the high end of the target range of $360 million to $400 million and represented an increase of 10% from 2017.”
“For 2019, we are targeting a 22% increase in AFFO based on the midpoint of our $460 million to $510 million target range, primarily due to a full year of contributions from assets added in late 2018 and higher Alberta power prices, and remain on track to meet our target. We continue to be focused on growing contracted cash flows and have committed $500 million of capital for contracted growth to support a sustainable and growing dividend to our shareholders including a recent extension to 2021 for our 7% annual dividend growth guidance,” added Mr. Vaasjo.
The Company continued to be active with its Normal Course Issuer Bid (NCIB) by purchasing and cancelling 0.8 million common shares at an average exercise price of $26.79 per share for a total cost of $21 million in the fourth quarter. 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 9.3 million common shares during the one-year period ending February 20, 2019.
|Operational and Financial Highlights 1
|Three months ended
|(millions of dollars except per share and operational amounts)||2018||2017||2018||2017|
|Electricity generation (Gigawatt hours)||5,406||4,839||20,229||17,194|
|Generation facility availability||94%||95%||95%||96%|
|Revenues and other income||$335||$261||$1,394||$1,146|
|Adjusted EBITDA 2||$113||$154||$646||$551|
|Net income (loss)||$139||$(13)||$267||$134|
|Net income (loss) attributable to shareholders of the Company||$141||$(10)||$274||$144|
|Basic and diluted earnings (loss) per share||$1.27||$(0.20)||$2.25||$1.07|
|Normalized earnings attributable to common shareholders 2||$34||$25||$124||$113|
|Normalized earnings per share 2||$0.33||$0.24||$1.20||$1.12|
|Net cash flows from operating activities||$133||$75||$450||372|
|Adjusted funds from operations 2, 3||$80||$94||$397||$361|
|Adjusted funds from operations per share 2||$0.78||$0.90||$3.85||$3.58|
|Purchase of property, plant and equipment and other assets||$114||$42||$355||$218|
|Dividends per common share, declared||$0.4475||$0.4175||$1.730||$1.615|
- The operational and financial highlights in this press release should be read in conjunction with Management’s Discussion and Analysis and the audited consolidated financial statements for the year ended December 31, 2018.
- 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, and gains or losses on disposals (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.
- Commencing with the Company’s March 31, 2018 quarter-end, the reported adjusted funds from operations measure was refined to better reflect the purpose of the measure (see Non-GAAP Financial Measures). The applicable comparable periods have been adjusted to conform to the current period’s presentation.
Disposal of interest in K2 Wind joint venture
On December 31, 2018, Capital Power completed the sale of its minority owned interest in K2 Wind to a consortium of investors led by Axium Infrastructure (Axium Consortium) for proceeds of $216 million. The Company received cash proceeds of $126 million on December 31, 2018 and $90 million in January 2019, which was recorded as trade and other receivables as at December 31, 2018. The Company recorded a pre-tax gain on disposal of joint venture of $159 million. The Company’s equity investment in K2 Wind immediately prior to disposal was $41 million and there was an accumulated loss of $16 million related to cash flow hedges of the K2 Wind equity investment, which was recorded within accumulated other comprehensive income. This loss was reclassified to net income upon close of the transaction and is reflected as a reduction within the gain on disposal disclosed above.
New Frontier Wind begins commercial operation
On December 21, 2018, New Frontier Wind, a 99 MW facility in McHenry County, North Dakota, began commercial operations. The construction of the facility was completed on-schedule and below its original project cost estimate of approximately $182 million (US$145 million). On December 31, 2018, Capital Power received approximately $125 million (US$92 million) in net tax equity financing from J.P. Morgan in exchange for Class A interests in a subsidiary of the Company.
Capital Power will operate New Frontier Wind under a 12-year fixed price contract with an investment grade U.S. financial institution covering 87% of the facility’s output. Under the contract, Capital Power will swap the market revenue from a fixed volume of New Frontier Wind’s generation for a fixed price payment over a 12-year term.
Acquisition of Arlington Valley
On September 6, 2018, the Company announced it entered into an agreement to acquire 100% of the ownership interests in Arlington Valley, LLC, which owns the Arlington Valley facility (Arlington facility), a 580 megawatt (MW) combined cycle natural gas generation facility, from funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and its co-investors. On November 30, 2018, the Company completed the acquisition of Arlington Valley for a total of $399 million (US$303 million), including preliminary working capital and other closing adjustments of $3 million (US$3 million). Capital Power financed the transaction using its credit facilities followed by permanent debt financing (see Subsequent Events).
The Arlington facility sells capacity and electricity to an investment grade load serving utility (credit ratings of A2/A- from Moody’s and S&P, respectively) under tolling agreements through 2025. The Arlington facility is adjacent to the Palo Verde hub allowing for additional capacity and energy to be sold into the Desert Southwest (DSW) or the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) wholesale markets during the months outside the summer tolling months.
The acquisition of the Arlington facility supports the Company’s U.S. growth strategy and fully meets the Company’s investment criteria. The Arlington facility is a well-positioned asset in the attractive DSW power market with growing demand and a low investment risk environment. In addition to meeting the Company’s expected return criteria, the investment contributes to the Company’s dividend growth strategy through immediate AFFO accretion supported by contracted cash flows to the end of 2025 with a high probability of re-contracting as confirmed through third-party market assessments.
The Arlington facility is expected to generate approximately US$62 million of adjusted EBITDA and US$44 million of AFFO in 2019 during the last year of its current toll. Subsequently, adjusted EBITDA averages US$35 million per year (ranging from US$32 million to US$38 million) and US$16 million of AFFO during the 6-year period from 2020 to 2025. Based on the expected financing, the 5-year average accretion for AFFO is expected to be $0.22 per share reflecting a 6% increase. The average accretion to earnings is expected to be $0.03 per share in the first 5 years, representing a 2% increase.
On July 27, 2018, the Company’s Board of Directors approved an increase of 7% in the annual dividend for holders of its common shares, from $1.67 per common share to $1.79 per common share. This increased common dividend commenced with the third quarter 2018 quarterly dividend payment on October 31, 2018 to shareholders of record at the close of business on September 28, 2018.
Genesee contracted physical natural gas capacity
During the second quarter of 2018, Capital Power secured additional physical natural gas delivery capacity for the Genesee site. This capacity is expected to enable increased natural gas co-firing as early as 2020 and allows for full conversion to natural gas as early as 2020.
Genesee royalty rate agreement
During the second quarter, Capital Power entered into an agreement with Genesee Royalty Limited Partnership establishing a fixed royalty rate structure in place of the previous structure which was based on coal regulations from the 1980’s. The new structure provides improved royalty cost certainty in the future.
Investment in C2CNT
In May 2018, Capital Power acquired a 5% equity interest in C2CNT, a company that developed and is now testing at scale an innovative technology that captures and transforms carbon dioxide (CO2) into a useful and high-value product called carbon nanotubes, for total consideration of $3.2 million (US$2.5 million). This technology will take CO2 from many sources including emissions from thermal power generation and other industrial processes and convert it into a carbon-based product that can be used in various industries. This investment in C2CNT supports Capital Power’s pursuit of innovative and leading-edge technology and approaches that have the potential to reduce greenhouse gases. Included with the acquisition is an option that may be elected prior to March 1, 2020 to increase the Company’s equity interest in C2CNT by an additional 20%.
Bloom Wind tax equity agreement amendment
As part of the enactment of the U.S. Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 in the fourth quarter of 2017, and the resulting reduction in the U.S. Federal corporate tax rate (effective January 1, 2018), a change in tax law provision was triggered in the tax equity agreement for Bloom Wind. As a result, in May of 2018, the Company re-negotiated certain commercial terms within the tax equity agreement for Bloom Wind. The re-negotiated terms of the Bloom Wind tax equity agreement resulted in an interest rate increase on the tax equity financing balance. As well, a one-time reduction to the tax equity financing balance by $44 million (US$33 million) was recorded relating to additional tax benefits used by the tax equity partner. The overall impact of the re-negotiated terms of the tax-equity agreement resulted in a one-time, non-cash increase in net income after tax of $15 million (US$11 million). Under the re-negotiated tax equity agreement and considering the reduction in the U.S. Federal corporate tax rate, the Company has maintained its original expected returns for the project.
Completion of contracts for Cardinal Point Wind
On April 30, 2018, Capital Power announced that the construction of Cardinal Point Wind will proceed once all applicable regulatory approvals are received. Cardinal Point Wind is a 150 MW facility to be constructed in the McDonough and Warren Counties, Illinois, and is anticipated to cost between $289 million and $301 million (US$236 million to US$246 million). Commercial operation of the facility is expected in March of 2020. Capital Power will operate Cardinal Point Wind under a 12-year fixed price contract with an investment grade U.S. financial institution covering 85% of the facility’s output. Under the contract, Capital Power will swap the market revenue of the facility’s generation for a fixed price payment over a 12-year term. In addition, the Cardinal Point Wind project has secured 15-year, fixed-price Renewable Energy Credit (REC) contracts with three Illinois utilities. The REC and output contracts will secure long-term predictable revenues, allowing Cardinal Point Wind to secure renewable energy tax equity financing and provide Capital Power the opportunity to complete its third wind development project in the growing U.S. renewables market.
Consistent with the Company’s ongoing commitment to sustainability, during the second quarter of 2018, the Company named Senior Vice President, Kate Chisholm, its Chief Legal and Sustainability Officer, and sustainability was added to the Board of Directors’ mandate.
$300 million medium-term note issuance
On January 23, 2019, the Company issued $300 million of unsecured medium-term notes due in 2026 with interest payable semi-annually at 4.986% commencing on July 23, 2019. The net proceeds of the offering will be used to repay indebtedness under the Company’s credit facilities or for general corporate purposes.
Approval of normal course issuer bid
Subsequent to the end of 2018, the Toronto Stock Exchange approved Capital Power’s normal course issuer bid to purchase and cancel up to 9.0 million of its outstanding common shares during the one-year period from February 21, 2019 to February 20, 2020.
Analyst conference call and webcast
Capital Power will be hosting a conference call and live webcast with analysts on February 19, 2019 at 9:00 am (MT) to discuss the fourth quarter 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, and gains or losses on disposals (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 2019 targets, including the AFFO guidance range and targeted capital commitments, future dividend growth, expectations pertaining to the construction cost and commercial operations date for Cardinal Point Wind and expectations pertaining to the acquisition of Arlington Valley (see Significant Events). Such expectations around the Arlington Valley acquisition include impacts of the acquisition on adjusted funds from operations, adjusted funds from operations per share and adjusted EBITDA and the re-contracting of the Arlington Valley facility.
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, and (vi) anticipated performance of the acquired Arlington Valley facility (see Significant Events).
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 Arlington Valley acquisition, (ix) limitations inherent in the Company’s review of acquired assets 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.