AGL Resources Finishes Solid Year With Earnings Above Expectations
AGL Resources Inc.
For the quarter ending September 30, 2000, net income, excluding one-time items, nearly tripled over last year to $14.9 million compared with $4.8 million for the same period in 1999. The fourth quarter boost added to strong performance in the previous three quarters, leading to a twelve month total earnings, excluding one-time items, of $1.24 per share, an increase of 33 cents, or 36 percent, over the 91 cents per share from operations for fiscal year 1999.
"This fourth quarter gain is further evidence that we are squarely on track with transforming this business into a solid earnings performer,'
' said Paula Rosput, President and CEO. "The modernization of our utility operations has taken hold, improving customer service and offering our shareholders a reliable base for earnings growth."
Fourth quarter earnings came on revenues of $133 million, compared with $184 million in the fourth quarter of 1999. Total annual revenues for fiscal year 2000 were $607 million, compared with $1 billion for fiscal year 1999, when the company was still directly involved in retail gas sales. This anticipated decrease in utility revenues is a result of the company's transition to a competitive natural gas market and does not affect earnings.
Reported net income for the year ending September 30, 2000, was $71 million, or $1.29 per share, which includes a one-time gain related to the sale of US Propane, a joint venture of AGL Resources, to Heritage Propane Partners, L.P. AGL Resources will have a continuing interest in Heritage Propane Partners, L.P. The gain was partly offset by non-recurring charges associated with a corporate reorganization and additional reserves recorded, resulting in a net increase in earnings of five cents per share. Net income for fiscal year 2000 was down slightly from $74 million the previous fiscal year, when the company recorded a one-time pre-tax gain of $36 million from the sale of its interest in the energy marketing partnership with Sonat.
The company's fourth quarter and year-long performance reflected significant improvements in both its base utility business and SouthStar, the retail gas marketing partnership that operates in Georgia as Georgia Natural Gas Services. The utility operation also achieved key productivity targets and implemented several modernization programs, including deployment of its automated dispatch system. Georgia Natural Gas reported dramatic reductions in its operating expenses and now boasts a 35% market share in Georgia.
"Our proven performance in our utility operations has set the stage for integration of our recent acquisition, Virginia Natural Gas," said Rosput. "We completed this acquisition two months ahead of schedule and prior to the start of the winter heating season. We now have added yet another growing market to our base, and it serves as a larger platform to deploy the many improvements we have achieved in our Georgia and Tennessee operations."
Interested investors are invited to listen to the company's fourth quarter earnings conference call broadcast live over the Internet. The broadcast will be on Wednesday, November 1, 2000, at 9:00 a.m. eastern time. The call, as well as supplemental financial statements, can be accessed at http://www.aglresources.com/ or http://www.streetfusion.com/. Additionally, the conference call will be archived and available for replay at the web sites provided above until November 15, 2000.
AGL Resources Inc. is a regional energy holding company with gas distribution and energy marketing operations in the Southeast. The company is the second largest natural gas-only distribution company in the United States and serves more than 1.8 million customers throughout Georgia, Chattanooga, Tennessee and southeastern Virginia. AGL Resources also is engaged through subsidiaries and partnerships in other energy-related businesses, including retail energy marketing, customer care services for energy marketers, and wholesale and retail propane sales.
The company's home page address on the Internet is http://www.aglresources.com/.
This press release contains forward-looking statements. AGL Resources wishes to caution readers that the assumptions which form the basis for the forward-looking statements include many factors that are beyond AGL Resources' ability to control or estimate precisely. Those factors include, but are not limited to, the following: changes in the price and demand for natural gas; the impact of changes in state and federal legislation and regulation on the company and the natural gas industry; the effects of competition, particularly in markets where prices and providers historically have been regulated; financial market conditions; and other risks described in our documents on file with the Securities and Exchange Commission.
AGL RESOURCES INC. AND SUBSIDIARY COMPANIES CONSOLIDATED FINANCIAL INFORMATION September 30, 2000 (Unaudited) In millions, except per share data 3 Months Ended 12 Months Ended September 30, September 30, 2000 1999 2000 1999 Operating Revenues $133.2 $184.0 $607.4 $1,068.6 Cost of Sales 15.0 64.6 111.9 544.7 Operating Margin 118.2 119.4 495.5 523.9 Operating Expenses Operation and maintenance 62.9 71.9 247.8 266.1 Depreciation 20.9 19.0 83.2 78.8 Taxes other than income 6.0 3.5 26.7 24.4 Total operating expenses 89.8 94.4 357.7 369.3 Operating Income 28.4 25.0 137.8 154.6 Other income (loss) (2.4) (3.9) 15.1 (17.6) Gain on sale of joint venture interests 35.6 35.6 Gain on sale of propane assets 13.1 13.1 Income before interest and income taxes 39.1 56.7 166.0 172.6 Interest expense and preferred divd. 15.2 13.8 57.7 59.1 Income taxes 6.5 15.8 37.2 39.1 Net Income -- Reported $17.4 $27.1 $71.1 $74.4 Net Income -- Core Operations $14.9 $4.8 $68.6 $52.1 Earnings Per Share -- Reported Basic $0.32 $0.48 $1.29 $1.30 Diluted $0.32 $0.48 $1.29 $1.29 Earnings Per Share -- Core Operations Basic $0.27 $0.09 $1.24 $0.91 Diluted $0.27 $0.09 $1.24 $0.91 Avg. Number of Shares Outstanding Basic 54.1 57.0 55.2 57.4 Diluted 54.2 57.0 55.2 57.4
SOURCE: AGL Resources Inc.
Contact: investors, Melanie M. Platt, Vice President Investor Relations,