SOURCE: Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC

February 08, 2011 18:15 ET

Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC Announces Results for the Third Quarter ended December 31, 2010

HOUSTON, TX--(Marketwire - February 8, 2011) - Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC ("Niska") (NYSE: NKA) reported today Adjusted EBITDA (as defined below) for its third quarter ended December 31, 2010 of $59.9 million, compared to $86.6 million for the third quarter of fiscal 2010. Adjusted EBITDA for the nine months ended December 31, 2010 was $134.4 million, compared to $145.0 million in the same period last year. Cash Available for Distribution (as defined below) was $41.3 million for the three months and $73.1 million for the nine months ended December 31, 2010, respectively. Net earnings for Niska's third quarter reflected a loss of $2.4 million in fiscal 2011 compared to net earnings of $48.1 million in fiscal 2010. Nine month net earnings for fiscal 2011 were $29.6 million, compared to $3.2 million in fiscal 2010.

"Our results for the third quarter reflect a weaker storage market compared to an exceptionally strong third quarter in fiscal 2010." said David Pope, President and CEO of Niska. "However, our baseload contracting, complemented by optimization strategies and low-cost organic growth, have allowed us to achieve solid results in line with our expectations. We reaffirm our previous Adjusted EBITDA guidance range of $190 - $205 million and our Cash Available for Distribution guidance range of $110 - $125 million for fiscal 2011. This reflects our continued confidence in our ability to deliver consistent financial results in a variety of economic environments."

During the quarter, Niska received approval from the California Public Utilities Commission to expand the working gas capacity of its Wild Goose facility in California from 29 billion cubic feet ("Bcf") to 50 Bcf. Following the approval, further performance testing was conducted on the Wild Goose reservoir as part of the facility expansion and, as expected, Niska was able to add an incremental 6 Bcf of working gas capacity. With this expansion, the Wild Goose facility now has total working gas capacity of 35 Bcf. The remaining 15 Bcf of capacity at Wild Goose is expected to be available within the next year. Niska has now added a total of 19 Bcf of gas storage capacity in fiscal 2011, exceeding its previous target of 15 Bcf.

As announced on January 26, 2011, Niska will pay a cash distribution of $0.35 per unit on February 11, 2011 to unitholders of record at the close of business on February 7, 2011.

Earnings Call

Niska will host a conference call with members of executive management on Wednesday, February 9, 2011, at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Interested parties may access the call via our website at www.niskapartners.com. A webcast is also available on the Thomson Reuters Street Events network at www.earnings.com.

If you are unable to participate in the webcast, you may access the live conference call by dialing the following numbers:

North America: 1-866-203-2528

International: 1-617-213-8847

Access Code: 62391847

A telephonic replay can be accessed until midnight, February 16, 2011 at the following numbers:

North America: 1-888-286-8010

International: 1-617-801-6888

Access Code: 34932447

In addition, an electronic replay and PDF transcript will be available on the Niska website in the Investor Center section under the Presentations and Webcasts tab.

About Niska

Niska is the largest independent owner and operator of natural gas storage in North America, with strategically located assets in key natural gas producing and consuming regions. Niska owns and operates three facilities, including the AECO Hub™ in Alberta, Canada; Wild Goose in California; and Salt Plains in Oklahoma. Niska also contracts gas storage capacity on the Natural Gas Pipeline Company of America system. In total, Niska owns or contracts approximately 204.5 Bcf of gas storage capacity.

Forward Looking Statements

This press release includes "forward-looking statements" -- that is, statements related to future, not past, events. Forward-looking statements are based on current expectations and include any statement that does not directly relate to a current or historical fact. In this context, forward-looking statements often address our expected future business and financial performance, and often contain words such as "anticipate," "believe," "intend," "expect," "plan," "will" or other similar words. These forward-looking statements involve certain risks and uncertainties that ultimately may not prove to be accurate. Actual results and future events could differ materially from those anticipated in such statements. For further discussion of risks and uncertainties, you should refer to Niska's SEC filings. Niska undertakes no obligation and does not intend to update these forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances occurring after this press release. You are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of the date of this press release. All forward-looking statements are qualified in their entirety by this cautionary statement.

*****

Non-GAAP Financial Measures

Niska uses and discloses the financial measures "Adjusted EBITDA" and "Cash Available for Distribution" in this press release. Niska defines Adjusted EBITDA as net earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization, unrealized risk management gains and losses, foreign exchange gains and losses, unrealized inventory impairment write-downs, gains and losses on asset dispositions, asset impairments and other income. Niska defines Cash Available for Distribution as Adjusted EBITDA reduced by interest expense (excluding amortization of deferred financing costs and the effects of unrealized gains or losses on interest rate swaps), income taxes paid and maintenance capital expenditures. Niska's Adjusted EBITDA and Cash Available for Distribution are not presentations made in accordance with Generally Accepted Accounting Principles in the United States ("GAAP"). Niska's management utilizes Adjusted EBITDA and Cash Available for Distribution as key performance measures in order to assess:

--  The financial performance of our assets, operations and return on
    capital without regard to financing methods, capital structure or
    historical cost basis;
--  The ability of our assets to generate cash sufficient to pay interest
    on our indebtedness and make distributions to our equity holders;
--  Repeatable operating performance that is not distorted by non-recurring
    items or market volatility; and
--  The viability of acquisitions and capital expenditure projects.

The GAAP measure most directly comparable to Adjusted EBITDA and Cash Available for Distribution is net earnings. For a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA to net earnings, please see the schedule provided in the attached pages.

                      NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS LLC
                CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF EARNINGS (LOSS)
                      (in thousands of U.S. dollars)
                                (unaudited)


                           Three Months Ended         Nine Months Ended
                              December 31,              December 31,
                        ------------------------  ------------------------
                            2010         2009         2010         2009
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
                                       (Niska                    (Niska
                                     Predecessor)              Predecessor)
REVENUES
  Long-term contract    $    30,298  $    28,283  $    88,316  $    81,799
  Short-term contract        11,101       15,029       28,877       39,939
  Optimization, net           4,188       67,895       47,874       27,939
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
  Total revenue              45,587      111,207      165,067      149,677
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------

EXPENSES (INCOME)
  Operating                  11,133       10,199       32,404       28,388
  General and
   administrative             8,692       11,208       23,964       21,532
  Depreciation and
   amortization              13,011       12,101       36,348       32,891
  Interest                   19,434        6,704       57,601       20,140
  Foreign exchange
   (gains) losses              (796)       3,578         (765)      (8,222)
  Other income                  (12)          (9)         (35)         (88)
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
                             51,462       43,781      149,517       94,641
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------

EARNINGS (LOSS) BEFORE
 INCOME TAXES                (5,875)      67,426       15,550       55,036

Income tax (benefit)
 expense                     (3,461)      19,279      (14,008)      51,848

NET EARNINGS (LOSS)
 AND COMPREHENSIVE
 INCOME (LOSS)          $    (2,414) $    48,147  $    29,558  $     3,188
                                     ===========               ===========
Less:
Net earnings prior to
 initial public
 offering on May 17,
 2010                           N/A                    36,234          N/A
Net earnings (loss)
 subsequent to initial
 public offering on     -----------               -----------
 May 17, 2010           $    (2,414)              $    (6,676)         N/A
                        ===========               ===========

Net earnings (loss)
 subsequent to initial
 public offering
  allocated to:
Managing member         $       (48)         N/A  $       344          N/A
                        ===========               ===========
Common unitholders      $    (1,183)         N/A  $    (3,510)         N/A
                        ===========               ===========
Subordinated
 unitholder             $    (1,183)         N/A  $    (3,510)         N/A
                        ===========               ===========

Earnings (loss) per
 unit allocated to
 common unitholders -
 basic and diluted      $     (0.03)         N/A  $     (0.10)         N/A
                        ===========               ===========

Earnings (loss) per
 unit allocated to
 subordinated
 unitholders - basic
 and diluted            $     (0.03)         N/A  $     (0.10)         N/A
                        ===========               ===========




                      NISKA GAS STORAGE PARTNERS LLC
           SELECTED FINANCIAL DATA AND NON-GAAP RECONCILIATIONS
          (in thousands of U.S. dollars, except capacity amounts)
                                (unaudited)

                           Three Months Ended         Nine Months Ended
                              December 31,              December 31,
                        ------------------------  ------------------------
                            2010         2009         2010         2009
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
                                       (Niska                    (Niska
                                     Predecessor)              Predecessor)
Reconciliation of Net
 Earnings (Loss) to
 Adjusted EBITDA and
 Cash Available for
 Distribution:

Net earnings (loss)     $    (2,414) $    48,147  $    29,558  $     3,188
Add (deduct):
  Interest expense           19,434        6,704       57,601       20,140
  Income tax (benefit)
   expense                   (3,461)      19,279      (14,008)      51,848
  Depreciation and
   amortization              13,011       12,101       36,348       32,891
  Unrealized risk
   management losses
   (gains)                   34,108       (3,198)      25,659       45,250
  Foreign exchange
   (gains) losses              (796)       3,578         (765)      (8,222)
  Other income                  (12)          (9)         (35)         (88)
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
Adjusted EBITDA         $    59,870  $    86,602  $   134,358  $   145,007
Less:
  Cash interest
   expense, net              18,408       13,110       54,503       18,916
  Income taxes paid               -         (328)         287          212
  Maintenance capital
   expenditures                 144          680          868          838
  Other income                  (12)          (9)         (35)         (88)
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
Cash available for
  distribution          $    41,330  $    73,149  $    78,735  $   125,129
                        ===========  ===========  ===========  ===========

Revenue:
Long-term contract           30,298       28,283       88,316       81,799
Short-term contract          11,101       15,029       28,877       39,939
Proprietary
 optimization:
  Realized optimization      38,296       64,697       73,532       73,189
  Unrealized risk
   management gains
   (losses)                 (34,108)       3,198      (25,659)     (45,250)
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
    Total               $    45,587  $   111,207  $   165,067  $   149,677
                        ===========  ===========  ===========  ===========

Total realized
 revenues               $    79,695  $   108,009  $   190,725  $   194,927
                        ===========  ===========  ===========  ===========

Capital expenditures:
Maintenance             $       144  $       680  $       868  $       838
Expansion and cost
 reduction                    8,866       21,787       23,302       53,094
                        -----------  -----------  -----------  -----------
  Total                 $     9,011  $    22,467  $    24,170  $    53,932
                        ===========  ===========  ===========  ===========

Operating data:
Effective working gas
 capacity (Bcf)               204.5        185.5        204.5        185.5

Selected Balance Sheet  December 31,  March 31,
 data                      2010         2010
                        -----------  -----------
                              (unaudited)
                                       (Niska
                                     Predecessor)
Cash and cash
 equivalents            $    33,386  $   131,559
                        ===========  ===========
Borrowings under
 revolving credit
 facility               $         -  $         -
                        ===========  ===========
Total debt excluding
 revolving credit
 facility               $   800,000  $   800,000
                        ===========  ===========
Partners' equity        $   914,979  $   929,786
                        ===========  ===========

Contact Information

  • Contact
    Niska Gas Storage Partners LLC
    Investor Relations:
    Brandon Tran or Vance Powers
    (403) 513-8600