TransAlta Renewables Inc.
TSX : RNW

TransAlta Renewables Inc.

April 28, 2016 08:29 ET

TransAlta Renewables Reports First Quarter 2016 Results

CALGARY, ALBERTA--(Marketwired - April 28, 2016) - TransAlta Renewables Inc. ("TransAlta Renewables" or the "Company") (TSX:RNW) today reported its financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2016. Comparable EBITDA(1) and comparable cash available for distribution(1) ("Comparable CAFD") for the first quarter was $114 million and $82 million, respectively. Comparable EBITDA and Comparable CAFD increased $59 million and $50 million, respectively in the quarter compared to the same period last year, primarily due to the acquisition of the economic interests in TransAlta Corporation's Australian portfolio and certain Canadian assets.

"TransAlta Renewables delivered strong results in the first quarter this year driven by solid performance from new and existing assets," said Brett Gellner, President of the Company. "We remain focused on delivering strong operating and financial performance, advancing the South Hedland project, and pursuing additional growth opportunities provided they meet our return and risk expectations."

2016 Outlook(2)

TransAlta Renewables previously provided guidance for 2016 with the release of its fourth quarter and full year 2015 results. TransAlta Renewables expects its comparable EBITDA for 2016 to be in the range of $365 million and $390 million, adjusted funds from operations(1) ("AFFO") to be in the range of $245 million and $270 million and comparable CAFD to be in the range of $210 million and $235 million.

(1) Comparable EBITDA refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization including finance lease income and adjusted for certain other items. Adjusted funds from operations (AFFO) includes the deduction of sustaining capital expenditures and distributions to non-controlling interests and excludes the effects of timing and working capital on distributions from subsidiaries of TransAlta Corporation in which the Company holds an economic interest. Comparable CAFD refers to AFFO less principal repayments of amortizing debt. These items are not defined under International Financial Reporting Standards ("IFRS") and the way they are calculated changed in the third quarter of 2015 Comparative measures have been restated accordingly. Presenting these items from period to period provides management and investors with the ability to evaluate earnings and cash flow trends more readily in comparison with prior periods' results. Refer to the Non-IFRS Measures section of the Management's Discussion and Analysis ("MD&A") for further discussion of these items, including, where applicable, reconciliations to measures calculated in accordance with IFRS.
(2) The 2016 outlook is based on expected revenues from the PPAs and sale of green attributes. We expect renewable energy production from our wind and hydro assets to be in the range of 3,500 to 3,850 GWh which includes the impact of economic interests acquired on January 6, 2016. Gas-fired generation primarily provides compensation for capacity, and accordingly, production is not a significant performance indicator of that business.

First Quarter Highlights

Transaction with TransAlta Corporation

On January 6, 2016, TransAlta Renewables completed its $540 million acquisition of an economic interest in the cash flows from TransAlta Corporation's Sarnia cogeneration plant, Le Nordais wind farm and Ragged Chute hydro facility, totaling approximately 611 MW of highly contracted power generation assets located in Ontario and Quebec. The cash portion of the transaction was funded through the issuance of an aggregate of 17,692,750 subscription receipts for gross proceeds of approximately $172.5 million. The remaining consideration was funded through the issuance of 15.6 million common shares of TransAlta Renewables and $215 million in convertible unsecured subordinated debentures to TransAlta Corporation. The transaction was originally announced on November 23, 2015.

South Hedland Power Project

The construction of the 150MW South Hedland power project continues to advance. Major equipment has been arriving on schedule. The Company expects the project to be delivered on schedule and on budget in mid-2017.

In 2016, TransAlta Renewables anticipates investing $100 million in the construction of the South Hedland project. The Company has invested $175 million in the project since acquiring the economic interest. Financing for the project is expected to come from cash flow from operating activities and a drawdown on the $350 million credit facility provided by TransAlta Corporation. Proceeds from debt capital markets being considered for other assets within TransAlta Renewables will be used to repay the draw downs on the credit facility.

Summary of Results

  • Comparable EBITDA was $114 million for the first quarter of 2016 compared to $55 million for the same period last year due to the acquisition of the economic interests in TransAlta Corporation's Australian portfolio and certain Canadian assets and higher wind volumes in Western Canada and at Wyoming wind.
  • AFFO increased $39 million in the first quarter this year compared to the same period in 2015, primarily due to the increase in comparable EBITDA, partially offset by an increase in long-term accounts receivable and by sustaining capital expenditures associated with planned maintenance of the portfolio.
  • Comparable CAFD increased $50 million compared to 2015, due to the increase in AFFO and principal repayments made in the prior year. As we transition financing towards non-recourse project-level debt, we expect the principal repayments to more closely mirror the contractual profile of our assets.
  • Net earnings attributable to common shareholders was impacted by a $64 million charge attributable to the increase in value of Class B shares that will be issued to TransAlta Corporation when the South Hedland power project is fully commissioned. The Class B shares will convert to common shares and will increase in value when the common shares increase in value. Net earnings attributable to common shareholders was also negatively affected by the impact of the strengthening Canadian dollar during the period on the Company's net investment in Australian and US operations.

The following table depicts key financial results and statistical operating data:

First Quarter 2016 Highlights

In $CAD millions, unless otherwise stated 3 months ended
March 31, 2016
3 months ended
March 31, 2015
Renewable energy production (GWh) (1) 1,081 958
Revenue 68 68
Comparable EBITDA(2) 114 55
Adjusted funds from operations(2) 82 43
Comparable cash available for distribution(2) 82 32
Net earnings (loss) attributable to common shareholders (36 ) 20
Net earnings (loss) per share attributable to common shareholders, basic and diluted (3) (0.16 ) 0.17
Adjusted funds from operations per share(2)(3) 0.37 0.37
Comparable cash available for distribution per share(2)(3) 0.37 0.28
Dividends paid per common share(3) 0.22 0.19
Dividends declared per common share(3) 0.22 0.19
(1) Includes production from the Wyoming wind farm, Le Nordais, and Ragged Chute and excludes Australian and Canadian gas-fired generation.
(2) These items are not defined under IFRS and the way they are calculated changed in the third quarter of 2015. Comparative measures have been restated accordingly. Presenting these items from period to period provides management and investors with the ability to evaluate earnings and cash flow trends more readily in comparison with prior periods' results. Refer to the Non-IFRS Measures section of the MD&A for further discussion of these Items, including, where applicable, reconciliations to measures calculated in accordance with IFRS.
(3) Amounts in whole dollars to the nearest two decimals.

A complete copy of TransAlta Renewables' first quarter report including MD&A and unaudited financial statements is available through TransAlta Renewables' website at www.transaltarenewables.com or at SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

TransAlta Renewables Annual Meeting of Shareholders

TransAlta Renewables will hold its Annual Meeting of Shareholders later this morning at 10:00 a.m. MT (12:00 p.m. ET) at the Hotel Arts, Galleria Room in Calgary, Alberta. The Annual Meeting of Shareholders will be broadcast via webcast. To access the broadcast, please visit http://www.transaltarenewables.com/investors/events-and-presentations.

About TransAlta Renewables Inc.

TransAlta Renewables is among the largest of any publicly traded renewable independent power producers ("IPP") in Canada. Our asset platform and economic interests are diversified in terms of geography, generation and counterparties and consist of interests in 18 wind facilities, 13 hydroelectric facilities, eight natural gas generation facilities (including one currently under construction) and one natural gas pipeline, representing an ownership interest of 2,441 MW of net generating capacity, located in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, the State of Wyoming and the State of Western Australia. Our objectives are to (i) create stable, consistent returns for investors through the ownership of, and investment in, highly contracted renewable and natural gas power generation and other infrastructure assets that provide stable cash flow primarily through long-term contracts with strong counterparties; (ii) pursue and capitalize on strategic growth opportunities in the renewable and natural gas power generation and other infrastructure sectors; (iii) maintain diversity in terms of geography, generation and counterparties; and (iv) pay out 80 to 85 per cent of cash available for distribution to the shareholders of the Company on an annual basis.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Information

This news release contains forward looking statements, including statements regarding the business and anticipated financial performance of the Company that are based on the Company's current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "plans", "expects", "proposed", "will", "anticipates", "develop", "continue", and similar expressions suggesting future events or future performance. In particular, this news release contains forward-looking statements, including certain financial outlooks, pertaining to, without limitation, the following: expected Comparable EBITDA for 2016, AFFO for 2016 and Comparable CAFD for 2016; the commissioning of the South Hedland Power Station; the remaining project costs for the South Hedland Power Station and the source of funding in respect of such costs and the effect, results and perceived benefits of the Australian and Canadian investments; and the potential transitioning to non-recourse project-level financing. These forward-looking statements are not historical facts but reflect the Company's current expectations concerning future plans, actions and results. These statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual plans, actions and results to differ materially from current expectations including, but not limited to: changes in tax, environmental, and other laws and regulations; competitive factors in the renewable power industry; operational breakdowns, failures, or other disruptions; changes in economic and market conditions; and other risks and uncertainties discussed in the Company's materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities from time to time and as also set forth in the Company's MD&A and 2016 Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2015. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's expectations only as of the date of this news release. The purpose of the financial outlooks contained herein is to give the reader information about management's current expectations and plans and readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Note: All financial figures are in Canadian dollars unless noted otherwise.

Contact Information