Kinder Morgan Claims Progress, Investors Remain Wary

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Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) reported third-quarter 2016 results after markets closed Wednesday. The midstream giant posted per Class P share loss of $0.10 per share on revenues of $3.33 billion. In the same period a year ago, KMI posted earnings per Class P share of $0.08 on revenues of $3.71 billion. Consensus estimates called for EPS of $0.16 and revenues of $3.45 billion.

The company said it would pay a $0.125 quarterly dividend for the quarter and expects its full-year dividend to total $0.50. Kinder Morgan intends to use its cash in excess of dividends “to fund growth investments and strengthen its balance sheet.”

Distributable cash flow (DCF) for the second quarter totaled $0.48 per share, down from $0.51 in the year-ago quarter and down from $0.47 sequentially. DCF is a non-GAAP measure that is roughly comparable to net income per share and is KMI’s preferred way of comparing basic cash flows to the cash dividends it expects to pay shareholders. Another way of looking at DCF is as coverage in excess of dividends. The drop was attributed to lower contributions from the CO2 segment (where Kinder Morgan accounts for oil and gas production) primarily due to lower commodity prices.

DCF for the quarter totaled $1.08 billion, compared to $1.13 billion in the third quarter last year. Net loss for the third quarter totaled $188 million, compared with net profit of $186 million in the year-ago quarter.

Chairman and CEO Richard Kinder had this to say about KMI:

During the quarter, we substantially reduced our debt, further positioning Kinder Morgan for long-term value creation. We are ahead of our plan for 2016 year-end leverage and we’re pleased with the progress toward reaching our targeted leverage level of around 5.0 times net debt-to-Adjusted EBITDA. This will position us to return substantial value to shareholders through some combination of dividend increases, share repurchases, additional attractive growth projects or further debt reduction.

Kinder Morgan’s current project backlog is valued at $13 billion, down from $13.5 billion at the end of the second quarter.

Consistent with guidance provided at the end of the last quarter, Kinder Morgan continues to expect adjusted EBITDA to be about 3% below budget and DCF to be about 4% below budget, excluding the effect of the transaction with Southern Company. The company also forecasts growth capital a $2.7 billion in 2016, a decline of $600 million from its budgeted total of $3.3 billion.

Investors are not impressed. There were no positive surprises, and the shortfall in revenues and the net loss were not encouraging.

Shares closed Wednesday’s regular session up about 2.6% at $20.71 and traded down about 0.8% in the after-hours session at $20.55 in a 52-week range of $11.20 to $32.20. The consensus price target on the stock was $24.00 before the earnings announcement.