Kinder Morgan raises dividend by 25%, announces Q1 2019 results
Kinder Morgan, Inc. (NYSE: KMI) on April 17 announced that its Board of Directors approved a cash dividend of $0.25 per share for the first quarter ($1.00 annualized) payable on May 15, 2019, to common stockholders of record as of the close of business on April 30, 2019. This is a 25 percent increase over the fourth quarter 2018 dividend. KMI is reporting first quarter net income available to common stockholders of $556 million, compared to $485 million in the first quarter of 2018; and distributable cash flow (DCF) of $1,371 million, a 10 percent increase over the first quarter of 2018. In the first quarter of 2019, KMI continued to fund most of its growth capital through operating cash flows with no need to access capital markets for that purpose. During the first quarter KMI also paid down $1.3 billion of maturing bond debt with cash from the return of capital distribution from the Trans Mountain sale.
As noted above, KMI reported first quarter net income available to common stockholders of $556 million, compared to $485 million for the first quarter of 2018, and DCF of $1,371 million, up 10 percent from $1,247 million for the comparable period in 2018. These increases were due to greater contributions from the Natural Gas Pipelines segment, and lower preferred equity dividend payments, partially offset by the elimination of Kinder Morgan Canada earnings following the Trans Mountain sale and reduced contributions from our CO2 segment. KMI’s project backlog for the first quarter stood at $6.1 billion, approximately $400 million more than the fourth quarter of 2018, with additions of approximately $600 million in new projects, primarily in the Natural Gas Pipelines segment, offset by approximately $200 million in projects placed in service and other project capital adjustments. Excluding the CO2 segment projects, KMI expects projects in the backlog to generate an average Project EBITDA multiple of approximately 5.5 times.
For 2019, KMI’s budget contemplates declared dividends of $1.00 per common share, DCF of approximately $5.0 billion ($2.20 per common share) and Adjusted EBITDA of approximately $7.8 billion. Adjusted EBITDA is likely to be slightly below budget while DCF is expected to be on budget as lower interest expense offsets the slightly lower Adjusted EBITDA. KMI budgeted to invest $3.1 billion in growth projects and contributions to joint ventures during 2019. KMI expects to use internally generated cash flow to fully fund its 2019 dividend payments as well as the vast majority of its 2019 discretionary spending, without the need to access equity markets. Due to the Adjusted EBITDA impact discussed above, KMI now expects to end 2019 with a Net Debt-to-Adjusted EBITDA ratio of approximately 4.6 times, but still consistent with its long-term target of approximately 4.5 times.
KMI does not provide budgeted net income attributable to common stockholders (the GAAP financial measure most directly comparable to DCF and Adjusted EBITDA) or budgeted project net income (the GAAP financial measure most directly comparable to Project EBITDA) due to the impracticality of predicting certain amounts required by GAAP, such as unrealized gains and losses on derivatives marked to market, and potential changes in estimates for certain contingent liabilities.
KMI’s budgeted expectations assume average annual prices for West Texas Intermediate (WTI) crude oil of $60.00 per barrel and Henry Hub natural gas of $3.15 per million British Thermal Units (MMBtu), consistent with forward pricing during the company’s budget process. The vast majority of revenue KMI generates is fee-based and therefore not directly exposed to commodity prices. For 2019, we estimate that every $1 per barrel change in the average WTI crude oil price impacts DCF by approximately $9 million and each $0.10 per MMBtu change in the price of natural gas impacts DCF by approximately $1 million. The primary area where KMI has commodity price sensitivity is in its CO2 segment, with the majority of the segment’s next 12 months of oil and NGL production hedged to minimize this sensitivity. The segment is currently hedged for 35,581 barrels per day (Bbl/d) at $55.59/Bbl in 2019; 18,223 Bbl/d at $56.35/Bbl in 2020; 9,400 Bbl/d at $55.06/Bbl in 2021; 3,700 Bbl/d at $56.77/Bbl in 2022, and 300 Bbl/d at $54.73/Bbl in 2023.
Overview of Business Segments
Natural gas transport volumes were up 4.5 Bcf/d or 14 percent compared to the first quarter of 2018. This constitutes the fifth quarter in a row in which volumes exceeded the previous comparable prior year period by 10 percent or more. Much of the increase in the first quarter of 2019 was primarily driven by increased production in the DJ and Permian basins that benefited EPNG, Wyoming Interstate Company, and Colorado Interstate Gas Pipeline Company; as well as new projects placed into service on TGP and KMLP. Natural gas gathering volumes were up 21 percent from the first quarter of 2018 due primarily to higher volumes on the KinderHawk and South Texas Midstream systems. NGL volumes, which are now being reported in the Natural Gas segment due to an internal reporting reorganization, were up 4 percent compared to the first quarter of 2018.
Natural gas is critical to the American economy and to meeting the world’s evolving energy needs. Objective analysts project U.S. natural gas demand, including net exports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) and exports to Mexico, will increase from 2018 levels by 32 percent to nearly 119 Bcf/d by 2030. Of the natural gas consumed in the U.S., about 40 percent moves on KMI pipelines, and roughly the same percentage holds true for U.S. natural gas exports. Analysts project that future natural gas infrastructure opportunities through 2030 will be driven by greater demand for gas-fired power generation across the country (forecast to increase by 15 percent), net LNG exports (forecast to increase almost five-fold), exports to Mexico (forecast to rise by 39 percent), and continued industrial development, particularly in the petrochemical industry.
Crude and condensate pipeline volumes were up 8 percent compared to the first quarter of 2018, though lower re-contracted rates reduced earnings contributions. Total refined products volumes were flat versus the same period in 2018.