Cheniere (LNG) Stock Bubbles Up Since Witnessing Easy Q4 Beat
The stock of Cheniere Energy LNG — the largest liquefied natural gas exporter in the United States — has gained 4.3% since its fourth-quarter earnings announcement on Feb 23. The positive response could be attributed the company’s comfortable earnings beat and encouraging guidance.
What Did Cheniere Energy’s Earnings Unveil?
Cheniere Energy announced fourth-quarter 2022 adjusted earnings per share of $15.78, which trounced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $4.89 and turned around from the year-earlier adjusted loss of $1.17. The outperformance could be attributed to robust natural gas prices and increasing demand from customers looking to replace Russian energy.
Meanwhile, Cheniere Energy’s revenues of $9.1 billion increased 38.6% year over year and beat the consensus mark by $370 million, primarily due to soaring LNG sales. Revenues from gas exports came in at $8.4 billion, up 30.4% from the fourth quarter of 2021 and 0.3% above the Zacks Consensus Estimate.
The company’s fourth-quarter adjusted EBITDA was $3.1 billion, with distributable cash flow (DCF) of around $2.3 billion. In the October-December period, Cheniere Energy shipped 166 cargoes compared with 153 in the year-earlier period. Total volumes of LNG exported were 601 trillion British thermal units (TBtu) compared with 542 TBtu in the prior-year quarter.
As a matter of fact, the energy player informed that last year it signed long-term contracts to deliver some 180 million tons of natural gas chilled to liquid through 2050.
As part of its capital-return initiative, the company repurchased 4.4 million shares worth more than $700 million during the quarter under review and paid a dividend of 39.5 cents.
Cheniere Energy, Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise
Cheniere Energy, Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Cheniere Energy, Inc. Quote
Cost, Balance Sheet
The company reported total operating costs and expenses of $2.4 billion in fourth-quarter 2022, falling 61.2% from the year-ago quarter. This decline was primarily due to 72.6% lower cost of sales.
As of Dec 31, 2022, Cheniere Energy had cash and cash equivalents of $2.5 billion and long-term debt of $24.1 billion, representing a debt-to-capitalization of 100.7%.
Based on the strong macro environment and positive outlook, Cheniere Energy sees annual adjusted EBITDA between $8 billion and $8.5 billion this year. Cheniere Energy also anticipates a distributable cash flow of $5.5-$6 billion.
Zacks Rank & Stock Picks
Cheniere Energy — the first U.S. company to receive regulatory approval to export LNG — carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) at present.
Meanwhile, investors interested in the energy sector might look at operators like NOW Inc. DNOW, Valero Energy VLO and Sunoco LP SUN, each carrying a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy) currently.
You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.
NOW Inc.: DNOW beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters. NOW Inc. has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 41.3%, on average.
DNOW is valued at around $1.3 billion. NOW Inc. has seen its shares gain 11.7% in a year.
Valero Energy: Valero Energy is valued at some $49.1 billion. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for VLO’s 2023 earnings has been revised 5.7% upward over the past 30 days.
Valero Energy, headquartered in San Antonio, TX, beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings in each of the trailing four quarters. VLO shares have gained 45.9% in a year.
Sunoco LP: SUN beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings twice in the trailing four quarters. Sunoco has a trailing four-quarter earnings surprise of 21.6%, on average.
Sunoco is valued at around $4.5 billion. SUN has seen its shares gain 11.4% in a year.
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