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Edited Transcript of HIFR earnings conference call or presentation 28-Feb-17 6:00pm GMT

Thomson Reuters StreetEvents

Q4 2016 InfraREIT Inc Earnings Call

Dallas Feb 28, 2017 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of InfraREIT Inc earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, February 28, 2017 at 6:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript




Editor [1]


+++Please stand by for realtime transcript.

Good afternoon and welcome to the InfraREIT fourth-quarter and full-year 2016 earnings conference call.

All parchments will be in a listen only mode.

(Operator Instructions) This event is being recorded.

I would now like to turn the conference over to Brook Wootton Vice President and Investor Relations please go ahead.


Unknown Speaker* [2]


Thanks any.

Good afternoon welcome to InfraREIT 2016 fourth quarter and full-year earnings conference call.

Joining me today are David Campbell, Chief Executive Officer, and Brant Meleski are Chief Financial Officer.

Before we begin I like to be ever aware of certain language contained in our safe harbor statement.

The company cautions that certain statements made during this call are forward-looking and are subject to various risks and uncertainties.

Actual results may differ materially from our projections and expert patients.

These risks and uncertainties are discussed in our reports filed with the Secretary.

Our forward-looking statements were present our outlook only as of today.

We disclaim any obligation to update statements except as maybe required by law.

In addition during this conference call will make reference to certain non-GAAP financial measures.

A reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures are available on the Investor Relations section of our website.

I will now turn the call over to David Campbell.


Unknown Speaker* [3]


Thanks Brook and while thanks to everyone joining this call I'll open today with highlights from 26 he followed by comments about load growth Sharyland service territory regional market dynamics hunt project our pending rate case and hundred 13 D filing earlier today.

I'll then headed over to Brant for discussion of our financial performance capital expenditure forecast our proposal leases in the commentary on potential tax reform.

I'd like to direct your attention to the supplemental slides that we posted to our website earlier this morning.

Turning to slide three we are pleased to report solid results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2016. These lease revenue and income lines with citizens reflect growth and rate based and Sharyland.

We best more than $50 million in the fourth quarter and $230 million during the year enabling Sharyland to support customer load growth and health to reliable services.

To Sharyland customers.

Slight 46 five growth projected are in turn it distribution to service territory.

As a reminder our current asset base was transmission and 30% distribution.

Is misaligned in the Texas Panhandle comprise roughly 85% of our current rate base of the 45% is in West Texas.

The remaining 10% is in South Texas and other regions.


Unknown Speaker* [4]


Slide four profiles the rapid growth of coincident peak load in the Sharyland system much of which sits at the top a portion of the Permian basin.

Mainly to the West Texas oil economy the peak load grew double digits each year from 2011 to 2015. Strong growth continued in 2015 with peak load exceeding 2015 by nearly 9%. Slide five shows a similar pattern for for Sharyland's distribution system.

Sharyland is a small but dramatically high gross utility with annual increases in the double digits from 2011 to 2015. The rate of growth slow during 2016 mainly due to the impacted lower oil prices on regional economic activities.

But is still have been a strong what five increase during 2015 compared to the prior year.

The fourth quarter showed a slightly lower pace of growth with total distribution load increasing in 5.6% from Q4 2015 compared to two Q4 2015. Flight 6% more detailed metrics related to residential and industrial customers.

Sharyland's customer count continues to expand with a 2.3% increase in residential customers from 2016. Graphics focuses on industrial and large business customers and peak demand.

This metric drives Sharyland for this group who are present our largest customer segment.

The aggregate amount of increased rapidly showing more than 15% increase during 2016. Slide seven shows oil production Permian of West Texas and southern Mexico.

This area continues to be the most active of the North American oil.

Even though in the Permian the great first half of 2016 following the drop in oil prices.

However the region sell increase in oil production in the latter part of the year as producers responded to oil prices consider trading in the low 50s per barrel.

If the state continue drilling activity increases in total oil production should lead to corresponding increases in power demand and infrastructure investment opportunities.

Flight a demonstrate the total number of wind generation connection agreements in the Texas Panhandle region.

While the additional of the Second Circuit and the second is condensers will expand the export capacity, of the existing transmission system further investments will be required to accommodate significant new wind inflations.

The growth mentals that we see in the Texas Panhandle and our West Texas service territories complement it by discussions with the customers about their expected new projects in the ecologically Sharyland annual manager planning process.

Brant will provide more detail of our 2019 capital it's manager during this call.

For context it is important to note that we have made significant upgrades since 2013 to our West Texas systems in the area where the doubling the size of that system over the past three years.


Unknown Speaker* [5]


Similarly by the end of 2018, we will have significant semantic capacity of our Texas Panhandle commission assets to the additional of the second circuit into circuit is condensers.

The incremental of these created a lumbar focus of meeting the identified needs of the system contributed to lower level of invested in 2019 relative to recent levels.

However, we remain bullish on the long-term for mentals of our core service territories driven by the resource potential oil in the Permian basin.

Renewables in the Panhandle.

Turning to slide nine in an important element for growth strategy is acquisition of transmission projects developed by hunt our development partner.

Two of the projects highlighted on page across Valley transmission line replacement service 2016 and are currently owned and operated by Sharyland.

InfraREIT has had opportunity to reengage in discussions about the potential acquisition of these new projects at a later date as market conditions evolve.

The Cross Valley project is excited have up to $70 million of incremental CapEx over the next two to three years with his current asset base by up to 10%.

The other development projects progress during 2016. Sharyland has engaged in discussions with several renewable developers who are interested in connecting InfraREIT transmission system.

In many cases lease generations interconnections would involve relatively small amount of CapEx and a large amount of capital investments that will be a ROFO project and by our development program department.

Additionally during our 2016 Sharyland cemented a proposal to regional for RPG regarding the South plains transition project to support the integration of more taxes handle when power.

Chile believe that the ERCOT has met this project which potentially involves up to $250 million of the trans mission.

Of course the project of this size will undergo rigorous scrutiny for moving forward.

ERCOT RPG suspects review the sidelines proposal during the first half of 2017. If the the party supports part of the review process events the ERCOT board.

If endorsed by the board the project would then advance to the PUCT for consideration of a new CCN in the process that equity up to 12 months.

If the project advances in the majority of the Southline and will be a project.

We also continue to monitor the potential integration of Lubbock Power & Light for LP&L into the European market.

As we have described LP&L committed application to join our ERCOT in the 26. It ultimately improve the related transmission integration would likely involve touch points with the Sharyland system and thereby create opportunities for transmission to plummet for hunt or Sharyland.

Currently following a request by the PUCT ERCOT to value the cost about this and technical considerations associated with LP&L's cap Haitian.

Deputy appeals request for any follow-on decisions regarding which transmission interconnection would be authorized.

The proposed lines supporting the plains transmission project and the LP&L integration terminated the same Sharyland facilities, to project together would become of entry providing for the economic support for both initiatives.

As a follow-up to its open solicitation process, the Southline project in southern New Mexico and Arizona is working with interested parties to determine the optimal commercial framework for the this large and potentially promising development project.

In February 2017 the Arizona Corporation commission approved six of environmental compatibility for Southline.

The certificate authorizes the construction of the non- whopper owned transmission facilities in Arizona.

And combination we expected and other development projects will if required the important elements of InfraREIT's growth strategy complement in the growth in our core services territory.

Turning to slide 10 L briefly touched on the case.

On December 30 InfraREIT's regular subsidiary and tenant Sharyland.

Filed an amended application with the the amended filing with the result of a PUCT order issued in October 2017 . The order in a series of requirements included the following.

First, a request for Sharyland and to file separate rate filing packages.

So the potency of costs and returns on investment be reviewed for both companies.

Second request for PUCT approval of 17 transited and leases between Sharyland and and finally a request for the PUCT the issue SDTS to own certificate of convenience and necessity.

We believe our cementing rate filing package complies with the requirements of the PUCT October order.

While also meeting InfraREIT climates.

Brant will describe at least in a few minutes.

As part of the mission, we requested allowed 10%.

Maintaining current capital structure of 55% debt to 45% equity.

And a reduction in the cost of debt to 4.97% down from 6.73%.

The rate case prize consolidate Sharyland to existing Terrace one for SBC territories and for McAllen services territory into a single Terrace that will uniform systemwide rate . This compelling today with the requirements establish by the PUCT in Sharyland's 2013 rate case.

The filings proposes minimal changes to the regular delivery rate for the average residential customers in Sharyland SBC territories, the average McAllen customers resulting in $55 per month increase in cruising riders.

The current rate it'll be the first full review of rate 2001. Sharyland has subsidized for the past years.

The rate case highlights a significant amendments made between the test year.

The Texas Panhandle we invested over $600 million transmission to support delivery when power to our haircut consumers.

Transmission and distribution system across Sharyland other territory.

And part this investment went towards renovating and updating the electric system required to make in 2010. However the bulk of the investment was required double-digit annual load growth driven by the West Texas oil economy.

I'll conclude with comments regarding the amended 13 which consolidated filed earlier this morning related to hunt ownership and hunt filing notes that in light of the risks and uncertainties surrounding the pending rate case, and policy possible tax for legislation hunt may begin to evaluate scenarios that may involve possible alternatives to the current business structure and arrangements in place between InfraREIT hunt, and Sharyland.

The filing also described alternatives arrangements that hunt may evaluate in a scenario analysis adjusted the REIT transaction assailed by inference of all certain of its assets or operations with the third-party.

The business combination of InfraREIT in the third party.

The business combination between InfraREIT and Sharyland acquisition of by or involving hunt or other transactions.

Hunt filing notes that no decisions have been made to recommend or pursue these potential alternatives.

Is maintaining the current arrangements that are already in place.

Every's Board of Directors and conference committees tend to review any proposed alternatives if and when any proposals are made . In addition to evaluating and responding to development in the rate case federal tax legislation or other development.

In summer we continue to execute on our strategy of investing in infrastructure assets required to ensure reliability and support the rapid growth that has occurred in the Sharyland system.

Although in 2016 we experience our fair share of challenges we remain excited about our future opportunities.

I'll now turn the call over to Brant.

A thank you David.

Let me begin with details of our key financial metrics for the fourth quarter which are summarized on slides 11 and 12. These revenues grew 8% while net income and earnings per share increased slightly.

Adjusted EBITDA grew 5% relative to the fourth quarter of last year.

3 cash available for distribution came in at $17.5 million and non-GAAP EPS came in at $.28 in 2016. These results were driven by the fact that the depreciation and interest to spend increase faster than cash revenues during the fourth quarter of 2016 versus the fourth quarter of 2015. Spivak slide 13 and 14 cover the same metrics December 31 2016 for that period these revenues grew 14% while net income increased to $69.3 million.

This is primarily due to increased lease revenue and a decrease in G&A expenses related to the 2015 IPO , offset by increased depreciation and interest expense.

A earnings per share grew from $.31 to a dollar $.14. Adjusted EBITDA grew 11% relative to the same period of 2015. Cash available for distribution increased 3%. Non-GAAP EPS remained flat between the two years.

These metrics were in line with our plans for 2016. As we high interest expense in the $400 million of debt we refinanced in December 2015. Along with the $100 million of long-term debt we issued in January of 2016. 3 $500 million of long-term debt there's of 3.6%.

Slide 15 lays out liquidity as of December 31 , 2017 we ended the year of 200 $5 million of available liquidity in our long-term debt totaled $780 million.

Spivak on slide 60 like to point our growth of financing strategy has remained consistent since our IPO.

3 our strategy is to grow the dividends per share to Christmas and foot print projects and acquisitions with the assets.

As we described we expect to fund our footprint project capital expenditures to through the end of 2018 without issuing additional equity while continuing the target our consolidated measures of total capitalization and 12% of adjusted FFO to debt.


Unknown Speaker* [6]


Slide 17 highlights our projected capital expenditures.

We are reaffirming our 2017 and 2018 footprint capital expenditure is ranges and expanding our outlook tour add in 2019. Our expected range for 2017 is 175 two hundred $40 million in and $80 range is 75 $750 million.


Unknown Speaker* [7]


For 2019 our expectations in a range of 25 to $110 million as a result, our 2017 to capital expenditure range is now $275 million to 200 million dollars.

Regarding 20 interested in David noted during his remarks with a lower level base footprint CapEx managers as we will is essentially updated and expanded the transmission system in the Stanton area from 2013 through 2018. And the Texas hand 10 panel we are also expecting a lower level of large discrete X managers as we expect to complete a large expansion of that system in 2018.


Unknown Speaker* [8]


In the context of the recent uptick in the West Texas oil economy, Sharyland is in discussion -- discussions with large industrial customers in the Stanton area these pressures may require related transmission investments.

Due to the long lead time associated with the transmission projects , we do not expect to see the related capital expenditures added to our forecast until 2019. As David mentioned, we remained a list on the medium to long-term outlook capital expenditure and Robo opportunities to support new load growth in and around Sharyland service territory.

Slide 18 through 20 provide a summary of the details of the proposed leases in the amended rate case application that as David mentioned earlier the call.

The amended rate case application proposed that InfraREIT and Sharyland will terminate their existing leases and enter into two new leases that will be directly related by the EC PC. The two leases will be organized by asset type instead of the company's current five leases which are primarily based on the geography.

The proposed leases are designed to comply with the true lease requirements in other was applicable to REITs including with Sharyland with approximately 3% of projected return on rate base.

That SDTS would be entitled to be earned instead of the run-of-the-mill it into Sharyland.

Under the proposed lease agreement, Sharyland will continue to pay base and percentage rent.

Sharyland will pay a monthly fixed base rent to SDTS while percentage rent will continue to be paid quarterly.

will establish the rent rate and the annual percentage rent breakpoint in is rate case.

Base rent payment will be updated through costs and filings with the these updates will replace the current rent supplement and validation process in the company's existing lease structure.

The percentage rent will be in amount annual amount equal to the percentage rent rate multiplied by the adjusted gross revenue collected by Sharyland during the year in excess of an annual percentage rent rate point.

The transmission lease will have a one tier annual percentage rent breakpoint while the distribution lease will contain two tiers of annual percentage breakpoint and percentage rent rate.

Percentage rent in annual percentage rent break point will not change in between rate case.


Unknown Speaker* [9]


The two-tier break point in the distribution lease provided a mechanism for SDTS and Sharyland allocated to come is associated with the normal load growth.


Unknown Speaker* [10]


Additionally, the current regulatory contract does not have an existing mechanism for updating and asset companies rate to account for load growth in its tenant distribution services territories in between rate cases.

And the amended filings and Sharyland have responded to this gap by announcing an intent for unregulated parent company's of SDTS and Sharyland to enter into a transition payment agreement related to InfraREIT's distribution assets.

3 although we propose to regulate our leases the outcome of the rate cases are uncertain.

We have entered into settlement discussions but there's no guarantees that there will be successful.

The current timelines for initial hearings is to be held March 29 through April 7 the final SDTS expected in the third quarter of 2013. Finally, I would like to make a few comments on the proposals to change federal tax installations and to reiterate our plans for guidance.

3 as many of our cases I mentioned our company industry are closely monitored puzzles to change current federal tax rules.

Needless to say the ultimate impact of any tax form proposal is dependent on upon the final form of the legislation.


Unknown Speaker* [11]


In our case unlike not re-utilities, the reduction in the corporate income tax rate would reduce our revenue requirements without a corresponding reduction in the tax rates according our gap income statements.


Unknown Speaker* [12]


For this reason we believe our proposals are involving a significant reduction in the corporate income tax rates would likely be diluted to our next comes per share in cash flows.


Unknown Speaker* [13]


However the amount of dilution if any, will vary based on the final legislation and are related implementation steps in rate.


Unknown Speaker* [14]


As we mentioned last quarter, we are not providing earnings per share CADguidance rate case clarity as to the amount of pain in terms interns the new lease.

Once the rate case has resolved we will schedule an investor day to provide information regarding our earnings dividends and growth plans.


Unknown Speaker* [15]


Thank you again for your interest in InfraREIT and participating in our call today.

We will now open the call for questions.


Unknown Speaker* [16]


(Operator Instructions) Tran16


Unknown Speaker* [17]


Thanks good morning.

Good morning Greg.

Good afternoon.

As timelines and you're having fun.


Unknown Speaker* [18]


2019 CapEx . You guys had to our greater lesser degree great marketing or CapEx to market as economic conditions of and then float and your service territory.

Are there any factors that could drive significant change in the range as you articulate for 2019 from here on out?

Or what I write in hearing that to the extent that you've got line of sight on the potential economic continued economic expansion that you're fairly confident that this range with the place but it would just add to the post 2019 CapEx?


Unknown Speaker* [19]


Greg, it's Brant.

Just a little bit of a two-part answer to that.

If we saw significant increase in economic and oil and gas activity , especially out in the Permian in our Stanton service territory, we could see an uptick in distribution CapEx and the 2019 time period.

But from a transmission perspective especially for larger projects that will require regulatory approval in a seat see and project just given where we stand today and a timeline associated with with those projects in the permit the are required to attend those will likely occur post 2019.


Unknown Speaker* [20]



And I don't know how much you can comment with regard to the statements made in the 13 D. Is it fair to assume that whether anything happened as a result to that review would be a function of the final rate decision and what it would be economic consequences that decisions are and we should think about any action before that point?


Unknown Speaker* [21]


Greg, this is David.

I think that it's obviously hunt's filing.

It's not InfraREIT's as they cited in their filing that there are evaluating scenarios that relate to a potential rate case outcomes or federal tax legislations.

I think you are not -- I can't the finally doesn't speak to it. But doesn't say dare valuing sinners related to those two factors both will which will unfold over time.


Unknown Speaker* [22]



And then, I guess you did you guys mention sorry I was distracted interns the outside date of potential settlement could potentially be or if you have traditionally what is sort of the delighted in a public utility of commission of Texas rate?

You know the Kate dose rate filing final settlement becomes less likely?


Unknown Speaker* [23]


There's been across different proceedings or examples of settlements all different times.

It is not typical to get the sediments before hearing.

But it's not universal to have them for hearing.

After hearing is when you get to the building phase and then you have an appeal date decision.

So it would be a reason to schedule for the start with the end of March.

I think March 27. But there's no set timeline.

If it revolver of decision would be made a ultimate PCT probably in the third quarter.


Unknown Speaker* [24]




Unknown Speaker* [25]


Thank you Greg.


Unknown Speaker* [26]


(Operator Instructions) Being no further questions this concludes our question and answer session I would like to conference back up to David Campbell for closing remarks.


Unknown Speaker* [27]


Thanks everyone for your interest in InfraREIT and have a great afternoon.


Unknown Speaker* [28]


The conference has now concluded.

Thank you for attending today's meeting.

You may now disconnect.

[ End of Transcript ]