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Edited Transcript of UGI earnings conference call or presentation 12-Nov-19 2:00pm GMT

Q4 2019 UGI Corp Earnings Call

KING OF PRUSSIA Nov 14, 2019 (Thomson StreetEvents) -- Edited Transcript of UGI Corp earnings conference call or presentation Tuesday, November 12, 2019 at 2:00:00pm GMT

TEXT version of Transcript

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Corporate Participants

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* Alanna Zahora

UGI Corporation - Manager of IR

* John Lawrence Walsh

UGI Corporation - President, CEO & Director

* Roger Perreault

UGI Corporation - Executive VP of Global LPG & President of UGI International

* Thaddeus J. Jastrzebski

UGI Corporation - CFO

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Conference Call Participants

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* Christopher Paul Sighinolfi

Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Master Limited Partnerships

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Presentation

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Operator [1]

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Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by, and welcome to the UGI Corporation Fiscal Year 2019 Earnings Call and Webcast. (Operator Instructions) Please be advised that today's conference is being recorded. (Operator Instructions)

I'd now like to hand the conference over to your speaker today, Alanna Zahora, Manager of Investor Relations. Please go ahead, ma'am.

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Alanna Zahora, UGI Corporation - Manager of IR [2]

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Thanks, James. Good morning, everyone, and thank you for joining us. With me today are Ted Jastrzebski, CFO of UGI Corporation; Roger Perreault, Executive Vice President of Global LPG; and John Walsh, President and CEO of UGI.

Before we begin, let me remind you that our comments today include certain forward-looking statements, which management believes to be reasonable as of today's date only, actual results may differ significantly because of risks and uncertainties that are difficult to predict. Please read our earnings release and our annual report on Form 10-K for an extensive list of factors that could affect results. We assume no duty to update or revise forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances that are different from its expectations. We'll also describe our business using certain non-GAAP financial measures. Reconciliations of these measures to the comparable GAAP measure are available in the appendix of our presentation.

Now let me turn the call over to John.

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John Lawrence Walsh, UGI Corporation - President, CEO & Director [3]

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Thanks, Alanna. Good morning, and welcome to our call. I hope you've all had a chance to review our press release reporting UGI's full year results. I'll comment briefly on major achievements over the course of fiscal '19 and then turn it over to Ted, who will provide more detail on UGI's financial performance. Roger Perreault, our Executive VP of Global LPG, will provide an overview of the significant efficiency initiatives underway at AmeriGas and UGI International. I'll then conclude by reviewing our fiscal '20 guidance and progress on our strategic projects.

We reported full year fiscal '19 GAAP EPS of $1.41, while our adjusted EPS was $2.28. Our adjusted EPS was roughly 17% below our fiscal '18 record adjusted EPS of $2.74 but includes dilution and a fourth quarter seasonal loss associated with our recent acquisitions. Excluding the acquisition impact, our business delivered $2.36 EPS, and this represents the second highest adjusted EPS in UGI's history. Both years have been adjusted for the mark-to-market valuation of unsettled hedges and costs associated with the strategic efficiency programs at AmeriGas and UGI International. Ted and Roger will provide more detail on this later in the call.

The results delivered in fiscal '19 were impacted by a number of factors, with the most significant being very warm weather in Europe and the dampening of pipeline capacity values over the course of the winter. Our teams responded well to these significant challenges, and we delivered a solid year in the face of those key factors. Our fiscal '20 guidance range of $2.60 to $2.90 assumes return to normal weather across our service territories and some incremental improvement in pipeline capacity values. Ted and I will provide further details on our guidance later in the call.

We were extremely pleased with the progress made in fiscal '19 on our primary strategic initiatives. The fourth quarter was particularly noteworthy as we closed 2 of the most significant transactions in UGI's history. The AmeriGas transaction concluded on August 21, with approximately 93% of the votes cast in favor of the transaction. We're very pleased to start fiscal '20 with AmeriGas as a wholly owned UGI entity. We'll use the enhanced cash flow from AmeriGas to pay down some of its debt and to help fund the major capital investment in our natural gas businesses over the next decade. The simplified structure will help drive operational efficiencies across our LPG businesses, which we see as a major opportunity to deliver enhanced performance over the next few years. Roger will be commenting on this program later in the call.

Our acquisition of the Columbia Midstream Group from TC Energy also closed in August. The 5 Columbia asset networks we acquired have significantly expanded the breadth and scale of our Midstream activities in the Marcellus. We saw strong throughput across these networks in August through October, and we're confident that we'll be executing a range of expansion projects on those 5 systems over the next 3 to 5 years.

In addition to the AmeriGas and Columbia transactions, we continue to focus on executing critical elements of our long-term strategy that will provide the foundation for growth over the next decade. Our Auburn IV expansion project, which increases capacity on the Auburn system by 150,000 dekatherm a day or about 30% was completed in November on time and on budget. This $50 million investment on our largest northeast Marcellus system is supported by a 10-year take-or-pay contract. As other northeast takeaway options from the Marcellus are delayed, we see increasing demand for pipeline capacity on our existing systems.

Our Utilities team had an extremely productive year. We filed our first combined gas utilities rate case, and successfully concluded the case with an approved settlement that provided a $30 million rate increase that went into effect in October. Our Utilities team deployed a record $355 million of capital in fiscal '19 as we added new customers, replaced gas distribution infrastructure and upgraded our critical systems. The outlook for continued capital investment across our Utilities remains strong.

AmeriGas continues to have great success with its ACE and National Accounts programs. In both cases, AmeriGas distinguishes itself by providing exceptional service levels to these key customer groups. Fiscal '19 was another year of strong growth with ACE volumes up 8% and National Accounts volumes up about 6%. We continue to add new accounts in both programs based on our national coverage, 24/7 support and delivery of value-added technologies, such as our second-generation vending solution for our largest cylinder exchange customers.

Our international team performed well despite persistent warm and dry weather. The team integrated 4 LPG tuck-in acquisitions in Belgium, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom. Early in fiscal '19, the international business refinanced their entire debt portfolio and issued senior notes for the first time. Roger will comment on some exciting new initiatives underway at the international business in a few moments.

While fiscal '19 was an exceptionally dynamic year for us, we also maintained our commitment to excel in the most critical activities we undertake: safety, customer service and operational efficiency.

I'll return to comment on our fiscal '20 outlook and our strategic initiatives, but I'd like to turn it over to Ted at this point for the financial review. Ted?

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Thaddeus J. Jastrzebski, UGI Corporation - CFO [4]

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Thanks, John. As John mentioned, our fiscal 2019 acquisition adjusted earnings per share of $2.36 are the second highest in UGI's history. The difference between our reported adjusted EPS of $2.28 and the $2.36 figure that you've heard us refer to, the $0.08 delta, can be broken down into 2 parts: the seasonal loss from the AmeriGas operations related to the timing of the transaction and the dilution impact. First, there are the $0.03 -- there was a $0.03 impact related to AmeriGas' operations and incremental interest from financing this deal. This came in below our $0.05 forecast. The remaining $0.05 are attributable to dilution.

Our reportable segment EBIT was $978 million this year compared to $1.08 billion last year. Largely as a result of the AmeriGas merger and CMG acquisitions and for consistency across the businesses, UGI is shifting our profitability reporting metric to EBIT. You will see this change reflected in our future reporting.

This table lays out our GAAP and adjusted earnings per share for fiscal '19 compared to fiscal '18. As you can see, our adjusted earnings exclude a number of items such as the impact of mark-to-market changes in commodity hedging instruments, a loss of $0.82 this year versus a gain of $0.39 last year. In fiscal '19, we had $0.13 of unrealized gains on our foreign currency derivative instruments versus a gain of $0.11 last year. Lastly, you will see transformation costs at our LPG businesses that we'll discuss in detail later on the call.

Using acquisition adjusted earnings as a base, adjusted earnings per share decreased $0.38 versus last year. Our domestic businesses experienced relatively normal weather, but our international businesses faced warm and dry weather conditions, dating back to the summer of 2018. The largest year-over-year decrease occurred at our Midstream & Marketing business, where the lack of sustained cold weather and increased pipeline restrictions impacted our capacity management business. Moving forward, we expect the return of some pipeline capacity volatility in our recently expanded service territory, but at levels below those experienced over the past few years. To give you an idea of magnitude, during fiscal '16 through fiscal '18, the capacity management business delivered roughly $50 million per year in margin. We're expecting roughly 1/4 of that margin moving forward.

Turning first to the LPG side of the business, AmeriGas reported adjusted EBITDA of $580 million versus $606 million in fiscal '18 or EBIT of $404 million compared to $422 million last year. As we've previously disclosed, this result was driven largely by lower-than-anticipated base volumes, unfavorable regional weather patterns during the second quarter of the year and approximately $15 million of unusual expenses related to accruals for litigation and an adjustment to lease expenses associated with prior years recorded during Q3. The enhanced leadership structure we put in place last fall for our LPG businesses, along with the 120-day strategic review that resulted in the buy-in of AmeriGas also led to an additional focus on technology to help us drive efficiency and enhanced customer service in our LPG businesses.

Roger will speak to this in more detail in a few moments, but with the buy-in behind us, we're in a position to make a series of investments at AmeriGas that'll provide consistent and sustained cost savings and operating efficiencies. We expect these investments to enable improved customer retention and growth through significant enhancements in AmeriGas' customer-facing capabilities. These actions will return AmeriGas to a more consistent EBITDA growth trajectory. The full impact of this program will provide a permanent benefit by the end of fiscal '22 when we expect AmeriGas EBITDA to grow to the range of $630 million to $650 million. We will keep you updated on specifics in coming quarters, but you'll see non-GAAP adjustments called LPG business transformation costs as we invest to transform the business in FY '20 and FY '21. We're excited about the opportunity to invest in AmeriGas, implement these projects, enhance our business, provide best-in-class customer service and increase both earnings and cash flow, which is very important to us as AmeriGas is a major contributor to the UGI cash flow engine we often talk to you about.

UGI International achieved EBIT of $234 million compared to $240 million in fiscal '18. As mentioned throughout our earnings calls in fiscal 2019, the international business experienced persistent warm and dry weather that impacted our crop drying business in the fall and the bulk business throughout the winter. The team remained focused on profitability in this challenging year and did a great job of managing margins and operating expenses. I should point out that the line items on this slide includes sizable impacts related to the translation effects of a weaker euro and pound sterling. We hedge our FX exposure to minimize this impact, which is reflected in other income.

Earlier in the year, the international team refinanced their entire debt portfolio, including the issuance of EUR 350 million of senior notes for the first time at the highly favorable interest rate of 3.25%. Lastly, like AmeriGas, the international team has also been focused on operational efficiencies. After the successful integration of the Finagaz acquisition, the team started the process of centralizing certain functions and incorporating new technology to ensure greater customer service and profitability. Roger will comment more on this in a moment.

Turning to the natural gas side of the house, Midstream & Marketing reported EBIT of $114 million, a decrease of $65 million compared to 2018. Total margin decreased $56 million versus 2018 due to lower margin from Midstream assets and lower total commodity margin. The bulk of the decrease in total margin versus last year was attributable to the unfavorable impact of lower capacity values and pipeline restrictions on capacity management margin. We saw a year-over-year increase of $6.7 million in operating expenses due to new natural gas gathering assets coming online in fiscal 2019 and incremental expenses associated with the CMG acquisition. Depreciation and amortization expenses increased $7.9 million due to incremental depreciation from the expansion of our natural gas gathering assets, including CMG as well as our peaking and LNG assets. Additionally, we saw incremental equity income from our joint venture on the newly acquired Pennant System, which was part of the CMG acquisition. Lastly, we're pleased by the early results from the CMG assets. As John mentioned, we're seeing strong throughput on the system and are confident that we can execute on the expansion projects at attractive CapEx multiples of 5 to 7x.

UGI Utilities reported EBIT of $226 million for 2019, a $12 million decrease over last year. Core market throughput was flat to prior year on weather that was 3% warmer. Some of this impact was offset by customer additions and higher use per customer. Margin was down slightly compared to prior year. However, excluding the effects of the TCJA in both periods, margin increased $8 million versus fiscal '18. OpEx was up $2.1 million as a result of higher contractor costs, IT, maintenance and consulting expenses. Depreciation and amortization increased $8.2 million due to increased distribution system and IT capital expenditures. Our Utilities team continues to execute on our robust capital plan, and we expect to invest approximately $1.8 billion in the rate base over the next 4 years. Additionally, the new rates associated with a $30 million rate increase and our first combined rate case went into effect in October. I'd like to thank our teams for all of their hard work and execution in 2019.

As John mentioned, our FY '20 guidance range is $2.60 to $2.90. This assumption -- sorry, this assumes normal weather in our service territories. In 2020, we'll see the impact from the rate case at Utilities and a more modest impact from cost saving and efficiency measures at our LPG businesses and the incremental margin from the CMG acquisition. However, we'll really start to see significant impacts from these investments, particularly the cost saving and operational efficiencies at our LPG businesses and the second order investments between $300 million and $500 million at CMG in fiscal 2021 and beyond.

I also wanted to take a moment to talk about how the AmeriGas merger transaction will impact our quarterly earnings in fiscal '20 and beyond. Due to the seasonality of the LPG businesses, they generate over 100% of their expected earnings during the heating season and have negative quarters in the summer months, the timing of our quarterly results will be impacted. As you can see in this chart, historically, 95% of UGI's adjusted EPS was earned in the first half of the year and the remaining 5% came in the second half. With AmeriGas fully integrated, that ratio will change. We now expect to generate roughly 110% of our yearly expected adjusted EPS in the first half of the year and slowly drift down towards 100% in the summer months. As we've mentioned in previous presentations, we'll be allocating a larger portion of our CapEx to the natural gas businesses in the coming years. This will slowly reverse the impact laid out on this slide. I should point out that earnings from the CMG assets are included in these integrated figures and moderate a portion of this impact. CMG generates earnings much more evenly throughout the year.

2019 was a busy year for UGI, a year that included taking out long-term debt at Energy Services and at the holdco level for the first time. We mentioned on the AmeriGas merger call that we expect to use a portion of the enhanced cash profile, roughly $100 million per year, to lower their leverage to the range of 4x to 4.25x. As you know, we took on debt to fund a portion of both the AmeriGas and CMG acquisitions. We've always made prudent use of leverage in financing investments like these transactions. We're confident in the strategic benefits that will result from these transactions, and we're pleased that our improved cash generation profile provides us with the flexibility to reduce leverage over time, while remaining in good position to consider strategic investments as opportunities arise. UGI remains well positioned to build our -- on our foundation and meet our commitments to shareholders.

With that, I will turn the call over to Roger for a review of some of our initiatives at AmeriGas and UGI International. Roger?

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Roger Perreault, UGI Corporation - Executive VP of Global LPG & President of UGI International [5]

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Thanks, Ted. Driving operational efficiencies across our LPG businesses is an important component of our global LPG strategy for the next few years. As Ted mentioned, we are implementing strategic and sustainable measures that will increase profitability and deliver a better customer experience. Some of these measures are already underway at our international business, and the Amerigas transaction will enable us to redeploy some of the cash generated into several key investment opportunities that will generate substantial savings and efficiencies.

Let's start with AmeriGas. We have identified over $120 million of permanent operational efficiencies that will be delivered through accelerated investment in: customer digital experience, customer relationship management, operations process redesign and specialization, distribution and routing automation, sales effectiveness, procurement and G&A and lastly, supply and logistics. You have heard us talk about some of these enhancements like distribution efficiencies in the past. These initiatives, which will be fully implemented over the next 24 months, significantly accelerate the pace and scale of the technology investments we have been deploying over the past several years. We expect the run rate benefits of these investments to be completely realized by the end of fiscal 2022. We will spend approximately $175 million in capital and transition cost in fiscal year '20 and fiscal year '21, of which approximately 55% to 60% will be attributable to CapEx. We expect to see modest P&L benefits in the fiscal year '20, roughly $30 million, and then begin to see more significant benefits build in fiscal year '21 and onward. We are earmarking a portion of the benefits achieved from these initiatives to be reinvested to the -- in the business to take proactive approach to customer retention and growth, including reducing certain base business unit margins as a result of our lower cost structure. We are confident that these investments will position AmeriGas to be the best-in-class propane distribution company in terms of efficient and safe operations, competitiveness and customer focus.

Similar initiatives are underway at our international business as we have started to centralize back-office functions at UGI International. After the successful integration of the Finagaz acquisition, we've embarked on a process of identifying synergies across all 17 countries in which we operate across Europe, with the goal of centralizing certain enabling functions and directing our operating teams to focus their attention on customer service and safe operations through the establishment of 2 centers of excellence. One will be focused on commercial excellence to identify and execute projects to continuously improve our customer experience, and the other will be focused on operational excellence across our distribution network and filling plants. This effort will generate over EUR 30 million or roughly $33 million of permanent annual savings. We expect to see more than EUR 5 million of the EUR 30 million benefit this year and the full benefit will be realized by the end of fiscal '22. The cost to implement is roughly EUR 55 million, of which approximately 35% to 40% will be attributable to CapEx. The majority of the spend will occur over the next 24 months. These critical efficiency-focused initiatives are being centrally led under our global LPG structure that we announced in September of 2018. This will also provide a more effective platform for the best practice sharing and implementation across our domestic and international LPG businesses. We are confident that with these important transformational initiatives at AmeriGas and UGI International, we will position our global LPG companies to be leaders at serving our customers with digital tools to provide a superior customer experience. We will drive efficiencies and cost control to enable continued solid margins and cost competitiveness in the markets in which we operate. These efforts will contribute to reducing volatility based on weather for the coming years. We will also better position both our North American and European businesses for continued growth via acquisitions and execution of identified synergies.

Now I'll turn it over to John for the closing statements.

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John Lawrence Walsh, UGI Corporation - President, CEO & Director [6]

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Thanks, Roger. Our guidance for fiscal '20 of $2.60 to $2.90 assumes normal weather and the return of some pipeline capacity volatility in our service territories. As was the case in fiscal '19, we're using 15-year normal weather as the basis for our guidance. The midpoint of our fiscal '20 guidance represents a 17% increase in EPS over our acquisition adjusted fiscal '19 performance of $2.36.

Following the solid fiscal year '19 performance in a challenging environment and bolstered by the 2 key transactions in the last quarter, we enter the new fiscal year in a very strong position. The AmeriGas and Columbia transactions provide a strong foundation for accelerated cash generation and earnings growth over the next 3 to 5 years. Consistent with when we announced each transaction, we expect AmeriGas to be accretive in fiscal '20 and CMG to be basically neutral. Together, we expect the transactions to deliver roughly $0.05 of accretion this year, the majority of that coming from the AmeriGas merger, but both acquisitions will be highly cash positive. As we move into fiscal '21 and beyond, we expect continuing strong cash flows along with positive EPS contributions that become quite meaningful over time.

As Roger just described, we're excited about the opportunity to significantly improve the efficiency of our LPG distribution businesses, both in the U.S. and Europe. We're confident that the work underway will position AmeriGas and UGI International for very strong long-term performance. The investment and transition expenses for restructuring and capital for deployment of new technologies will result in a significant reduction in our ongoing operating expenses and enhance customer service and support. We'll keep you apprised of our progress over the course of the year. As Roger noted, we'll see modest contribution to earnings from these programs in fiscal '20, a more significant benefit in fiscal '21, and we'll deliver full ongoing benefits for both AmeriGas and UGI International in fiscal '22 and beyond.

As we look across our natural gas businesses, UGI is particularly well positioned to thrive in today's dynamic environment. All sector participants are impacted by changing commodity values, ramping natural gas demand and production, local challenges related to executing infrastructure projects and uncertainty with regard to federal, regional and state energy policies and legislation. Our diversified set of energy distribution businesses will provide us with an attractive range of investment opportunities as these various factors play out over the next decade.

One specific example of the benefits of diversification is in our Midstream business. Over the past 2 to 3 years, the industry has seen major changes in the time frame for placement of new natural gas infrastructure with multiple projects deferred or postponed. This has been particularly true in the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast regions. One of the many projects impacted is PennEast. Despite recent challenges, the partner companies remain fully committed to the project and the affordable, reliable service it will bring to residents and businesses in Pennsylvania and New Jersey. The deferral or cancellation of infrastructure projects that would have delivered incremental new capacity to the Eastern Mid-Atlantic or northeast presents challenges for LDCs and other nat gas distributors who are experiencing consistent demand growth. This change in our operating environment has created a range of new opportunities for UGI that we wouldn't have foreseen 3 or 4 years ago. These include: our $50 million Auburn IV expansion project that I referenced earlier, this project was specifically enabled by the lack of alternative takeaway options in Northeast Pennsylvania as other projects were deferred or canceled. The continued build-out of our LNG network with the most recent example being our LNG storage and vaporization facility under construction in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Our LNG network is proving to be vital to filling the gap between available pipeline capacity and peak day natural gas demand. We see the value of this network increasing due to the constraints around addition of new pipeline capacity. The high level of interest in expansion projects on several of the newly acquired Columbia systems. These systems are well positioned to efficiently add incremental capacity within a manageable time frame. This is particularly appealing to producers attempting to address some of the current uncertainties related to market access.

As these projects demonstrate, UGI is very well positioned to perform in the current market environment. In addition to those examples, we can also point to a significant portfolio of capital investment opportunities with a high degree of certainty in terms of both scale and timing of the capital spend. Our team at Utilities continues to see strong natural gas demand across its entire service territory, and this demand intensity is reflected in our outlook for capital spending. Following our record CapEx investment of $355 million in fiscal '19, we expect total CapEx investment at Utilities over the next 4 years to exceed $1.8 billion. Our team at Utilities has done an exceptional job of achieving this step change in project execution while maintaining a strong focus on safety, very high levels of customer service and maintaining affordable rates for our customers.

AmeriGas expects to deploy significant capital in its cylinder exchange business, ACE, to support underlying growth and strong customer pull for its second-generation vending solution. We are the clear innovation leader, delivering a technology solution preferred by our retail partners, and that appeals to our customers. Our Midstream team remains very active on new gathering projects in the Eastern Marcellus. We're executing a range of projects related to the Texas Creek and Marshlands investments we made over the past 2 years. We expect to invest approximately $50 million in the Eastern Marcellus in fiscal '20 with very attractive returns.

We've entered the new fiscal year in a strong position with a broader portfolio of new investment opportunities and enhanced cash flows following the AmeriGas and Columbia Midstream transactions. We're in an excellent position to execute our growth strategy and expect our free cash flow and earnings over the next 3 to 5 years to benefit from the LPG efficiency programs that Roger described earlier and the range of growth projects currently in execution or under development.

Let's take a look at how this translates into business growth over the next few years. We created this slide for our Investor Day back in December. As you can see, from fiscal '20 to '23, we expect that both our LPG and our natural gas businesses will grow at or above the high end of our stated 6% to 10% earnings target. LPG has a CAGR of approximately 10% to 12%, while the natural gas side of the house has a CAGR of approximately 11% to 13% through fiscal '23. We expect steady growth over the next few years as projects and initiatives contribute consistently to earnings across the budget and plan period.

In addition to funding our growth projects, we also remain very committed to growing our dividend. With the 2 dividend increases in fiscal '19, our CAGR for dividend growth over the past decade is 9.4%. 2019 was also a milestone year for us as UGI has now paid a dividend for 135 consecutive years. We obviously take this commitment seriously. I can say with confidence that we're in an outstanding position to deliver on our commitments for future earnings growth. We're looking forward to keeping you updated on our progress throughout the year.

With that, I'll turn the call back over to James, who will open it up for your questions. James?

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Questions and Answers

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Operator [1]

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(Operator Instructions) Your first question comes from the line of Chris Sighinolfi from Jefferies.

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Christopher Paul Sighinolfi, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Master Limited Partnerships [2]

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I just want to start with your guidance, if I could. I appreciate the information contained in the slides and Roger's explanation of some of the efficiency-focused investments you're making. I see $175 million at APU and EUR 55 million internationally over a couple of years. Roger also gave a breakdown of the delta -- or the breakdown between CapEx and OpEx treatment there. I'm just curious, you've noted that you're going to exclude these costs from your adjusted numbers or it's excluded from your guidance, I'm wondering just if you could quantify how much is excluded from fiscal '20, just so we can calibrate that.

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Roger Perreault, UGI Corporation - Executive VP of Global LPG & President of UGI International [3]

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Yes, Chris, this is Roger talking. So the way I would think about it is the OpEx numbers are the ones that would be adjusted in fiscal '20. So we are expecting the rollout of these efficiency plans to be really this year and up through '22, so over the course of 2 years. And if you just break that out and look at the OpEx number, that's what I would adjust out.

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Christopher Paul Sighinolfi, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Master Limited Partnerships [4]

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And would you just break the numbers roughly in half, Roger, or do you front-end weight those in any way?

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Roger Perreault, UGI Corporation - Executive VP of Global LPG & President of UGI International [5]

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Yes. It would be pretty close to half and half, a little bit front-end loaded, I would say, this year.

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Christopher Paul Sighinolfi, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Master Limited Partnerships [6]

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Okay. And then I guess the logic around excluding them -- like, I understand when you guys have acquired businesses, and we've had some sort of transitional costs, so we've had some labor workouts like we saw with Finagaz. Those are costs that came with a specific action, I guess, the idea around adjusting out investment costs here. Can you just walk me through that?

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John Lawrence Walsh, UGI Corporation - President, CEO & Director [7]

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Yes. I think -- Chris, this is John. I think the logic is this is a major sort of transformation program that we think is fundamental to sort of long-term strong performance for AmeriGas and UGI International. And we wanted to make sure for investors and others that it was clear kind of what we were investing and also what the deliverables were, and the fact that these are -- particularly the operating expenses associated with this are onetime nonrecurring charges. So we wanted to make sure we had clarity around the underlying performance of the business rather than have that mixed with onetime cost associated with reducing our cost base. So that's the logic. And just the scale of it is significant and strategically important to the company.

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Christopher Paul Sighinolfi, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Master Limited Partnerships [8]

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Okay. And John, you had noted, I think, in previous slide presentations, a plan to invest roughly $900 million in total CapEx across the business in fiscal '20. I didn't see that number featured in today's presentation. You've mentioned some of the long-range plans for the Utilities, and obviously, we know these investments at the LPG business. But does that $900 million range still hold as a good expectation for the coming year?

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John Lawrence Walsh, UGI Corporation - President, CEO & Director [9]

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The $900 million is a good estimate -- rough estimate for the core business. The investment we make, which we'll highlight in the restructuring or transformation programs, would be in addition to that.

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Christopher Paul Sighinolfi, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Master Limited Partnerships [10]

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Okay. So there are additional capital. And then the Texas Creek and Marshlands, just some expansions you noted on Slide 18, was that already embedded in the $900 million? Or is that...

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John Lawrence Walsh, UGI Corporation - President, CEO & Director [11]

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That was -- yes, that's embedded as ongoing. Those are just incremental investments and growth opportunities that would have -- was captured in that $900 million.

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Thaddeus J. Jastrzebski, UGI Corporation - CFO [12]

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As were the investments we're going to be making in CMG over the next few years.

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Christopher Paul Sighinolfi, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Master Limited Partnerships [13]

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Right. Okay. So really, the only additional items are some of the investments in the efficiency programs that Roger outlined?

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John Lawrence Walsh, UGI Corporation - President, CEO & Director [14]

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Right. Yes.

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Christopher Paul Sighinolfi, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Master Limited Partnerships [15]

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Okay. Okay. And then a final question for me and then I'll hop back in the queue, it's just to help calibrate. With regard to the fourth quarter, fourth fiscal quarter, Ted, I'm just wondering how much AFUDC did you book on PennEast. And what do you expect for 2020 just given the challenges? And then for CMG, if you could give us sort of a rough breakdown of how much it contributed in Q4 and what the profile looks like for fiscal '20?

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Thaddeus J. Jastrzebski, UGI Corporation - CFO [16]

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Yes. So let me start with the CMG, while we find these numbers on the AFUDC. So CMG was roughly breakeven in Q4. What we saw in increased operational gains, very roughly $11 million was offset with interest expenses in Q4. We expect it to be a little bit north of neutral in 2020 CMG in terms of accretion to EPS.

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Christopher Paul Sighinolfi, Jefferies LLC, Research Division - Senior Equity Research Analyst, Master Limited Partnerships [17]

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Okay. And is that a somewhat stable profile? I mean you mentioned it provides some stability to counterbalance the seasonality of the AmeriGas business, but is that something you see as a gradually positively sloping line? Or are there periods in the year where, based on producer discussions, you're expecting some sort of outsized movement?

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Thaddeus J. Jastrzebski, UGI Corporation - CFO [18]

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So it fairly closely mirrors kind of our pre-AmeriGas buy-in line over the years. So -- and it slightly levels it out. But I mean, slightly, a couple of percentage points in kind of the high end of the year and a couple of percentage points on the low end. So it slightly moderates the impact we see as AmeriGas comes into the picture in terms of how the line changes quarter-to-quarter over the next year.

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John Lawrence Walsh, UGI Corporation - President, CEO & Director [19]

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And just one additional comment on CMG. What we have -- we've got a solid underpinning of take-or-pay and minimum volume commitments, the equivalent of take-or-pay that covers roughly 2/3 or 70% of the margin. So the underlying margin is solid. What we also have, if you look across the 5 systems, we have a combination of available capacity on certain systems and we have other systems that are at or near capacity. So depending on what happens in the broader market and with commodity values and individual producer plans, we have the upside of potentially adding incremental volumes during the year because we have some available capacity. And then on other systems, where we're -- we've got acreage dedicated to us and we're at or near system capacity, we're very hopeful that we'll have, as we noted, expansion projects to announce. So we've got a nice sort of foundation underwritten by a pretty broad range of contracts with a long tenure and then some upside as the market evolves.

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Thaddeus J. Jastrzebski, UGI Corporation - CFO [20]

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Chris, on the AFUDC, we will follow up with you on that. I just want to make sure we have the exact correct numbers.

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Operator [21]

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And there are no further questions at this time. I'd like to turn the call back over to our presenters for some closing remarks.

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John Lawrence Walsh, UGI Corporation - President, CEO & Director [22]

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Okay. Thanks very much for your time and attention this morning. We'll keep you abreast as fiscal year '20 moves on. I look forward to speaking with you as a group on the next call, but also speaking to many of you in the interim. Take care.

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Operator [23]

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This concludes today's conference call. We thank for your participation. You may now disconnect.