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New Jersey Resources Reports Fourth-Quarter and Fiscal 2021 Results

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  • NJR

Affirms Fiscal 2022 Guidance and Updates Long-Term Projected Growth Rate

WALL, N.J., November 18, 2021--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, New Jersey Resources Corporation (NYSE: NJR) reported results for the fourth-quarter and fiscal 2021. Highlights include:

  • Consolidated net income of $117.9 million for fiscal 2021 compared with $163.0 million in fiscal 2020

  • Consolidated net financial earnings (NFE), a non-GAAP financial measure of $207.7 million for fiscal 2021, or $2.16 per share, compared with NFE of $165.3 million, or $1.74 per share, in fiscal 2020

  • Affirmed fiscal 2022 net financial earnings per share (NFEPS) guidance range of $2.20 to $2.30 and narrowed long-term projected NFEPS growth rate to 7 to 9 percent, from previous range of 6 to 10 percent

  • Increased annual dividend by nine percent to $1.45 per share

  • New Jersey Natural Gas (NJNG) received approval from the BPU on the settlement of its rate case authorizing a $79.0 million increase to its base rates

  • The Southern Reliability Link (SRL) was placed in service in fiscal 2021

  • NJNG's Hydrogen project was completed and began producing green hydrogen in October 2021

Fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 net (loss)/income totaled $(1.1) million, or $(0.01) per share, compared with $32.7 million, or $0.34 per share, during the same period in fiscal 2020. Fiscal 2021 net income totaled $117.9 million, or $1.23 per share, compared with $163.0 million, or $1.72 per share, for fiscal 2020.

Fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 NFE totaled $6.6 million, or $0.07 per share, compared to NFE of $43.4 million, or $0.45 per share, during the same period in fiscal 2020. Fiscal 2021 NFE totaled $207.7 million, or $2.16 per share, compared with $165.3 million, or $1.74 per share, for fiscal 2020. The difference between GAAP earnings and NFE is due primarily to a $92.0 million impairment ($74.5 million after considering the related tax effects) of NJR's investment in the PennEast Project, which is excluded from NFE.

"Fiscal 2021 results exceeded the expectations we laid out at our Analyst Day last November, " said Steve Westhoven, President and CEO of NJR. "Strong execution against our plan positions our diversified portfolio of infrastructure assets for long-term growth, creating value for shareowners and meeting the needs of our customers."

Key Performance Metrics

Three Months Ended

Twelve Months Ended

September 30,

September 30,

($ in Thousands)

2021

2020

2021

2020

Net income

$

(1,133

)

$

32,707

$

117,890

$

163,007

Basic EPS

$

(0.01

)

$

0.34

$

1.23

$

1.72

Net financial earnings

$

6,599

$

43,429

$

207,712

$

165,333

Basic net financial earnings per share

$

0.07

$

0.45

$

2.16

$

1.74

Effective October 1, 2020, NJR changed its method of accounting for Investment Tax Credits (ITCs) from the flow through method to the deferral method. Our historical financial reporting presented herein has been retrospectively revised to apply this change. For additional details, please refer to our Form 10-K.

A reconciliation of net income to NFE for the three and twelve months ended September 30, 2021, and 2020, is provided below.

Three Months Ended

Twelve Months Ended

September 30, 2021

September 30,

(Thousands)

2021

2020

2021

2020

Net income

$

(1,133

)

$

32,707

$

117,890

$

163,007

Add:

Unrealized loss (gain) on derivative instruments and related transactions

40,576

12,183

54,203

(9,644

)

Tax effect

(9,647

)

(2,893

)

(12,887

)

2,296

Effects of economic hedging related to natural gas inventory

(30,150

)

2,216

(42,405

)

12,690

Tax effect

7,166

(527

)

10,078

(3,016

)

Impairment of equity method investment

92,000

Tax effect

767

(11,167

)

Net income to NFE tax adjustment

(980

)

(257

)

Net financial earnings (loss)

$

6,599

$

43,429

$

207,712

$

165,333

Weighted Average Shares Outstanding

Basic

96,198

95,764

96,227

94,798

Diluted

96,198

95,764

96,560

95,103

Basic earnings (loss) per share

$

(0.01

)

$

0.34

$

1.23

$

1.72

Add:

Unrealized loss (gain) on derivative instruments and related transactions

0.42

0.13

0.56

(0.10

)

Tax effect

(0.10

)

(0.03

)

(0.13

)

0.02

Effects of economic hedging related to natural gas inventory

(0.31

)

0.02

(0.44

)

0.13

Tax effect

0.07

(0.01

)

0.10

(0.03

)

Impairment of equity method investment

0.96

Tax effect

0.01

(0.12

)

Net income to NFE tax adjustment

(0.01

)

Basic net financial earnings (loss) per share

$

0.07

$

0.45

$

2.16

$

1.74

NFE is a measure of earnings based on the elimination of timing differences to effectively match the earnings effects of the economic hedges with the physical sale of natural gas, SRECs and foreign currency contracts. Consequently, to reconcile net income and NFE, current-period unrealized gains and losses on the derivatives are excluded from NFE as a reconciling item. Realized derivative gains and losses are also included in current-period net income. However, NFE includes only realized gains and losses related to natural gas sold out of inventory, effectively matching the full earnings effects of the derivatives with realized margins on physical natural gas flows. NFE also excludes impairment charges associated with equity method investments, which are non-cash charges considered unusual in nature that occur infrequently and are not indicative of the Company's performance for its ongoing operations. Included in the tax effects are current and deferred income tax expense corresponding with the components of NFE.

A table detailing NFE for the three and twelve months ended September 30, 2021, and 2020, is provided below.

Net Financial Earnings (Loss) by Business Unit

Three Months Ended

Twelve Months Ended

September 30,

September 30,

(Thousands)

2021

2020

2021

2020

New Jersey Natural Gas

$

(24,214

)

$

(15,258

)

$

107,375

$

126,902

Clean Energy Ventures

40,861

44,805

16,789

22,111

Storage and Transportation

2,440

7,434

13,046

18,311

Energy Services

(14,384

)

1,381

71,117

(7,873

)

Home Services and Other

(1,127

)

5,109

(826

)

5,784

Subtotal

3,576

43,471

207,501

165,235

Eliminations

3,023

(42

)

211

98

Total

$

6,599

$

43,429

$

207,712

$

165,333

Fiscal 2022 NFE Guidance:

NJR reaffirmed fiscal 2022 NFE guidance of $2.20 to $2.30 per share and, as a result of the progress on our major infrastructure projects, narrowed the expected long-term NFEPS growth range to 7 to 9 percent, from the previous range of 6 to 10 percent, subject to the risk and uncertainties identified below under "Forward-Looking Statements." The following chart represents NJR’s current expected contributions from its subsidiaries for fiscal 2022:

Company

Expected Fiscal 2022
Net Financial Earnings
Contribution

New Jersey Natural Gas

60 to 65 percent

Clean Energy Ventures

20 to 23 percent

Storage and Transportation

5 to 10 percent

Energy Services1

9 to 11 percent

Home Services and Other

0 to 1 percent

1. Assumes NFEPS contributions from Asset Management Agreements only

In providing fiscal 2022 NFE guidance and narrowing our expected long-term NFEPS growth range, management is aware there could be differences between reported GAAP earnings and NFE due to matters such as, but not limited to, the positions of our energy-related derivatives. Management is not able to reasonably estimate the aggregate impact or significance of these items on reported earnings and, therefore, is not able to provide a reconciliation to the corresponding GAAP equivalent for its operating earnings guidance without unreasonable efforts.

New Jersey Natural Gas

NJNG reported fiscal 2021 NFE of $107.4 million, compared to NFE of $126.9 million during fiscal 2020. Fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 net financial loss was $24.2 million, compared to net financial loss of $15.3 million during the same period in fiscal 2020. The decrease for both periods was due to higher O&M expenses primarily related to increased bad debt.

Customer Growth:

  • NJNG added 7,854 new customers during fiscal 2021, compared with 8,349 in fiscal 2020. The lower customer growth was due primarily to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. NJNG expects to return to a more typical customer growth rate of 1.7% in fiscal 2022.

Base Rate Filing:

  • On November 17, 2021, NJNG received approval from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities on its rate case settlement agreement and new rates will be effective on December 1, 2021. Under the approved rate case agreement, NJNG's total annual revenue is expected to increase by $79.0 million. The rate case agreement includes a return on equity of 9.60% with a 54.0% common equity ratio and reflects a rate base of$2.52 billion with an overall rate of return of 6.84%.

Infrastructure Update:

  • The Southern Reliability Link diversifies supply to our customers by providing a new intrastate feed into the southern end of NJNG’s distribution system. Construction was completed and the project was placed in service in August 2021. The recovery of our investment in this project was included in the recently settled rate case.

  • NJNG's Infrastructure Investment Program (IIP) is a five-year, $150 million accelerated recovery program that began in fiscal 2021 and consists of a series of infrastructure projects designed to enhance the safety and reliability of NJNG's natural gas distribution system. In fiscal 2021, NJNG spent $9.4 million under the program to begin work on various distribution system reinforcement projects.

  • The Howell Green Hydrogen Project delivers hydrogen through NJNG's utility distribution pipeline to heat customers' homes and businesses and began commercial operation in October 2021. The recovery of investment in this project was included in the recently settled rate case.

BGSS Incentive Programs:

BGSS incentive programs contributed $13.4 million to utility gross margin, compared with $9.5 million during fiscal 2020. The higher results for fiscal 2021 were due to improved margins in off-system sales and storage incentives compared to fiscal 2020.

For more information on utility gross margin, please see "Non-GAAP Financial Information" at the end of the press release.

Energy-Efficiency Programs:

On July 1, 2021, NJNG's new three-year, $259 million SAVEGREEN program became effective. SAVEGREEN invested $31.0 million during fiscal 2021 to help customers with energy-efficiency upgrades for their homes and businesses. NJNG recovered $12.4 million of its outstanding investments during fiscal 2021.

Clean Energy Ventures (CEV)

CEV reported fiscal 2021 NFE of $16.8 million, compared with NFE of $22.1 million during fiscal 2020. Fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 NFE was $40.9 million, compared with NFE of $44.8 million during the same period in fiscal 2020. The decrease in NFE for both periods was due primarily to lower SREC revenue, partially offset by lower depreciation expense. The decrease in depreciation expense is due to an increase in the useful life of CEV's assets.

Storage and Transportation

Storage and Transportation, formerly known as our Midstream reporting segment, reported fiscal 2021 NFE of $13.0 million, compared with NFE of $18.3 million during fiscal 2020. Fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 NFE were $2.4 million, compared with NFE of $7.4 million during the same period in fiscal 2020. The decrease in NFE for both periods was due primarily to lower equity in earnings contributions from our investments in Steckman Ridge and PennEast, and higher O&M, which was partially offset by increased operating revenues at Leaf River and Adelphia Gateway.

The NFE results exclude a $74.5 million after-tax impairment charge related to NJR's investment in the PennEast Project.

Infrastructure Updates:

  • Adelphia Gateway - During fiscal 2021, Adelphia Gateway received all necessary permits for the second phase of construction on the South Zone. The second phase includes construction of laterals and interconnects.

Energy Services

Energy Services reported fiscal 2021 NFE of $71.1 million, compared with a net financial loss of $7.9 million in fiscal 2020. The increase was due primarily to higher natural gas price volatility in February 2021, as a result of cold weather in regions where Energy Services had contracted rights to storage assets. Fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 net financial loss was $14.4 million, compared with NFE of $1.4 million for the same period last fiscal year. The decrease was due primarily to increased compensation expense and higher O&M expenses related to charitable contributions compared to the same period a year ago.

Home Services and Other Operations

Home Services and Other Operations reported fiscal 2021 net financial loss of $0.8 million, compared with NFE of $5.8 million during fiscal 2020. Fourth-quarter fiscal 2021 net financial loss was $(1.1) million compared with NFE of $5.1 million for the same period in fiscal 2020. The decrease in both periods was due primarily to higher O&M related to increased compensation and technology expenses and one-time income tax benefits that occurred in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020 that did not reoccur in fiscal 2021.

Capital Expenditures and Cash Flows:

NJR is committed to maintaining a strong financial profile.

  • During fiscal 2021, capital expenditures were $682.9 million, including accruals, of which $468.3 million were related to NJNG, compared with $499.1 million ($1.0 billion including the acquisition of assets), of which $333.9 million were related to NJNG, during fiscal 2020.

  • During fiscal 2021, cash flows from operations were $391.0 million, compared with $213.5 million during the same period of fiscal 2020. The increase was due primarily to increased NFE at Energy Services.

Forward-Looking Statements:

This earnings release contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933, as amended, Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, and the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. NJR cautions readers that the assumptions forming the basis for forward-looking statements include many factors that are beyond NJR’s ability to control or estimate precisely, such as estimates of future market conditions and the behavior of other market participants. Words such as "anticipates," "estimates," "expects," "projects," "may," "will," "intends," "plans," "believes," "should" and similar expressions may identify forward-looking statements and such forward-looking statements are made based upon management’s current expectations, assumptions and beliefs as of this date concerning future developments and their potential effect upon NJR. There can be no assurance that future developments will be in accordance with management’s expectations, assumptions and beliefs or that the effect of future developments on NJR will be those anticipated by management. Forward-looking statements in this earnings release include, but are not limited to, certain statements regarding NJR’s NFEPS guidance for fiscal 2022, projected NFEPS growth rate, results of future rate cases, forecasted contribution of business segments to NJR’s NFE for fiscal 2022, future NJR and NJNG capital expenditures, infrastructure programs and investments such as SRL, IIP, the Howell Green Hydrogen Project and energy efficiency programs, the ability to operate the Adelphia Gateway Pipeline project, and other legal and regulatory expectations.

Additional information and factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from NJR’s expectations are contained in NJR’s filings with the SEC, including NJR’s Annual Reports on Form 10-K and subsequent Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, recent Current Reports on Form 8-K, and other SEC filings, which are available at the SEC’s web site, http://www.sec.gov. Information included in this earnings release is representative as of today only and while NJR periodically reassesses material trends and uncertainties affecting NJR's results of operations and financial condition in connection with its preparation of management's discussion and analysis of results of operations and financial condition contained in its Quarterly and Annual Reports filed with the SEC, NJR does not, by including this statement, assume any obligation to review or revise any particular forward-looking statement referenced herein in light of future events.

Non-GAAP Financial Information:

This earnings release includes the non-GAAP financial measures NFE/net financial loss, NFE per basic share, financial margin and utility gross margin. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and reported in accordance with GAAP can be found below. As an indicator of NJR’s operating performance, these measures should not be considered an alternative to, or more meaningful than, net income or operating revenues as determined in accordance with GAAP. This information has been provided pursuant to the requirements of SEC Regulation G.

NFE and financial margin exclude unrealized gains or losses on derivative instruments related to NJR’s unregulated subsidiaries and certain realized gains and losses on derivative instruments related to natural gas that has been placed into storage at Energy Services and the impairment on NJR's investments in the PennEast Project, net of applicable tax adjustments as described below. Volatility associated with the change in value of these financial instruments and physical commodity reported on the income statement in the current period. In order to manage its business, NJR views its results without the impacts of the unrealized gains and losses, and certain realized gains and losses, caused by changes in value of these financial instruments and physical commodity contracts prior to the completion of the planned transaction because it shows changes in value currently instead of when the planned transaction ultimately is settled. An annual estimated effective tax rate is calculated for NFE purposes and any necessary quarterly tax adjustment is applied to NJR Energy Services Company.

NJNG’s utility gross margin represents the results of revenues less natural gas costs, sales, expenses and other taxes and regulatory rider expenses, which are key components of NJR’s operations. Natural gas costs, sales, expenses and other taxes and regulatory rider expenses are passed through to customers and, therefore, have no effect on utility gross margin. Management uses these non-GAAP financial measures as supplemental measures to other GAAP results to provide a more complete understanding of NJR’s performance. Management believes these non-GAAP financial measures are more reflective of NJR’s business model, provide transparency to investors and enable period-to-period comparability of financial performance. A reconciliation of all non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable financial measures calculated and reported in accordance with GAAP can be found below. For a full discussion of NJR’s non-GAAP financial measures, please see NJR’s most recent Report on Form 10-K, Item 7.

About New Jersey Resources

New Jersey Resources (NYSE: NJR) is a Fortune 1000 company that, through its subsidiaries, provides safe and reliable natural gas and clean energy services, including transportation, distribution, asset management and home services. NJR is composed of five primary businesses:

  • New Jersey Natural Gas, NJR’s principal subsidiary, operates and maintains over 7,500 miles of natural gas transportation and distribution infrastructure to serve over half a million customers in New Jersey’s Monmouth, Ocean and parts of Morris, Middlesex and Burlington counties.

  • Clean Energy Ventures invests in, owns and operates solar projects with a total capacity of more than 365 megawatts, providing residential and commercial customers with low-carbon solutions.

  • Energy Services manages a diversified portfolio of natural gas transportation and storage assets and provides physical natural gas services and customized energy solutions to its customers across North America.

  • Storage and Transportation serves customers from local distributors and producers to electric generators and wholesale marketers through its ownership of Leaf River and the Adelphia Gateway Pipeline Project, as well as our 50% equity ownership in the Steckman Ridge natural gas storage facility.

  • Home Services provides service contracts as well as heating, central air conditioning, water heaters, standby generators, solar and other indoor and outdoor comfort products to residential homes throughout New Jersey.

NJR and its nearly 1,200 employees are committed to helping customers save energy and money by promoting conservation and encouraging efficiency through Conserve to Preserve® and initiatives such as The SAVEGREEN Project® and The Sunlight Advantage®.

For more information about NJR:
www.njresources.com.
Follow us on Twitter @NJNaturalGas.
"Like" us on facebook.com/NewJerseyNaturalGas.

NEW JERSEY RESOURCES

CONSOLIDATED STATEMENTS OF OPERATIONS

(Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

Twelve Months Ended

September 30,

September 30,

(Thousands, except per share data)

2021

2020

2021

2020

OPERATING REVENUES

Utility

$

97,937

$

84,548

$

731,459

$

729,923

Nonutility

434,591

315,496

1,425,154

1,223,745

Total operating revenues

532,528

400,044

2,156,613

1,953,668

OPERATING EXPENSES

Gas purchases

Utility

36,569

26,789

247,734

275,831

Nonutility

356,721

220,304

1,096,920

1,022,805

Related parties

1,850

1,535

7,013

6,083

Operation and maintenance

101,126

79,425

366,905

278,143

Regulatory rider expenses

3,734

1,993

38,304

34,529

Depreciation and amortization

29,410

27,343

111,387

107,368

Total operating expenses

529,410

357,389

1,868,263

1,724,759

OPERATING (LOSS) INCOME

3,118

42,655

288,350

228,909

Other income, net

10,656

13,618

24,597

23,878

Interest expense, net of capitalized interest

19,876

17,180

78,559

67,597

(LOSS) INCOME BEFORE INCOME TAXES AND EQUITY IN EARNINGS OF AFFILIATES

(6,102

)

39,093

234,388

185,190

Income tax (benefit) provision

(4,427

)

10,506

33,286

36,494

Equity in earnings of affiliates

542

4,120

(83,212

)

14,311

NET (LOSS) INCOME

$

(1,133

)

$

32,707

$

117,890

$

163,007

(LOSS) EARNINGS PER COMMON SHARE

Basic

$

(0.01

)

$

0.34

$

1.23

$

1.72

Diluted

$

(0.01

)

$

0.34

$

1.22

$

1.71

WEIGHTED AVERAGE SHARES OUTSTANDING

Basic

96,198

95,933

96,227

94,798

Diluted

96,198

95,933

96,560

95,103

RECONCILIATION OF NON-GAAP PERFORMANCE MEASURES

(Unaudited)

Three Months Ended

Twelve Months Ended

September 30,

September 30,

(Thousands)

2021

2020

2021

2020

NEW JERSEY RESOURCES

A reconciliation of net (loss) income, the closest GAAP financial measurement, to net financial earnings is as follows:

Net (loss) income

$

(1,133

)

$

...

$

117,890

$

163,007

Add:

Unrealized loss (gain) on derivative instruments and related transactions

40,576

12,183

54,203