Williams Partners L.P.
) registered fourth-quarter 2013 earnings of 12 cents per
limited-partner unit, lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 40
cents. Earnings also deteriorated 71.4% from the year-ago profit
level of 42 cents. The downcast figures were due to loss of
production from the closed Geismar olefins plant which will
resume operation not before mid 2014. Apart from that, lower
natural gas liquids (NGLs) margins and higher operating costs
from the Northeast G&P segment also added to the woe.
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Full-year 2013 earnings decreased 23.2% year over year to $1.45
per unit and lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.69.
Quarterly total revenue decreased 11.1% year over year to
$1,616.0 million but surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of
$1,483.0 million. Full-year 2013 revenues came in at $6,685
million, down 8.7% on an annualized basis. The results however
surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $6,517 million.
Notably, Williams Partners' distributable cash flow (DCF)
attributable to partnership operations in the reported quarter
was $509 million against $405 million in the year-ago quarter.
Recently, the partnership increased its quarterly cash
distribution by 7.9% year over year to 89.25 cents per unit.
Consolidated adjusted segment profit was $485.0 million, up 8.0%
from the year-ago level of $449.0 million.
Northeast G&P: The segment reported loss of $26 million
compared with loss of $17 million in fourth-quarter 2012. The
higher downside came from higher operating costs and
Atlantic-Gulf: The segment reported profits of $166 million
compared with $158 million in fourth-quarter 2012. The upside was
primarily backed by higher transportation fee revenues and lower
West: Segmental profit was $186 million compared with $207
million a year ago. Lower volumes as a result of reduced ethane
recoveries and an expired customer contract, were responsible for
NGL & Petchem Services: The segment reported profits of $16
million compared with $93 million in fourth-quarter 2012. The
downside came from lower olefin product margins, primarily due to
extended outage of the Geismar plant.
Williams Partners reaffirmed its guidance for distribution per
limited partner unit growth of 6% both in 2014 and 2015.
The partnership expects DCF of $2,350 million for 2014 and $2,785
million for 2015.
Adjusted segment profits are expected at $2,345 million for 2014
and $2,830 million for 2015.
Capital expenditures are estimated at $3,615 million for 2014 and
$2,175 million for 2015.
Williams Partners is an energy master limited partnership engaged
in gathering, transportation, treating and processing of natural
gas as well as fractionation and storage of NGLs. The general
partner of the partnership is owned and managed by
Williams Companies Inc.
Williams Partners carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). However, there
are better-ranked stocks in the oil and gas sector such as
Helmerich & Payne, Inc.
Matrix Service Company
), both of which have a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).