APA Group lifts earnings guidance
Page 1 of 1
Nicholas Grove is a Morningstar journalist.
APA Group (APA) expects to record a rise in earnings of as much as 24 per cent in fiscal 2013 as a result of its takeover for Hastings Diversified Utilities Fund (HDF) being declared unconditional, the gas infrastructure company said on Wednesday.
In a statement to the Australian Securities Exchange, APA said it expects earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation (EBITDA) for the year to be in the range of $660 million to $670 million, up from prior guidance of $540 million to $550 million.
The revised guidance results from a significant item that arises from APA accounting for the adjustment in value of the 20.7 per cent HDF stake owned by APA at the time of the offer, and further accounting for costs associated with the acquisition.
APA said it has continued to put in place extra funding facilities to facilitate the repayment of HDF debt should APA move to 100 per cent ownership of HDF.
The costs associated with those facilities will impact APA's interest expense depending on how long those facilities are retained and when they are used, the company said.
This revised guidance does not take into consideration any earnings that will be generated by HDF once HDF operating results are consolidated by APA, it said.
APA said it will update its guidance on EBITDA and interest expense when it has had access to HDF financial information that is sufficient to allow it to accurately assess specific impacts.
Given the adjustment in value of the 20.7 per cent stake in HDF is a non-cash item, guidance in respect of distributions for fiscal 2013 is therefore being maintained as at least 35 cents per security, APA said.
Morningstar senior equities analyst Adrian Atkins has said previously that he expects APA's merger with HDF to be decretive to operating cash flow per security until at least 2015, when lucrative contracts on HDF's South West Queensland Pipeline (SWQP) kick in.
"There is upside to revenue as the combined network can offer greater flexibility in services to suit customer needs," Atkins said in a note.
"APA already has an excellent gas transmission network. The addition of the SWQP will make it even better."