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National Fuel Gas (NFG) Q4 Earnings Lag Estimates, View Up

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National Fuel Gas Company (NFG - Free Report) posted fourth-quarter fiscal 2018 operating earnings of 49 cents per share, lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 54 cents by 9.3%. Also, the bottom line declined 7.5% from the year-ago figure of 53 cents.

Total Revenues

Total revenues of $289 million lagged the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $317 million by 8.8%. However, the top line increased 0.7% from the prior-year quarter’s revenues of $287 million.

Utility and Energy Marketing revenues jumped 0.8% to $93.24 million, Pipeline and Storage and Gathering revenues inched up 3% to $51.9 million, while Exploration and Production and Other Revenues fell 0.1% to $143.9 million.

National Fuel Gas Company Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

National Fuel Gas Company Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise | National Fuel Gas Company Quote

Highlights of the Release

Total operating expenses in the reported quarter increased 4.6% to $208.6 million from the year-ago quarter, due to rise in operating and maintenance expenses, and purchased gas prices.

Total gas production in the reported quarter was 43,749 million cubic feet (MMcf), up from the year-ago quarter figure of 36,325 MMcf, primarily due to higher production from the Appalachia region.

Operating income in the reported quarter was down 7.8% year over year to $80.6 million.

The company incurred interest expenses of $28.5 million, down 2.7% from the year-ago period.

Seneca’s total proved natural gas and crude oil reserves on Sep 30, 2018 increased 369 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe) or 17% to 2,523 Bcfe from 2,154 Bcfe on Sep 30, 2017.

Financial Highlights

On Sep 30, 2018, National Fuel Gas had cash and cash equivalents of $229.6 million compared with $555.5 million on Sep 30, 2017.

Long-term debt (excluding current maturities) was $2,131.4 million as of Sep 30, 2018 compared with the Sep 30, 2017 level of $2,083.7 million.

The company’s cash flow from operating activities in fiscal 2018 was $613.6 million, down from $684.2 million recorded in fiscal 2017.

Guidance

National Fuel Gas revised its fiscal 2019 earnings per share guidance upward. It now expects earnings in the range of $3.35-$3.65 up from the prior guidance of $3.30-$3.60 per share.

The revision in earnings guidance was primarily due to higher expected price realizations on Seneca’s production and lower projected operating expenses at the Utility and Pipeline and Storage segments.

National Fuel Gas reiterated its fiscal 2019 production in the range of 210-230 Bcfe, reflecting a 24% increase from fiscal 2018 production at the midpoint of the range.

Other Releases

ONE Gas, Inc. (OGS - Free Report) posted third-quarter 2018 operating earnings of 31 cents per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 28 cents by 10.7%.

ONEOK Inc. (OKE - Free Report) posted third-quarter 2018 operating earnings of 75 cents per share, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 71 cents by 5.6%.

MDU Resources Group (MDU - Free Report) posted third-quarter 2018 operating earnings of 55 cents per share, lagging the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 56 cents.

Zacks Rank

National Fuel Gas currently sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy). You can see the complete list of today's Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

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