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National Fuel Gas (NFG) Q1 Earnings & Revenues Top Estimates

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National Fuel Gas Company (NFG - Free Report) posted first-quarter fiscal 2019 operating earnings of $1.12 per share, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.07 by 4.7%. Also, the bottom line improved 9.8% from the year-ago figure of $1.02 per share.

Total Revenues

Total revenues of $490.3 million surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $478 million by 2.6%. The top line also increased 16.8% from the prior-year figure of $419.7 million.

Utility and Energy Marketing revenues improved 20.6% year over year to $272.1 million, and Pipeline, Storage and Gathering revenues moved up 1.3% to $54.2 million. Exploration and Production, and Other revenues also improved 16.7% from the prior-year quarter to $163.9 million.

National Fuel Gas Company Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Highlights of the Release

Total operating expenses in the reported quarter increased 21.6% from the year-ago quarter to $328.6 million, due to a rise in operating and maintenance expenses, and purchased gas prices.

Total gas production in the reported quarter was 45,807 million cubic feet (MMcf), up from the year-ago quarter figure of 36,109 MMcf, primarily due to higher production from the Appalachia region.

Operating income in the reported quarter was up 8.2% year over year to $161.7 million.

The company incurred interest expenses of $25.5 million, up 9.3% from the year-ago period.

Financial Highlights

On Dec 31, 2018, National Fuel Gas had cash and cash equivalents of $109 million compared with $229.6 million on Sep 30, 2018.

Long-term debt (excluding current maturities) was $2,131.8 million as of Dec 31, 2018 compared with Sep 30, 2018 level of $2,131.4 million.

The company’s cash flow from operating activities in the first quarter of fiscal 2019 was $104.3 million, up from $97.5 million recorded in the prior-year period.

Total capital expenditure in the reported quarter was $174.9 million, up from $126.5 million in the year-ago quarter.

Guidance

National Fuel Gas upwardly revised its fiscal 2019 earnings per share guidance. It now expects earnings in the range of $3.45-$3.65, up from the prior guided range of $3.35-$3.65 per share.

National Fuel Gas reiterated its fiscal 2019 production in the range of 210-230 billion cubic feet equivalent. Capital expenditure for fiscal 2019 is expected in the range of $725-$810 million.

Upcoming Releases

MDU Resources Group (MDU - Free Report) is expected to report fourth-quarter 2018 results on Feb 6, 2019. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 42 cents.

ONE Gas, Inc. (OGS - Free Report) is expected to report fourth-quarter 2018 earnings on Feb 20, 2019. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter to be reported is pegged at 85 cents.

ONEOK Inc. (OKE - Free Report) is expected to report fourth-quarter 2018 numbers on Feb 25, 2019. The Zacks Consensus Estimate for the quarter is pegged at 74 cents.

Zacks Rank

National Fuel Gas currently carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

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