Cheniere Energy, Inc. LNG recently reported strong fourth-quarter 2019 results. This largest U.S. liquefied natural gas exporter delivered earnings per share of 71 cents, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate for earnings of 54 cents. The figure also skyrocketed 173% from the year-ago earnings of 26 cents. Solid contribution from LNG revenues led to this outperformance. Precisely, revenues from LNG came in at $2,871 million, surpassing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,706 million and also increasing 27.8% from the year-ago value of $2,245 million. Owing to higher LNG volumes, quarterly revenues rose 26.2% to $3,007 million from $2,383 million a year ago. The top line also beat the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $2,657 million in the quarter under review. The company posted adjusted EBITDA of $987 million with DCF of around $780 million. During the quarter, Cheniere shipped 130 cargoes, jumping 62.5% from the year-earlier figure. Total volumes of LNG exported were 457 trillion British thermal units (TBtu) compared with 284 TBtu in the prior year. Costs & Balance Sheet Overall costs and expenses surged 33.6% from the corresponding quarter of last year to $1,991 million. This increase is mainly attributed to higher operating and maintenance expenses that more than doubled to $330 million in the quarter under consideration. Also, depreciation and amortization expenses soared 100.9% from the year-ago quarter to $233 million. Further, selling, general and administrative expenses scaled up to $88 million from $75 million in the prior-year quarter. As of Dec 31, Cheniere had approximately $2,474 million in cash and cash equivalents. Its net long-term debt was $30,774 million (with a debt-to-capitalization ratio of 92.6%). 2020 Guidance Cheniere reiterated its guidance for the full year. It anticipates adjusted EBITDA within $3.8-$4.1 billion with distributable cash flow between $1 billion and $1.3 billion. Project Updates Sabine Pass is North America’s first large-scale liquefied gas export facility. Cheniere intends to construct up to six trains at the Sabine Pass with each train’s expected capacity to be 4.5 million tons per annum (Mtpa). Notably, run-rate of LNG production is anticipated within 4.7-5 Mtpa. While Trains 1 through 5 are functional, Train 6 is currently under construction with completion expected within the first half of 2023. Sabine Pass Liquefaction Project (SPL): Under this project, the company intends to build three trains. Each train’s estimated nominal production capacity is 4.5 Mtpa of LNG. Notably, Train 1 and 2 are functional while Train 3 is under construction. In June 2019, the first commissioned cargo from Train 2 was dispatched. Train 3 is expected to enter service in the first half of 2021. Corpus Christi Liquefaction Project (CCL): Cheniere aims to develop seven midscale liquefaction trains adjacent to the CCL Project. Total production capacity of these trains is assumed to be 10 Mtpa. Corpus Christi Expansion Project: Zacks Rank & Key Picks Cheniere has a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked players in the space are Contango Oil & Gas Company energy MCF, Apache Corporation APA and Earthstone Energy, Inc. ( ESTE Quick Quote ESTE - Free Report) , each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).You can see . the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here Today's Best Stocks from Zacks Would you like to see the updated picks from our best market-beating strategies? From 2017 through 2019, while the S&P 500 gained and impressive +53.6%, five of our strategies returned +65.8%, +97.1%, +118.0%, +175.7% and even +186.7%. This outperformance has not just been a recent phenomenon. From 2000 – 2019, while the S&P averaged +6.0% per year, our top strategies averaged up to +54.7% per year.
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