Antero Midstream Announces Fourth Quarter 2020 Financial Results and 2021 Capital Budget and Guidance
February 17, 2021 at 16:15 PM EST
DENVER, Feb. 17, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Antero Midstream Corporation (NYSE: AM) ("Antero Midstream" or the "Company") today announced its fourth quarter 2020 financial and operational results, 2021 capital budget and guidance based on Antero Resources recently announced 2021 development plan and drilling partnership, and return of capital policy.
Fourth Quarter 2020 Earnings Highlights:
Full Year 2020 Earnings Highlights:
2021 Guidance Highlights and Forecasts:
Paul Rady, Chairman and CEO said, "In a separate release, Antero Resources announced the formation of a drilling partnership through 2024 that is expected to result in incremental throughput and fresh water volume growth on Antero Midstream dedicated acreage. As a result, Antero Midstream is forecasting a 2021 capital budget of $240 to $260 million, reflecting approximately $65 million of incremental capital that has been accelerated into 2021 above the previous maintenance capital program. To fund this acceleration, Antero Midstream expects to reallocate a portion of its dividend payments to fund the associated infrastructure projects supporting the increased volumes and water usage anticipated due to the drilling partnership. This reallocation is expected to allow Antero Midstream to internally fund these attractive rate of return projects without adding leverage or total debt.
Glen Warren, President said, "Antero Resources announced that it expects the drilling partnership to result in incremental gross gas production that is estimated to add $400 million of incremental free cash flow to Antero Resources through 2025 assuming current strip prices. In addition, Antero Resources announced that it expects a decreasing leverage profile from the 3.1x at year-end 2020 to below 2-times by year-end 2021 assuming current strip prices. Similarly, we expect the drilling partnership to result in an incremental $200 million of free cash flow after dividends through 2025 for Antero Midstream and result in a declining leverage profile to 3-times or less over that period."
Antero Resources Drilling Partnership Announcement
In a separate release, Antero Resources announced the formation of a drilling partnership with QL Capital Partners ("QL"), an affiliate of Quantum Energy Partners. Antero Resources noted that it is uniquely positioned to bring on a drilling partner due to its unutilized firm transportation portfolio and deep liquids-rich inventory. Under the terms of the agreement, QL is expected to fund 20% of total development capital spending in 2021 and between 15% and 20% of total development capital on an annual basis from 2022 through 2024 in exchange for a proportionate working interest percentage in each well spud. In addition, QL will pay a drilling carry to Antero Resources if certain return thresholds are achieved. Assuming QL's full participation through 2024, the partnership will enable the drilling and completion of approximately 60 incremental wells relative to Antero's prior base case of maintenance level capital. The drilling partnership is effective immediately and includes all wells spud since January 1, 2021.
Based on Antero Resources' current development plan and commodity pricing, this plan is expected to result in approximately 5 incremental completions in 2021 and 60 additional completions from 2021 through 2024. The increase in gross gas production is expected to drive annual low single digit throughput growth at Antero Midstream in 2022 through 2025. In addition, the approximate 20% increase in wells completed over this time frame is expected to drive a proportionate increase in fresh water delivery volumes for the Company. The tables and outlook below illustrate the impact of QL's full participation in the drilling partnership from 2021 through 2024.
Return of Capital Reallocation & Revised Outlook through 2025
Antero Midstream is budgeting capital expenditures of $240 to $260 million in 2021. The capital budget includes approximately $65 million of additional growth capital supporting the increased development on Antero Midstream dedicated acreage from the drilling partnership, in addition to the capital budgeted for Antero Resources' previously disclosed maintenance capital program for 2021. Antero Midstream has an organic project backlog of $1.05 to $1.15 billion from 2021 through 2025.
In order to internally fund these organic growth projects and maintain a strong balance sheet, Antero Midstream is reallocating capital through a forecasted reduction in its 2021 dividend to $0.90 per share on an annualized basis beginning with the first quarter of 2021, subject to Board approval. Based on Antero Resource's development program with the drilling partnership and anticipated low single digit annual throughput growth through 2025, Antero Midstream is forecasting Free Cash Flow after dividends of $(15) to $25 million in 2021 and targeting $450 to $550 million of cumulative Free Cash Flow after dividends from 2021 through 2025. Antero Midstream expects to use excess Free Cash Flow after dividends for debt reduction and opportunistic share repurchases. Assuming the $0.90 per share dividend is held flat and Free Cash Flow after dividends is prioritized for debt reduction, Antero Midstream's Leverage is expected to decline to 3-times or less by year-end 2025.
Antero Midstream currently has $150 million of share repurchase capacity remaining under its $300 million authorized share repurchase program. On February 11, 2021, the Board of Directors approved a two year extension of the share repurchase program authorization from June 30, 2021 to June 30, 2023. Antero Midstream has repurchased approximately $150 million of shares at an average price of $4.88 per share since the share repurchase program was authorized in 2019.
2021 Guidance and Capital Budget
Antero Midstream is forecasting net income of $325 to $365 million and Adjusted Net Income (adjusted for amortization of customer relationships) of $380 to $420 million. The Company is forecasting Adjusted EBITDA of $840 to $880 million and a capital budget of $240 to $260 million. This results in Free Cash Flow before dividends of $415 to $455 million and Free Cash Flow after dividends of $(15) to $25 million for 2021, assuming an annualized dividend of $0.90 per share. Antero Midstream's 2021 guidance includes approximately $110 to $115 million of distributions from its interests in the processing and fractionation joint venture with MPLX, LP (the "Joint Venture") and in Stonewall Gathering LLC. Antero Midstream does not expect or forecast any federal or state cash income tax expense in 2021 in its financial guidance.
Beginning with 2021 results, Antero Midstream will no longer report MLP-specific metrics such as distributable cash flow, instead prioritizing traditional C-Corp metrics including earnings per share (EPS), Free Cash Flow before and after dividends, and return on invested capital (ROIC).
During 2021, Antero Midstream plans to expand its existing Marcellus and Utica Shale gathering, compression and fresh water delivery systems. The midpoint of the capital budget includes approximately $195 million of investment in gathering and compression infrastructure primarily in the Marcellus Shale to expand the system further into Tyler and Wetzel Counties in West Virginia to support production growth in the liquids-rich production areas. Antero Midstream has budgeted an investment of $55 million for fresh water delivery and wastewater blending and pipeline infrastructure. Approximately 95% of Antero Midstream's 2021 capital budget is focused in the Marcellus Shale and remaining 5% is focused in the Utica Shale. The Company is forecasting an immaterial capital investment in the Joint Venture in 2021. Antero Midstream expects to fund all 2021 capital expenditures through cash flow from operations and does not require borrowings under its revolving credit facility.
Michael Kennedy, CFO of Antero Midstream, said, "Our transition to a business model that funds both its future capital programs and dividends with internally generated cash flow from operations significantly de-risks Antero Midstream's business model. This prudent measure is expected to result in a declining leverage target to 3-times or less, supported by volumetric and free cash flow growth over the next several years."
The following is a summary of Antero Midstream's 2021 guidance ($ in millions, except per share amounts):
Fourth Quarter 2020 Financial Results
Low pressure gathering volumes for the fourth quarter of 2020 averaged 3,053 MMcf/d, a 16% increase as compared to the prior year quarter. Low pressure gathering volumes were in excess of the fourth quarter 2020 growth incentive fee threshold of 2,900 MMcf/d, resulting in a $12 million rebate to Antero Resources. Compression volumes for the fourth quarter of 2020 averaged 2,851 MMcf/d, an 18% increase as compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. High pressure gathering volumes for the fourth quarter of 2020 averaged 3,017 MMcf/d, a 15% increase compared to the fourth quarter of 2019. Fresh water delivery volumes averaged 43 MBbl/d during the quarter, a 71% decrease compared to the fourth quarter of 2019, due to a decrease in completion activities by Antero Resources.
Gross processing volumes from the Joint Venture averaged 1,510 MMcf/d for the fourth quarter of 2020, a 26% increase compared to the prior year quarter. Joint Venture processing capacity was 108% utilized during the quarter based on nameplate processing capacity of 1.4 Bcf/d. Gross Joint Venture fractionation volumes averaged 40 MBbl/d, a 29% increase compared to the prior year quarter.
For the three months ended December 31, 2020, revenues were $204 million comprised of $184 million from the Gathering and Processing segment and $38 million from the Water Handling segment, net of $18 million of amortization of customer relationships. Water Handling revenues include $22 million from wastewater handling and high rate water transfer services.
Direct operating expenses for the Gathering and Processing and Water Handling segments were $13 million and $24 million, respectively, for a total of $37 million, compared to $55 million in total direct operating expenses in the prior year quarter. Water Handling operating expenses include $21 million from wastewater handling and high rate water transfer services. The decrease in direct operating expenses was driven by lower per unit gathering and fresh water delivery operating expenses as well as lower costs associated with flowback and produced water due to Antero Midstream's blending operations. General and administrative expenses excluding equity-based compensation were $10 million during the fourth quarter of 2020. Total operating expenses during the fourth quarter of 2020 included $3 million of equity compensation expense, $8 million impairment and $27 million of depreciation.
Net income was $76 million, or $0.16 per share. Net income adjusted for amortization of customer relationships, impairment expense and loss on asset sale, or Adjusted Net Income, was $98 million. Adjusted Net Income per share was $0.21 per share, a 5% increase compared to the prior year quarter. Adjusted EBITDA was $203 million, in line with the prior year quarter. Cash interest paid was $5 million. The increase in cash reserved for bond interest during the quarter was $34 million. Maintenance capital expenditures during the quarter totaled $5 million and Distributable Cash Flow was $159 million (Non-GAAP measure). Based on the previously declared dividend of $0.3075 per share, Antero Midstream's Distributable Cash Flow coverage ratio was approximately 1.1x. Free Cash Flow before dividends was $135 million, a $93 million increase compared to the prior year quarter due to the significant reduction in capital expenditures.
The following table reconciles Net Income (Loss) to Adjusted Net Income, Adjusted EBITDA, Distributable Cash Flow and Free Cash Flow as used in this release (in thousands):
Fourth Quarter 2020 Operating Update
Gathering and Processing — During the fourth quarter of 2020, Antero Midstream connected 11 wells to its gathering system. The Company's 3.2 Bcf/d of compression capacity was approximately 90% utilized during the quarter. Joint Venture processing capacity of 1.4 Bcf/d was 108% utilized during the quarter. Joint Venture fractionation capacity was 100% utilized during the quarter.
Water Handling— Antero Midstream's Marcellus water delivery systems serviced 5 well completions during the fourth quarter of 2020, an 84% decrease from the prior year quarter, driven by a reduction in completion activity by Antero Resources.
Balance Sheet and Liquidity
As of December 31, 2020, Antero Midstream had approximately $614 million drawn on its $2.13 billion bank credit facility, resulting in approximately $1.5 billion of liquidity. Antero Midstream's Net Debt to trailing twelve months Adjusted EBITDA ("Leverage") was 3.7x as of December 31, 2020.
Total accrued capital expenditures including investments in the Joint Venture were $29 million during the fourth quarter of 2020. Gathering, compression, and water infrastructure capital investments totaled $28 million and investments in unconsolidated affiliates for the Joint Venture were $1 million. Of the $28 million invested in gathering, compression, and water infrastructure, $16 million was in gathering and compression assets and $12 million was in water handling assets.
A conference call for Antero Midstream is scheduled on Thursday, February 18, 2021 at 10:00 am MT to discuss the financial and operational results. A brief Q&A session for security analysts will immediately follow the discussion of the results for the quarter. To participate in the call, dial in at 877-407-9126 (U.S.), or 201-493-6751 (International) and reference "Antero Midstream". A telephone replay of the call will be available until Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 10:00 am MT at 877-660-6853 (U.S.) or 201-612-7415 (International) using the conference ID: 13714535. To access the live webcast and view the related earnings conference call presentation, visit Antero Midstream's website at www.anteromidstream.com. The webcast will be archived for replay until Thursday, February 25, 2021 at 10:00 am MT.
An updated presentation will be posted to the Company's website before the conference call. The presentation can be found at www.anteromidstream.com on the homepage. Information on the Antero Midstream's website does not constitute a portion of, and is not incorporated by reference into, this press release.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures and Definitions
Antero Midstream uses certain non-GAAP financial measures. Antero Midstream defines Adjusted Net Income as net income (loss) plus amortization of customer contracts, loss on asset sale and impairment expenses, net of tax effect of reconciling items. Antero Midstream uses Adjusted Net Income to assess the operating performance of its assets. Antero Midstream defines Adjusted EBITDA as net income (loss) before amortization of customer relationships, impairment expense, interest expense, provision for income tax expense (benefit), depreciation expense, accretion, loss on asset sale, equity-based compensation expense, excluding equity in earnings of unconsolidated affiliates and contract restructuring fees, and including cash distributions from unconsolidated affiliates.
Antero Midstream uses Adjusted EBITDA to assess:
Antero Midstream defines Free Cash Flow as Adjusted EBITDA less interest paid, increase or decrease in cash reserved for bond interest and capital expenditures. Free Cash Flow is before dividend payments, share repurchases and changes in working capital. Antero Midstream uses Free Cash Flow as a performance metric to compare the cash generating performance of Antero Midstream from period to period.
Antero Midstream's defines Distributable Cash Flow as Adjusted EBITDA less interest paid, increase or decrease in cash reserved for bond interest, income tax withholding upon vesting of equity-based compensation awards, and ongoing maintenance capital expenditures paid. Antero Midstream uses Distributable Cash Flow as a performance metric to compare the cash generating performance of Antero Midstream from period to period and to compare the cash generating performance for specific periods to the cash dividends (if any) that are expected to be paid to shareholders. Distributable Cash Flow does not reflect changes in working capital balances.
Adjusted EBITDA, Adjusted Net Income, Free Cash Flow, and Distributable Cash Flow are non-GAAP financial measures. The GAAP measure most directly comparable to such measures is Net Income. Such non-GAAP financial measures should not be considered as alternatives to the GAAP measure of Net Income. The presentations of such measures are not made in accordance with GAAP and have important limitations as analytical tools because they include some, but not all, items that affect Net Income. You should not consider any or all such measures in isolation or as a substitute for analyses of results as reported under GAAP. Antero Midstream's definitions of such measures may not be comparable to similarly titled measures of other companies.
Antero Midstream defines Net Debt as consolidated total debt less cash and cash equivalents. Antero Midstream views Net Debt as an important indicator in evaluating Antero Midstream's financial leverage.
This release also includes certain non-GAAP financial information for Antero Resources. For a more information regarding those measures, please see Antero Resources' press release dated today, a copy of which can be found on Antero Resources website, www.anteroresources.com. For additional information on the drilling partnership please see Antero Resources' press release and Annual Report on Form 10-K, which can also be found at www.anteroresources.com.
The Company's ability to make future dividends is substantially dependent upon the development and drilling plan of Antero Resources, which itself is substantially dependent upon the review and approval by the board of directors of Antero Resources of its capital budget on an annual basis. The Board of Directors of Antero Midstream will take into consideration many factors, including the capital budget of Antero Resources adopted by its Board of Directors and the capital resources and liquidity of Antero Midstream at the time, prior to approving future dividends.
The following table reconciles cash paid for capital expenditures and accrued capital expenditures during the period (in thousands):
The following table reconciles consolidated total debt to consolidated net debt, excluding debt premiums and issuance costs, ("Net Debt") as used in this release (in thousands):
The following table reconciles net loss to Adjusted EBITDA for the last twelve months as used in this release (in thousands):
Antero Midstream defines Return on Invested Capital ("ROIC") as earnings before interest and taxes excluding amortization of customer relationships divided by average total liabilities and partners capital, excluding goodwill and intangible assets in order to derive an operating asset driven ROIC calculation.
The following table reconciles return on invested capital for the last twelve months as used in this release (in thousands):
Antero Midstream has not included a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow to the nearest GAAP financial measure for 2021 because it cannot do so without unreasonable effort and any attempt to do so would be inherently imprecise. Antero Midstream is able to forecast the following reconciling items between such measures and Net Income (in thousands):
Antero Midstream has not included a reconciliation of Adjusted EBITDA and Free Cash Flow to the nearest GAAP financial measure for the cumulative period from 2021 through 2025 because it cannot do so without unreasonable effort and any attempt to do so would be inherently imprecise. Antero Midstream is able to forecast the following reconciling items between such measures and Net Income (in thousands):
Antero Midstream Corporation is a Delaware corporation that owns, operates and develops midstream gathering, compression, processing and fractionation assets located in the Appalachian Basin, as well as integrated water assets that primarily service Antero Resources Corporation's properties.
This release includes "forward-looking statements." Such forward-looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties, many of which are not under Antero Midstream's control. All statements, except for statements of historical fact, made in this release regarding activities, events or developments Antero Midstream expects, believes or anticipates will or may occur in the future, such as statements regarding Antero Midstream's ability to execute its business plan and return capital to its stockholders, information regarding Antero Midstream's return of capital policy, information regarding long-term financial and operating outlooks for Antero Midstream and Antero Resources, information regarding Antero Resources' expected future growth and its ability to meet its drilling and development plan and the participation level of Antero Resources' drilling partner and the impact on demand for Antero Midstream's services as a result of incremental production by Antero Resources, are forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. All forward-looking statements speak only as of the date of this release. Although Antero Midstream believes that the plans, intentions and expectations reflected in or suggested by the forward-looking statements are reasonable, there is no assurance that these plans, intentions or expectations will be achieved. Therefore, actual outcomes and results could materially differ from what is expressed, implied or forecast in such statements. Except as required by law, Antero Midstream expressly disclaims any obligation to and does not intend to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements.
Antero Midstream cautions you that these forward-looking statements are subject to all of the risks and uncertainties incident to our business, most of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond Antero Midstream's control. These risks include, but are not limited to, commodity price volatility, inflation, environmental risks, Antero Resources' drilling and completion and other operating risks, regulatory changes, the uncertainty inherent in projecting Antero Resources' future rates of production, cash flows and access to capital, the timing of development expenditures, impacts of world health events, including the COVID-19 pandemic, potential shut-ins of production by producers due to lack of downstream demand or storage capacity, and the other risks described under the heading "Item 1A. Risk Factors" in Antero Midstream's Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2020.
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