National Fuel Gas Company (NFG Quick Quote – ) reported adjusted operating earnings of $1.48 per share for the first quarter of fiscal 2022, 9.6 percent higher than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.35. Earnings also increased 39.6 percent from $1.06 per share in the year-ago quarter. The year-over-year increase in earnings was driven by strong performance in the exploration and production business.

GAAP earnings for the reported quarter were $1.44 per share compared to 85 cents for the same quarter last year. The difference between operating income and GAAP earnings in the reported quarter was due to the impact of a 4-cent unrealized loss on other investments.

Total revenue

Total revenue of $547 million was 4% lower than the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $569 million.

However, revenues increased 24 percent from $441.2 million in the prior year. The year-over-year increase was primarily due to increased contributions from the Company's exploration and production, pipeline and storage, and gathering segments.

Release Highlights

Total operating expenses decreased 3.4 percent to $336.9 million in the reported quarter compared to the same period last year.

Net production from the exploration and production segment was 85.1 billion cubic feet equivalent (Bcfe), an increase of 5.6 Bcfe or 7 percent from the prior year.

The average realized price for natural gas was $2.52 per thousand cubic feet (Mcf) in the quarter under review, up 38 cents per Mcf from the prior year. The average realized price for oil was $64.29 per barrel, up $14.38 from the same quarter last year.

NFG incurred $30.1 million in interest expense, down 6.8% from the same period last year.

Financial Summary

National Fuel Gas has cash and temporary cash investments of $79.1 million as of December 30, 2021, compared to $20.5 million for the same period in 2020.

Long-term debt, excluding current maturities, was $2,629.6 million at December 31, 2021, compared to a level of $2,628.7 million at September 30, 2021.

The company reported net cash provided by operating activities of $171.5 million in the first quarter of fiscal 2022, down from $204.7 million in the same period last year.

Total capital expenditures for the first quarter of fiscal 2021 were $213.5 million, up from $183.3 million in the same period last year.

Guidance

National Fuel Gas revised its fiscal 2022 earnings guidance to a range of $5.20 to $5.50 from the previous estimate of $5.05 to $5.45. The midpoint of the new guidance is $5.35, above the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $5.14.

National Fuel Gas raised its fiscal 2022 capital expenditure guidance to a range of $66.5 to $810 million, up from its previous estimate of $64 to $760 million.

National Fuel Gas revised its fiscal 2022 production guidance to 340-365 Bcfe from the previously anticipated range of 335-365 Bcfe.

Zacks Rank

National Fuel Gas currently owns the Zacks Rank #3 (Hold).

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