Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI) today announced that its Board of Directors has approved a plan pursuant to which it expects to pay quarterly dividends of $.125 per share to its common stockholders ($.50 annually), down from its current quarterly level of $.51, beginning with the fourth quarter 2015 dividend payable in February 2016. This dividend enables the company to use a significant portion of its large cash flow to fund the equity portion of its expansion capital requirements, eliminate any need to access the equity market for the foreseeable future and maintain a solid investment grade credit rating. KMI anticipates enough retained internally generated cash flow to fund all of the required equity contribution projected for 2016 and a significant portion of its debt requirements. The company has reviewed its expected investments in 2017 and 2018 and believes that its stable and growing internally generated cash flow will allow it to continue to fund the equity portion of its capital budget without the need to access the equity market. It anticipates meeting all of the rating agencies’ requirements to remain investment grade, and expects a net debt/EBITDA ratio of 5.5 for 2016 and anticipates reducing that ratio in subsequent years.
“We evaluated numerous options, including significant asset sales, but ultimately concluded that these other options were uneconomic to our investors in the long run. This decision was not made lightly, but we believe it is in the best interests of the company, its shareholders and employees,” said Rich Kinder, executive chairman of the KMI board. “It will allow us to continue to maintain and grow our outstanding set of midstream energy assets without being required to issue equity at valuations prevalent in today’s market while maintaining a solid investment grade rating on our debt obligations. We are directly addressing concerns about our investment grade rating and concerns about the need to issue additional equity. We believe today’s action is beneficial to our shareholders.”
“Our strategy always has been, and will continue to be, to focus on fee-based midstream energy assets that are core to North American energy markets,” said Steve Kean, president and CEO. “Our execution of that strategy has enabled us to grow distributable cash flow (DCF) per share and we believe we will continue to do so.”
The company has completed its budget process for 2016 and expects DCF available to its equity holders of slightly over $5 billion, an increase of approximately 8 percent over 2015. “We grew our DCF per share in 2015 and we expect to grow again in 2016, despite a very difficult environment in the energy sector. We believe we have the best set of assets in the midstream energy business and the cash generated by those assets is fee based and growing. Today’s action is not a reflection of our underlying business – our business is strong and growing. Today’s decision is about finding the most economic way to fund our set of attractive return expansion projects,” said Kean.
Please join Kinder Morgan at 8:30 a.m. Eastern Time on Wednesday, Dec. 9, at http://ir.kindermorgan.com/presentations-webcasts for a LIVE webcast conference call on this announcement.
Kinder Morgan, Inc. (KMI) is the largest energy infrastructure company in North America. It owns an interest in or operates approximately 84,000 miles of pipelines and approximately 165 terminals. The company’s pipelines transport natural gas, gasoline, crude oil, CO2 and other products, and its terminals store petroleum products and chemicals, and handle bulk materials like coal and petroleum coke. For more information please visit www.kindermorgan.com.