Atmos Energy 10-K 2013
Documents found in this filing:
UNITED STATES SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION
Washington, D.C. 20549
þ ANNUAL REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the fiscal year ended September 30, 2013
¨ TRANSITION REPORT PURSUANT TO SECTION 13 OR 15(d) OF THE SECURITIES EXCHANGE ACT OF 1934
For the transition period from to
Commission file number 1-10042
Atmos Energy Corporation
(Exact name of registrant as specified in its charter)
Texas and Virginia 75-1743247
(State or other jurisdiction of (IRS employer
incorporation or organization) identification no.)
Three Lincoln Centre, Suite 1800
5430 LBJ Freeway, Dallas, Texas 75240
(Address of principal executive offices) (Zip code)
Registrant’s telephone number, including area code:
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(b) of the Act:
Name of Each Exchange
Title of Each Class on Which Registered
Common stock, No Par Value New York Stock Exchange
Securities registered pursuant to Section 12(g) of the Act:
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is a well-known seasoned issuer, as defined in Rule 405 of the Securities Act. Yes þ No ¨
Indicate by check mark if the registrant is not required to file reports pursuant to Section 13 or Section 15(d) of the Act. Yes ¨ No þ
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant (1) has filed all reports required to be filed by Section 13 or 15(d) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to file such reports), and (2) has been subject to such filing requirements for the past 90 days. Yes þ No ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant has submitted electronically and posted on its corporate Web site, if any, every Interactive Data File required to be submitted and posted pursuant to Rule 405 of Regulation S-T (§ 232.405 of this chapter) during the preceding 12 months (or for such shorter period that the registrant was required to submit and post such files). Yes þ No ¨
Indicate by check mark if disclosure of delinquent filers pursuant to Item 405 of Regulation S-K (§ 229.45) is not contained herein, and will not be contained, to the best of registrant’s knowledge, in definitive proxy or information statements incorporated by reference in Part III of this Form 10-K or any amendment to this Form 10-K. ¨
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a large accelerated filer, an accelerated filer, a non-accelerated filer or a smaller reporting company. See definitions of “large accelerated filer,” “accelerated filer” and “smaller reporting company” in Rule 12b-2 of the Exchange Act. (Check one):
Large accelerated filer þ Accelerated filer ¨ Non-accelerated filer ¨ Smaller reporting company ¨
(Do not check if a smaller reporting company)
Indicate by check mark whether the registrant is a shell company (as defined in Rule 12b-2 of the Act). Yes ¨ No þ
The aggregate market value of the common voting stock held by non-affiliates of the registrant as of the last business day of the registrant’s most recently completed second fiscal quarter, March 31, 2013, was $3,816,801,052.
As of November 8, 2013, the registrant had 90,912,251 shares of common stock outstanding.
DOCUMENTS INCORPORATED BY REFERENCE
Portions of the registrant’s Definitive Proxy Statement to be filed for the Annual Meeting of Shareholders on February 5, 2014 are incorporated by reference into Part III of this report.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
GLOSSARY OF KEY TERMS
The terms “we,” “our,” “us”, “Atmos Energy” and the “Company” refer to Atmos Energy Corporation and its subsidiaries, unless the context suggests otherwise.
Overview and Strategy
Atmos Energy Corporation, headquartered in Dallas, Texas, and incorporated in Texas and Virginia, is engaged primarily in the regulated natural gas distribution and transmission and storage businesses as well as other nonregulated natural gas businesses. We deliver natural gas through regulated sales and transportation arrangements to over three million residential, commercial, public authority and industrial customers in eight states located primarily in the South, which makes us one of the country’s largest natural-gas-only distributors based on number of customers. We also operate one of the largest intrastate pipelines in Texas based on miles of pipe.
Over the last two fiscal years, we have sold our natural gas distribution operations in four states to streamline our regulated operations. On April 1, 2013, we completed the divestiture of our natural gas distribution operations in Georgia, representing approximately 64,000 customers, and in August 2012, we completed the sale of our natural gas distribution operations in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa, representing approximately 84,000 customers.
Through our nonregulated businesses, we provide natural gas management, marketing, transportation and storage services to municipalities, local gas distribution companies, including certain of our natural gas distribution divisions and industrial customers principally in the Midwest and Southeast.
Our overall strategy is to:
We have delivered excellent shareholder value by growing our earnings and increasing our dividends for over 25 consecutive years. Over the last five years, we have achieved growth by implementing rate designs that reduce or eliminate regulatory lag and separate the recovery of our approved margins from customer usage patterns. In addition, we have developed various commercial opportunities within our regulated transmission and storage operations.
Our core values include focusing on our employees and customers while conducting our business with honesty and integrity. We continue to strengthen our culture through ongoing communications with our employees and enhanced employee training.
We operate the Company through the following three segments:
These operating segments are described in greater detail below.
Natural Gas Distribution Segment Overview
Our natural gas distribution segment is comprised of our six regulated natural gas distribution divisions. This segment represents approximately 65 percent of our consolidated net income. The following table summarizes key information about these divisions, presented in order of total rate base. See Note 16 in the consolidated financial statements for a description of the completed sales of our Missouri, Illinois, Iowa and Georgia service areas. We operate in our service areas under terms of non-exclusive franchise agreements granted by the various cities and towns that we serve. At September 30, 2013, we held 998 franchises having terms generally ranging from five to 35 years. A significant number of our franchises expire each year, which require renewal prior to the end of their terms. We believe that we will be able to renew our franchises as they expire.
Our natural gas distribution business is a seasonal business. Gas sales to residential and commercial customers are greater during the winter months than during the remainder of the year. The volumes of gas sales during the winter months will vary with the temperatures during these months. Historically, this generally has resulted in higher operating revenues and net income during the period from October through March of each fiscal year and lower operating revenues and either lower net income or net losses during the period from April through September of each fiscal year. However, rate design changes implemented during the first quarter of fiscal 2013 in our Mid-Tex and West Texas Divisions should change this trend. The rate design approved in these regulatory proceedings includes an increase to the customer base charge and a decrease in the consumption charge applied to customer usage. The effect of this change in rate design allows our rates to be more closely aligned with the natural gas distribution industry standard rate design. In addition, we anticipate these divisions, which represent approximately 50 percent of the operating income for our natural gas distribution segment, will earn their operating income more ratably over the fiscal year as they are now less dependent on customer consumption.
Revenues in this operating segment are established by regulatory authorities in the states in which we operate. These rates are intended to be sufficient to cover the costs of conducting business and to provide a reasonable return on invested capital. In addition, we transport natural gas for others through our distribution system.
Rates established by regulatory authorities often include cost adjustment mechanisms for costs that (i) are subject to significant price fluctuations compared to our other costs, (ii) represent a large component of our cost of service and (iii) are generally outside our control.
Purchased gas cost adjustment mechanisms represent a common form of cost adjustment mechanism. Purchased gas cost adjustment mechanisms provide natural gas distribution companies a method of recovering purchased gas costs on an ongoing basis without filing a rate case because they provide a dollar-for-dollar offset to increases or decreases in natural gas distribution gas costs. Therefore, although substantially all of our natural gas distribution operating revenues fluctuate with the cost of gas that we purchase, natural gas distribution gross profit (which is defined as operating revenues less purchased gas cost) is generally not affected by fluctuations in the cost of gas.
Additionally, some jurisdictions have introduced performance-based ratemaking adjustments to provide incentives to natural gas distribution companies to minimize purchased gas costs through improved storage management and use of financial instruments to lock in gas costs. Under the performance-based ratemaking adjustment, purchased gas costs savings are shared between the utility and its customers.
Regulatory authorities have approved weather normalization adjustments (WNA) for approximately 97 percent of residential and commercial margins in our service areas as a part of our rates. WNA minimizes the effect of weather that is above or below normal by allowing us to increase customers’ bills to offset the effect of lower gas usage when weather is warmer than normal and decrease customers’ bills to offset the effect of higher gas usage when weather is colder than normal.
The following table provides a jurisdictional rate summary for our regulated operations. This information is for regulatory purposes only and may not be representative of our actual financial position.
Our supply of natural gas is provided by a variety of suppliers, including independent producers, marketers and pipeline companies and withdrawals of gas from proprietary and contracted storage assets. Additionally, the natural gas supply for our Mid-Tex Division includes peaking and spot purchase agreements.
Supply arrangements consist of both base load and swing supply (peaking) quantities and are contracted from our suppliers on a firm basis with various terms at market prices. Base load quantities are those that flow at a constant level throughout the month and swing supply quantities provide the flexibility to change daily quantities to match increases or decreases in requirements related to weather conditions.
Except for local production purchases, we select our natural gas suppliers through a competitive bidding process by periodically requesting proposals from suppliers that have demonstrated that they can provide reliable service. We select these suppliers based on their ability to deliver gas supply to our designated firm pipeline receipt points at the lowest reasonable cost. Major suppliers during fiscal 2013 were Anadarko Energy Services Company, BP Energy Company, ConocoPhillips Company, Devon Gas Services, L.P., Enterprise Products Operating LLC, Iberdrola Energy Services, LLC, Sequent Energy Management, L.P., Targa Gas Marketing LLC, Tenaska Marketing Ventures, Texla Energy Management, Inc. and Atmos Energy Marketing, LLC, our natural gas marketing subsidiary.
The combination of base load, peaking and spot purchase agreements, coupled with the withdrawal of gas held in storage, allows us the flexibility to adjust to changes in weather, which minimizes our need to enter into long-term firm commitments. We estimate our peak-day availability of natural gas supply to be approximately 4.4 Bcf. The peak-day demand for our natural gas distribution operations in fiscal 2013 was on January 15, 2013, when sales to customers reached approximately 3.1 Bcf.
Currently, our natural gas distribution divisions, except for our Mid-Tex Division, utilize 35 pipeline transportation companies, both interstate and intrastate, to transport our natural gas. The pipeline transportation agreements are firm and many of them have “pipeline no-notice” storage service, which provides for daily balancing between system requirements and nominated flowing supplies. These agreements have been negotiated with the shortest term necessary while still maintaining our right of first refusal. The natural gas supply for our Mid-Tex Division is delivered primarily by our Atmos Pipeline — Texas Division.
To maintain our deliveries to high priority customers, we have the ability, and have exercised our right, to curtail deliveries to certain customers under the terms of interruptible contracts or applicable state regulations or statutes. Our customers’ demand on our system is not necessarily indicative of our ability to meet current or anticipated market demands or immediate delivery requirements because of factors such as the physical limitations of gathering, storage and transmission systems, the duration and severity of cold weather, the availability of gas reserves from our suppliers, the ability to purchase additional supplies on a short-term basis and actions by federal and state regulatory authorities. Curtailment rights provide us the flexibility to meet the human-needs requirements of our customers on a firm basis. Priority allocations imposed by federal and state regulatory agencies, as well as other factors beyond our control, may affect our ability to meet the demands of our customers. We anticipate no problems with obtaining additional gas supply as needed for our customers.
Regulated Transmission and Storage Segment Overview
Our regulated transmission and storage segment consists of the regulated pipeline and storage operations of our Atmos Pipeline — Texas Division (APT). APT is one of the largest intrastate pipeline operations in Texas with a heavy concentration in the established natural gas-producing areas of central, northern and eastern Texas, extending into or near the major producing areas of the Texas Gulf Coast and the Delaware and Val Verde Basins of West Texas. It transports natural gas to our Mid-Tex Division, transports natural gas for third parties and manages five underground storage reservoirs in Texas. We also provide ancillary services customary in the pipeline industry including parking and lending arrangements and sales of excess gas. This segment represents approximately 30 percent of our consolidated operations.
Gross profit earned from our Mid-Tex Division and through certain other transportation and storage services is subject to traditional ratemaking governed by the RRC. Rates are updated through periodic formal rate proceedings and filings made under Texas’ Gas Reliability Infrastructure Program (GRIP). GRIP allows us to include in our rate base annually approved capital costs incurred in the prior calendar year provided that we file a complete rate case at least once every five years. Atmos Pipeline–Texas’ existing regulatory mechanisms allow certain transportation and storage services to be provided under market-based rates with minimal regulation.
Nonregulated Segment Overview
Our nonregulated operations are conducted through Atmos Energy Holdings, Inc. (AEH), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Atmos Energy Corporation, and represent approximately five percent of our consolidated net income.
AEH's primary business is to buy, sell and deliver natural gas at competitive prices to approximately 1,000 customers located primarily in the Midwest and Southeast areas of the United States. AEH accomplishes this objective by aggregating and purchasing gas supply, arranging transportation and storage logistics and effectively managing commodity price risk.
AEH also earns storage and transportation demand fees primarily from our regulated natural gas distribution operations in Louisiana and Kentucky. These demand fees are subject to regulatory oversight and are renewed periodically.
The method of determining regulated rates varies among the states in which our regulated businesses operate. The regulatory authorities have the responsibility of ensuring that utilities in their jurisdictions operate in the best interests of customers while providing utility companies the opportunity to earn a reasonable return on their investment. Generally, each regulatory authority reviews rate requests and establishes a rate structure intended to generate revenue sufficient to cover the costs of conducting business and to provide a reasonable return on invested capital.
Our rate strategy focuses on reducing or eliminating regulatory lag, obtaining adequate returns and providing stable, predictable margins, which benefit both our customers and the Company. As a result of our ratemaking efforts in recent years, Atmos Energy has:
Although substantial progress has been made in recent years by improving rate design across Atmos Energy’s operating areas, we will continue to seek improvements in rate design to address cost variations that are related to pass-through energy costs beyond our control. Further, potential changes in federal energy policy and adverse economic conditions will necessitate continued vigilance by the Company and our regulators in meeting the challenges presented by these external factors.
Recent Ratemaking Activity
Substantially all of our regulated revenues in the fiscal years ended September 30, 2013, 2012 and 2011 were derived from sales at rates set by or subject to approval by local or state authorities. Net operating income increases resulting from ratemaking activity totaling $98.1 million, $30.7 million and $72.4 million, became effective in fiscal 2013, 2012 and 2011, as summarized below:
Additionally, the following ratemaking efforts were initiated during fiscal 2013 but had not been completed as of September 30, 2013:
Our recent ratemaking activity is discussed in greater detail below.
As discussed above in “Natural Gas Distribution Segment Overview” and “Regulated Transmission and Storage Segment Overview,” infrastructure programs such as GRIP allow our regulated divisions the opportunity to include in their rate base annually approved capital costs incurred in the prior calendar year. We currently have infrastructure programs in Texas, Kansas, Kentucky and Virginia. The following table summarizes our infrastructure program filings with effective dates during the fiscal years ended September 30, 2013, 2012 and 2011:
Annual Rate Filing Mechanisms
As an instrument to reduce regulatory lag, annual rate filing mechanisms allow us to refresh our rates on a periodic basis without filing a formal rate case. However, these filings still involve discovery by the appropriate regulatory authorities prior to the final determination of rates under these mechanisms. We currently have annual rate filing mechanisms in our Louisiana and Mississippi divisions and in a portion of our Texas divisions. These mechanisms are referred to as Dallas annual rate review (DARR) and rate review mechanisms (RRM) in our Mid-Tex Division, stable rate filings in the Mississippi Division and the rate stabilization clause in the Louisiana Division. The following table summarizes filings made under our various annual rate filing mechanisms:
From 2008 through fiscal 2011, the Mid-Tex Division had an annual rate review mechanism (RRM) for approximately 80 percent of its customers, which allowed it to update rates annually without the necessity of filing a general rate case. In fiscal 2013, a new RRM was approved for these customers.
Since June 2011, the Mid-Tex Division has operated under a Dallas Annual Rate Review Mechanism (DARR) that provides the ability for it to annually update rates for its City of Dallas customers without the necessity of filing a general rate case. The first rates were implemented under the DARR in June 2012.
During fiscal 2011, the RRC’s Division of Public Safety issued a new rule requiring natural gas distribution companies with operations in Texas to develop and implement a risk-based program for the renewal or replacement of distribution facilities, including steel service lines. The rule allows for the deferral of all expenses associated with capital expenditures incurred pursuant to this rule until the expenses are included in rates, including the recording of interest on the deferred expenses.
Rate Case Filings
A rate case is a formal request from Atmos Energy to a regulatory authority to increase rates that are charged to customers. Rate cases may also be initiated when the regulatory authorities request us to justify our rates. This process is referred to as a “show cause” action. Adequate rates are intended to provide for recovery of the Company’s costs as well as a fair rate of return to our shareholders and ensure that we continue to safely deliver reliable, reasonably priced natural gas service to our customers. The following table summarizes our recent rate cases:
Other Ratemaking Activity
The following table summarizes other ratemaking activity during the fiscal years ended September 30, 2013, 2012 and 2011:
Each of our natural gas distribution divisions and our regulated transmission and storage division is regulated by various state or local public utility authorities. We are also subject to regulation by the United States Department of Transportation with respect to safety requirements in the operation and maintenance of our transmission and distribution facilities. In addition, our distribution operations are also subject to various state and federal laws regulating environmental matters. From time to time
we receive inquiries regarding various environmental matters. We believe that our properties and operations substantially comply with, and are operated in substantial conformity with, applicable safety and environmental statutes and regulations. There are no administrative or judicial proceedings arising under environmental quality statutes pending or known to be contemplated by governmental agencies which would have a material adverse effect on us or our operations. Our environmental claims have arisen primarily from former manufactured gas plant sites.
The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) allows, pursuant to Section 311 of the Natural Gas Policy Act, gas transportation services through our Atmos Pipeline—Texas assets “on behalf of” interstate pipelines or local distribution companies served by interstate pipelines, without subjecting these assets to the jurisdiction of the FERC. Additionally, the FERC has regulatory authority over the sale of natural gas in the wholesale gas market and the use and release of interstate pipeline and storage capacity. The FERC also has authority to detect and prevent market manipulation and to enforce compliance with FERC’s other rules, policies and orders by companies engaged in the sale, purchase, transportation or storage of natural gas in interstate commerce. We have taken what we believe are the necessary and appropriate steps to comply with these regulations.
Although our natural gas distribution operations are not currently in significant direct competition with any other distributors of natural gas to residential and commercial customers within our service areas, we do compete with other natural gas suppliers and suppliers of alternative fuels for sales to industrial customers. We compete in all aspects of our business with alternative energy sources, including, in particular, electricity. Electric utilities offer electricity as a rival energy source and compete for the space heating, water heating and cooking markets. Promotional incentives, improved equipment efficiencies and promotional rates all contribute to the acceptability of electrical equipment. The principal means to compete against alternative fuels is lower prices, and natural gas historically has maintained its price advantage in the residential, commercial and industrial markets.
Our regulated transmission and storage operations historically have faced limited competition from other existing intrastate pipelines and gas marketers seeking to provide or arrange transportation, storage and other services for customers. However, in the last few years, several new pipelines have been completed, which has increased the level of competition in this segment of our business.
Within our nonregulated operations, AEM competes with other natural gas marketers to provide natural gas management and other related services primarily to smaller customers requiring higher levels of balancing, scheduling and other related management services. AEM has experienced increased competition in recent years primarily from investment banks and major integrated oil and natural gas companies who offer lower cost, basic services. The increased competition has reduced margins most notably on its high-volume accounts.
At September 30, 2013, we had 4,720 employees, consisting of 4,611 employees in our regulated operations and 109 employees in our nonregulated operations.
Our Annual Reports on Form 10-K, Quarterly Reports on Form 10-Q, Current Reports on Form 8-K and other reports, and amendments to those reports, and other forms that we file with or furnish to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) are available free of charge at our website, www.atmosenergy.com, under “Publications and Filings” under the “Investors” tab, as soon as reasonably practicable, after we electronically file these reports with, or furnish these reports to, the SEC. We will also provide copies of these reports free of charge upon request to Shareholder Relations at the address and telephone number appearing below:
Atmos Energy Corporation
P.O. Box 650205
Dallas, Texas 75265-0205
In accordance with and pursuant to relevant related rules and regulations of the SEC as well as corporate governance-related listing standards of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), the Board of Directors of the Company has established and periodically updated our Corporate Governance Guidelines and Code of Conduct, which is applicable to all directors, officers and employees of the Company. In addition, in accordance with and pursuant to such NYSE listing standards, our Chief Executive Officer during fiscal 2013, Kim R. Cocklin, certified to the New York Stock Exchange that he was not aware of any
violations by the Company of NYSE corporate governance listing standards. The Board of Directors also annually reviews and updates, if necessary, the charters for each of its Audit, Human Resources and Nominating and Corporate Governance Committees. All of the foregoing documents are posted on the Corporate Governance page of our website. We will also provide copies of all corporate governance documents free of charge upon request to Shareholder Relations at the address listed above.
Our financial and operating results are subject to a number of risk factors, many of which are not within our control. Although we have tried to discuss key risk factors below, please be aware that other or new risks may prove to be important in the future. Investors should carefully consider the following discussion of risk factors as well as other information appearing in this report. These factors include the following:
The Company is dependent on continued access to the credit and capital markets to execute our business strategy.
Our long-term debt is currently rated as “investment grade” by Standard & Poor’s Corporation, Moody’s Investors Services, Inc. and Fitch Ratings, Ltd. Similar to most companies, we rely upon access to both short-term and long-term credit and capital markets to satisfy our liquidity requirements. If adverse credit conditions were to cause a significant limitation on our access to the private and public capital markets, we could see a reduction in our liquidity. A significant reduction in our liquidity could in turn trigger a negative change in our ratings outlook or even a reduction in our credit ratings by one or more of the three credit rating agencies. Such a downgrade could further limit our access to private credit and/or public capital markets and increase our costs of borrowing.
Further, if our credit ratings were downgraded, we could be required to provide additional liquidity to our nonregulated segment because the commodity financial instrument markets could become unavailable to us. Our nonregulated segment depends primarily upon an intercompany lending facility between AEH and Atmos Energy to finance its working capital needs, supplemented by two small credit facilities with outside lenders. Our ability to provide this liquidity to AEH for our nonregulated operations is limited by the terms of the lending arrangement with AEH, which is subject to annual approval by one state regulatory commission.
While we believe we can meet our capital requirements from our operations and the sources of financing available to us, we can provide no assurance that we will continue to be able to do so in the future, especially if the market price of natural gas increases significantly in the near term. The future effects on our business, liquidity and financial results of a deterioration of current conditions in the credit and capital markets could be material and adverse to us, both in the ways described above or in other ways that we do not currently anticipate.
We are subject to state and local regulations that affect our operations and financial results.
Our natural gas distribution and regulated transmission and storage segments are subject to regulatory oversight from various state and local regulatory authorities in the eight states that we serve. Therefore, our returns are continuously monitored and are subject to challenge for their reasonableness by the appropriate regulatory authorities or other third-party intervenors. In the normal course of business, a regulated entity often needs to place assets in service and establish historical test periods before rate cases that seek to adjust our allowed returns to recover that investment can be filed. Further, the regulatory review process can be lengthy. Because of this process, we suffer the negative financial effects of having placed assets in service without the benefit of rate relief, which is commonly referred to as “regulatory lag.” The regulatory process also involves the risk that regulatory authorities may (i) review our purchases of natural gas and adjust the amount of our gas costs that we pass through to our customers or (ii) limit the costs we may have incurred from our cost of service that can be recovered from customers.
The continuation of recent economic conditions could adversely affect our customers and negatively impact our financial results.
The slowdown in the U.S. economy in the last several years, together with increased mortgage defaults and significant decreases in the values of homes and investment assets, has adversely affected the financial resources of many domestic households. It is unclear whether the administrative and legislative responses to these conditions will be successful in continuing to improve economic conditions, including the continued lowering of current high unemployment rates across the U.S. As a result, our customers may seek to use even less gas and it may become more difficult for them to pay their gas bills. This may slow collections and lead to higher than normal levels of accounts receivable. This in turn could increase our financing requirements and bad debt expense. Additionally, our industrial customers may seek alternative energy sources, which could result in lower sales volumes.
Inflation and increased gas costs could adversely impact our customer base and customer collections and increase our level of indebtedness.
Inflation has caused increases in some of our operating expenses and has required assets to be replaced at higher costs. We have a process in place to continually review the adequacy of our natural gas distribution gas rates in relation to the increasing cost of providing service and the inherent regulatory lag in adjusting those gas rates. Historically, we have been able to budget and control operating expenses and investments within the amounts authorized to be collected in rates and intend to continue to do so. However, the ability to control expenses is an important factor that could impact future financial results.
Rapid increases in the costs of purchased gas would cause us to experience a significant increase in short-term debt. We must pay suppliers for gas when it is purchased, which can be significantly in advance of when these costs may be recovered through the collection of monthly customer bills for gas delivered. Increases in purchased gas costs also slow our natural gas distribution collection efforts as customers are more likely to delay the payment of their gas bills, leading to higher than normal accounts receivable. This could result in higher short-term debt levels, greater collection efforts and increased bad debt expense.
We are exposed to market risks that are beyond our control, which could adversely affect our financial results and capital requirements.
We are subject to market risks beyond our control, including market liquidity, commodity price volatility caused by market supply and demand dynamics and counterparty creditworthiness and interest rate risk. Our regulated operations are generally insulated from commodity price risk through its purchased gas cost mechanisms. With respect to interest rate risk, we have been operating in a relatively low interest-rate environment in recent years compared to historical norms for both short and long-term interest rates. However, increases in interest rates could adversely affect our future financial results.
Although our nonregulated operations represent approximately five percent of our consolidated results, commodity price volatility experienced in this business segment could lead to some volatility in our earnings. Our nonregulated segment manages margins and limits risk exposure on the sale of natural gas inventory or the offsetting fixed-price purchase or sale commitments for physical quantities of natural gas through the use of a variety of financial instruments. However, contractual limitations could adversely affect our ability to withdraw gas from storage, which could cause us to purchase gas at spot prices in a rising market to obtain sufficient volumes to fulfill customer contracts. We could also realize financial losses on our efforts to limit risk as a result of volatility in the market prices of the underlying commodities or if a counterparty fails to perform under a contract. Any significant tightening of the credit markets could cause more of our counterparties to fail to perform than expected. In addition, adverse changes in the creditworthiness of our counterparties could limit the level of trading activities with these parties and increase the risk that these parties may not perform under a contract. These circumstances could also increase our capital requirements.
Although we manage our business to maintain no open positions related to our physical storage, there are times when limited net open positions may occur on a short-term basis. Net open positions may increase volatility in our financial condition or results of operations if market prices move in a significantly favorable or unfavorable manner before the open positions can be closed. The determination of our net open position as of the end of any particular trading day requires us to make assumptions as to future circumstances, including the use of gas by our customers in relation to our anticipated storage and market positions. Because the price risk associated with any net open position at the end of such day may increase if the assumptions are not realized, we review these assumptions as part of our daily monitoring activities. Further, if the local physical markets do not move consistently with the NYMEX futures market upon which most of our commodity derivative financial instruments are valued, we could experience increased volatility in the financial results of our nonregulated segment.
The concentration of our distribution, pipeline and storage operations in the State of Texas exposes our operations and financial results to economic conditions and regulatory decisions in Texas.
Over 50 percent of our natural gas distribution customers and most of our pipeline and storage assets and operations are located in the State of Texas. This concentration of our business in Texas means that our operations and financial results may be significantly affected by changes in the Texas economy in general and regulatory decisions by state and local regulatory authorities in Texas.
Our operations are subject to increased competition.
In residential and commercial customer markets, our natural gas distribution operations compete with other energy products, such as electricity and propane. Our primary product competition is with electricity for heating, water heating and cooking. Increases in the price of natural gas could negatively impact our competitive position by decreasing the price benefits of natural gas to the consumer. This could adversely impact our business if, as a result, our customer growth slows, reducing our ability to make capital expenditures, or if our customers further conserve their use of gas, resulting in reduced gas purchases and customer billings.
In the case of industrial customers, such as manufacturing plants, adverse economic conditions, including higher gas costs, could cause these customers to use alternative sources of energy, such as electricity, or bypass our systems in favor of special competitive contracts with lower per-unit costs. Our regulated transmission and storage operations historically have faced limited competition from other existing intrastate pipelines and gas marketers seeking to provide or arrange transportation, storage and other services for customers. However, in the last few years, several new pipelines have been completed, which has increased the level of competition in this segment of our business.
Finally, within our nonregulated operations, AEM competes with other natural gas marketers to provide natural gas management and other related services primarily to smaller customers requiring higher levels of balancing, scheduling and other related management services. AEM has experienced increased competition in recent years from competitors who offer lower cost, basic services.
Adverse weather conditions could affect our operations or financial results.
We have weather-normalized rates for over 95 percent of our residential and commercial meters in our natural gas distribution business, which substantially mitigates the adverse effects of warmer-than-normal weather for meters in those service areas. However, there is no assurance that we will continue to receive such regulatory protection from adverse weather in our rates in the future. The loss of such weather-normalized rates could have an adverse effect on our operations and financial results. In addition, our natural gas distribution and regulated transmission and storage operating results may continue to vary somewhat with the actual temperatures during the winter heating season. Sustained cold weather could adversely affect our nonregulated operations as we may be required to purchase gas at spot rates in a rising market to obtain sufficient volumes to fulfill some customer contracts. Additionally, sustained cold weather could challenge our ability to adequately meet customer demand in our natural gas distribution and regulated transmission and storage operations.
Our growth in the future may be limited by the nature of our business, which requires extensive capital spending.
We must continually build additional capacity in our natural gas distribution system to enable us to serve any growth in the number of our customers. The cost of adding this capacity may be affected by a number of factors, including the general state of the economy and weather. In addition, although we should ultimately recover the cost of the expenditures through rates, we must make significant capital expenditures to comply with rules issued by the RRC’s Division of Public Safety that require natural gas distribution companies to develop and implement risk-based programs for the renewal or replacement of distribution facilities, including steel service lines. Our cash flows from operations generally are sufficient to supply funding for all our capital expenditures, including the financing of the costs of new construction along with capital expenditures necessary to maintain our existing natural gas system. Due to the timing of these cash flows and capital expenditures, we often must fund at least a portion of these costs through borrowing funds from third-party lenders, the cost and availability of which is dependent on the liquidity of the credit markets, interest rates and other market conditions. This in turn may limit our ability to connect new customers to our system due to constraints on the amount of funds we can invest in our infrastructure.
The costs of providing health care benefits, pension and postretirement health care benefits and related funding requirements may increase substantially.
We provide health care benefits and a cash-balance pension plan and postretirement health care benefits to eligible full-time employees. The costs of providing health care benefits to our employees could significantly increase over time due to rapidly increasing health care inflation, the impact of the Health Care Reform Act of 2010 (HCR) and any future legislative changes related to the provision of health care benefits. Although the HCR is not expected to have a direct material impact when a number of its more significant provisions become effective in 2014, the impact of costs incurred by the insurance industry arising from the implementation of HCR on the Company are difficult to measure at this time.
The costs of providing a cash-balance pension plan and postretirement health care benefits to eligible full-time employees and related funding requirements could be influenced by changes in the market value of the assets funding our pension and postretirement health care plans. Any significant declines in the value of these investments could increase the costs of our
pension and postretirement health care plans and related funding requirements in the future. Further, our costs of providing such benefits and related funding requirements are also subject to a number of factors, including (i) changing demographics, including longer life expectancy of beneficiaries and an expected increase in the number of eligible former employees over the next five to ten years; and (ii) various actuarial calculations and assumptions, which may differ materially from actual results due primarily to changing market and economic conditions and higher or lower withdrawal rates.
The costs to the Company of providing these benefits and related funding requirements could also increase materially in the future, depending on the timing of the recovery, if any, of such costs through our rates.
We may experience increased federal, state and local regulation of the safety of our operations.
We are committed to constantly monitoring and maintaining our pipeline and distribution system to ensure that natural gas is delivered safely, reliably and efficiently through our network of more than 72,000 miles of pipeline and distribution lines. The pipeline replacement programs currently underway in several of our divisions typify the preventive maintenance and continual renewal that we perform on our natural gas distribution system in the eight states in which we currently operate. The safety and protection of the public, our customers and our employees is our top priority. However, due primarily to the unfortunate pipeline incident in California in 2010, natural gas distribution and pipeline companies are facing increasing federal, state and local oversight of the safety of their operations. Although we believe these costs should be ultimately recoverable through our rates, the costs of complying with such increased regulations may have at least a short-term adverse impact on our operating costs and financial results.
Some of our operations are subject to increased federal regulatory oversight that could affect our operations and financial results.
FERC has regulatory authority over some of our operations, including sales of natural gas in the wholesale gas market and the use and release of interstate pipeline and storage capacity. FERC has adopted rules designed to prevent market power abuse and market manipulation and to promote compliance with FERC’s other rules, policies and orders by companies engaged in the sale, purchase, transportation or storage of natural gas in interstate commerce. These rules carry increased penalties for violations. Although we have taken steps to structure current and future transactions to comply with applicable current FERC regulations, changes in FERC regulations or their interpretation by FERC or additional regulations issued by FERC in the future could also adversely affect our business, financial condition or financial results.
We are subject to environmental regulations which could adversely affect our operations or financial results.
We are subject to laws, regulations and other legal requirements enacted or adopted by federal, state and local governmental authorities relating to protection of the environment and health and safety matters, including those that govern discharges of substances into the air and water, the management and disposal of hazardous substances and waste, the clean-up of contaminated sites, groundwater quality and availability, plant and wildlife protection, as well as work practices related to employee health and safety. Environmental legislation also requires that our facilities, sites and other properties associated with our operations be operated, maintained, abandoned and reclaimed to the satisfaction of applicable regulatory authorities. Failure to comply with these laws, regulations, permits and licenses may expose us to fines, penalties or interruptions in our operations that could be significant to our financial results. In addition, existing environmental regulations may be revised or our operations may become subject to new regulations.
Our business may be subject in the future to additional regulatory and financial risks associated with global warming and climate change.
There have been a number of federal and state legislative and regulatory initiatives proposed in recent years in an attempt to control or limit the effects of global warming and overall climate change, including greenhouse gas emissions, such as carbon dioxide. The adoption of this type of legislation by Congress or similar legislation by states or the adoption of related regulations by federal or state governments mandating a substantial reduction in greenhouse gas emissions in the future could have far-reaching and significant impacts on the energy industry. Such new legislation or regulations could result in increased compliance costs for us or additional operating restrictions on our business, affect the demand for natural gas or impact the prices we charge to our customers. At this time, we cannot predict the potential impact of such laws or regulations that may be adopted on our future business, financial condition or financial results.
Distributing, transporting and storing natural gas involve risks that may result in accidents and additional operating costs.
Our natural gas distribution and pipeline and storage businesses involve a number of hazards and operating risks that cannot be completely avoided, such as leaks, accidents and operational problems, which could cause loss of human life, as well
as substantial financial losses resulting from property damage, damage to the environment and to our operations. We maintain liability and property insurance coverage in place for many of these hazards and risks. However, because some of our pipeline, storage and distribution facilities are near or are in populated areas, any loss of human life or adverse financial results resulting from such events could be large. If these events were not fully covered by insurance, our operations or financial results could be adversely affected.
Cyber-attacks or acts of cyber-terrorism could disrupt our business operations and information technology systems or result in the loss or exposure of confidential or sensitive customer, employee or Company information.
Our business operations and information technology systems may be vulnerable to an attack by individuals or organizations intending to disrupt our business operations and information technology systems. We use such systems to manage our natural gas distribution and intrastate pipeline operations and other business processes. Disruption of those systems could adversely impact our ability to safely deliver natural gas to our customers, operate our pipeline systems or serve our customers timely. Accordingly, if such an attack or act of terrorism were to occur, our operations and financial results could be adversely affected. In addition, we use our information technology systems to protect confidential or sensitive customer, employee and Company information developed and maintained in the normal course of our business. Any attack on such systems that would result in the unauthorized release of customer, employee or other confidential or sensitive data could have a material adverse effect on our business reputation, increase our costs and expose us to additional material legal claims and liability. Even though we have insurance coverage in place for many of these cyber-related risks, if such an attack or act of terrorism were to occur, our operations and financial results could be adversely affected.
Natural disasters, terrorist activities or other significant events could adversely affect our operations or financial results.
Natural disasters are always a threat to our assets and operations. In addition, the threat of terrorist activities could lead to increased economic instability and volatility in the price of natural gas that could affect our operations. Also, companies in our industry may face a heightened risk of exposure to actual acts of terrorism, which could subject our operations to increased risks. As a result, the availability of insurance covering such risks may be more limited, which could increase the risk that an event could adversely affect our operations or financial results.
Distribution, transmission and related assets
At September 30, 2013, in our natural gas distribution segment, we owned an aggregate of 67,146 miles of underground distribution and transmission mains throughout our gas distribution systems. These mains are located on easements or rights-of-way which generally provide for perpetual use. We maintain our mains through a program of continuous inspection and repair and believe that our system of mains is in good condition. Through our regulated transmission and storage segment we owned 5,628 miles of gas transmission and gathering lines as well as 110 miles of gas transmission and gathering lines through our nonregulated segment.
We own underground gas storage facilities in several states to supplement the supply of natural gas in periods of peak demand. The following table summarizes certain information regarding our underground gas storage facilities at September 30, 2013:
Additionally, we contract for storage service in underground storage facilities on many of the interstate pipelines serving us to supplement our proprietary storage capacity. The following table summarizes our contracted storage capacity at September 30, 2013:
Our administrative offices and corporate headquarters are consolidated in a leased facility in Dallas, Texas. We also maintain field offices throughout our service territory, the majority of which are located in leased facilities. The headquarters for our nonregulated operations are in Houston, Texas, with offices in Houston and other locations, primarily in leased facilities.
See Note 10 to the consolidated financial statements.
Our stock trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the trading symbol “ATO.” The high and low sale prices and dividends paid per share of our common stock for fiscal 2013 and 2012 are listed below. The high and low prices listed are the closing NYSE quotes, as reported on the NYSE composite tape, for shares of our common stock:
Dividends are payable at the discretion of our Board of Directors out of legally available funds. The Board of Directors typically declares dividends in the same fiscal quarter in which they are paid. The number of record holders of our common stock on October 31, 2013 was 16,746. Future payments of dividends, and the amounts of these dividends, will depend on our financial condition, results of operations, capital requirements and other factors. We sold no securities during fiscal 2013 that were not registered under the Securities Act of 1933, as amended.
The performance graph and table below compares the yearly percentage change in our total return to shareholders for the last five fiscal years with the total return of the S&P 500 Stock Index and the cumulative total return of a customized peer company group, the Comparison Company Index. The Comparison Company Index is comprised of natural gas distribution companies with similar revenues, market capitalizations and asset bases to that of the Company. The graph and table below assume that $100.00 was invested on September 30, 2008 in our common stock, the S&P 500 Index and in the common stock of the companies in the Comparison Company Index, as well as a reinvestment of dividends paid on such investments throughout the period.
Comparison of Five-Year Cumulative Total Return
among Atmos Energy Corporation, S&P 500 Index
and Comparison Company Index
The Comparison Company Index contains a hybrid group of utility companies, primarily natural gas distribution companies, recommended by our independent executive compensation consulting firm and approved by the Board of Directors. The companies included in the index are AGL Resources Inc., CenterPoint Energy Resources Corporation, CMS Energy Corporation, Integrys Energy Group, Inc., National Fuel Gas, NiSource Inc., ONEOK Inc., Piedmont Natural Gas Company, Inc., Questar Corporation, Vectren Corporation and WGL Holdings, Inc.
The following table sets forth the number of securities authorized for issuance under our equity compensation plans at September 30, 2013.
On September 28, 2011, the Board of Directors approved a program authorizing the repurchase of up to five million shares of common stock over a five-year period. The program is primarily intended to minimize the dilutive effect of equity grants under various benefit related incentive compensation plans of the Company. Although the program is authorized for a five-year period, it may be terminated or limited at any time. Shares may be repurchased in the open market or in privately negotiated transactions in amounts the Company deems appropriate. We did not repurchase any shares during fiscal 2013. At September 30, 2013, there were 4,612,009 shares of repurchase authority remaining under the program.
The following table sets forth selected financial data of the Company and should be read in conjunction with the consolidated financial statements included herein.
This section provides management’s discussion of the financial condition, changes in financial condition and results of operations of Atmos Energy Corporation and its consolidated subsidiaries with specific information on results of operations and liquidity and capital resources. It includes management’s interpretation of our financial results, the factors affecting these results, the major factors expected to affect future operating results and future investment and financing plans. This discussion should be read in conjunction with our consolidated financial statements and notes thereto.
Several factors exist that could influence our future financial performance, some of which are described in Item 1A above, “Risk Factors”. They should be considered in connection with evaluating forward-looking statements contained in this report or otherwise made by or on behalf of us since these factors could cause actual results and conditions to differ materially from those set out in such forward-looking statements.
Cautionary Statement for the Purposes of the Safe Harbor under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995
The statements contained in this Annual Report on Form 10-K may contain “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 statements other than statements of historical fact included in this Report are forward-looking statements made in good faith by us and are intended to qualify for the safe harbor from liability established by the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. When used in this Report, or any other of our documents or oral presentations, the words “anticipate”, “believe”, “estimate”, “expect”, “forecast”, “goal”, “intend”, “objective”, “plan”, “projection”, “seek”, “strategy” or similar words are intended to identify forward-looking statements. Such forward-looking statements are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from those expressed or implied in the statements relating to our strategy, operations, markets, services, rates, recovery of costs, availability of gas supply and other factors. These risks and uncertainties include the following: our ability to continue to access the credit markets to satisfy our liquidity requirements; regulatory trends and decisions, including the impact of rate proceedings before various state regulatory commissions; the impact of adverse economic conditions on our customers; the effects of inflation and changes in the availability and price of natural gas; market risks beyond our control affecting our risk management activities, including market liquidity, commodity price volatility, increasing interest rates and counterparty creditworthiness; the concentration of our distribution, pipeline and storage operations in Texas; increased competition from energy suppliers and alternative forms of energy; adverse weather conditions; the capital-intensive nature of our gas distribution business; increased costs of providing pension and postretirement health care benefits and increased funding requirements along with increased costs of health care benefits; possible increased federal, state and local regulation of the safety of our operations; increased federal regulatory oversight and potential penalties; the impact of environmental regulations on our business; the impact of possible future additional regulatory and financial risks associated with global warming and climate change on our business; the inherent hazards and risks involved in operating our gas distribution business; the threat of cyber-attacks or acts of cyber-terrorism that could disrupt our business operations and information technology systems; natural disasters, terrorist activities or other events and other risks and uncertainties discussed herein, all of which are difficult to predict and many of which are beyond our control. Accordingly, while we believe these forward-looking statements to be reasonable, there can be no assurance that they will approximate actual experience or that the expectations derived from them will be realized. Further, we undertake no obligation to update or revise any of our forward-looking statements whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise.
CRITICAL ACCOUNTING POLICIES
Our consolidated financial statements were prepared in accordance with accounting principles generally accepted in the United States. Preparation of these financial statements requires us to make estimates and judgments that affect the reported amounts of assets, liabilities, revenues and expenses and the related disclosures of contingent assets and liabilities. We base our estimates on historical experience and various other assumptions that we believe to be reasonable under the circumstances. Actual results may differ from estimates.
Our significant accounting policies are discussed in Note 2 to our consolidated financial statements. The accounting policies discussed below are both important to the presentation of our financial condition and results of operations and require
management to make difficult, subjective or complex accounting estimates. Accordingly, these critical accounting policies are reviewed periodically by the Audit Committee of the Board of Directors.
RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Atmos Energy Corporation is involved in the distribution, marketing and transportation of natural gas. Accordingly, our results of operations are impacted by the demand for natural gas, particularly during the winter heating season, and the volatility of the natural gas markets. Historically, this has generally resulted in higher operating revenues and net income during the period from October through March of each fiscal year and lower operating revenues and either lower net income or net losses during the period from April through September of each fiscal year. As a result of the seasonality of the natural gas industry, our second fiscal quarter has historically been our most critical earnings quarter with an average of approximately 54 percent of our consolidated net income having been earned in the second quarter during the three most recently completed fiscal years. However, we believe rate design changes implemented during the first quarter of fiscal 2013 in our Mid-Tex and West Texas Divisions should continue to cause this pattern to change. The rate design approved in these regulatory proceedings includes an increase to the customer base charge and a decrease in the consumption charge applied to customer usage. The effect of this change in rate design should result in a more equal distribution of operating income earned over the fiscal year for approximately 50 percent of our natural gas distribution segment.
Additionally, the seasonality of our business impacts our working capital differently at various times during the year. Typically, our accounts receivable, accounts payable and short-term debt balances peak by the end of January and then start to decline, as customers begin to pay their winter heating bills. Gas stored underground, particularly in our natural gas distribution segment, typically peaks in November and declines as we utilize storage gas to serve our customers.
During fiscal 2013, we earned $243.2 million, or $2.64 per diluted share, which represents a twelve percent increase in net income and diluted net income per share over fiscal 2012, primarily due to recent improvements in rate designs in our natural gas distribution and regulated transmission and storage segments combined with a two percent year-over-year increase in consolidated natural gas distribution throughput due to colder weather.
We completed the sale of our Georgia natural gas distribution operations on April 1, 2013 to Liberty Energy (Georgia) Corp., an affiliate of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. for a cash price of approximately $153 million pursuant to a purchase agreement executed on August 8, 2012. In connection with the sale, we recognized a net of tax gain of $5.3 million. Accordingly, the results of operations for this service area are shown in discontinued operations for all periods presented. Prior-year results also reflect our Illinois, Iowa and Missouri service areas in discontinued operations. The sale of these three service areas was completed in August 2012.
We also took several steps during the year ended September 30, 2013 to further strengthen our balance sheet and borrowing capability. In December 2012, we amended our $750 million revolving credit agreement primarily to (i) increase our borrowing capacity to $950 million while retaining the accordion feature that would allow an increase in borrowing capacity up to $1.2 billion and (ii) to permit same-day funding on base rate loans. In August 2013, we amended our revolving credit agreement primarily to increase the term through August 2018. We also terminated Atmos Energy Marketing’s $200 million committed and secured credit facility and replaced this facility with two $25 million 364-day bilateral facilities, which should result in a decrease in external credit expense incurred in our nonregulated operations. After giving effect to these changes, we have over $1 billion of working capital funding from four committed revolving credit facilities and one noncommitted revolving credit facility.
On January 11, 2013, we issued $500 million of 4.15% 30-year unsecured senior notes, which replaced, on a long-term basis, our $250 million 5.125% 10-year unsecured senior notes we redeemed in August 2012. The net proceeds of approximately $494 million were used to repay $260 million outstanding under the short-term financing facility used to redeem our 5.125% senior notes and to partially repay commercial paper borrowings and for general corporate purposes.
The following table presents our consolidated financial highlights for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2013, 2012 and 2011.
Regulated operations contributed 95 percent, 97 percent and 104 percent to our consolidated net income from continuing operations for fiscal years 2013, 2012 and 2011. Our consolidated net income during the last three fiscal years was earned across our business segments as follows:
The following table segregates our consolidated net income and diluted earnings per share between our regulated and nonregulated operations:
We reported net income of $243.2 million, or $2.64 per diluted share for the year ended September 30, 2013, compared with net income of $216.7 million or $2.37 per diluted share in the prior year. Income from continuing operations was $230.7 million, or $2.50 per diluted share compared with $192.2 million, or $2.10 per diluted share in the prior-year period. Income from discontinued operations was $12.5 million or $0.14 per diluted share for the year, which includes the gain on sale of substantially all our assets in Georgia of $5.3 million, compared with $24.5 million or $0.27 per diluted share in the prior year. Unrealized gains in our nonregulated operations during the current year increased net income by $5.3 million or $0.05 per diluted share compared with net losses recorded in the prior year of $5.0 million, or $0.05 per diluted share. Additionally, net income in both periods was impacted by nonrecurring items. In fiscal 2012, net income included the net positive impact of several one-time items totaling $10.3 million, or $0.11 per diluted share related to the pre-tax items, which are discussed in further detail below. In fiscal 2013, net income includes an $8.2 million ($5.3 million, net of tax), or $0.06 per diluted share, favorable impact related to the gain recorded in association with the April 1, 2013 completion of the sale of our Georgia assets.
We reported net income of $216.7 million, or $2.37 per diluted share for the year ended September 30, 2012, compared with net income of $207.6 million or $2.27 per diluted share in fiscal 2011. Income from continuing operations was $192.2 million, or $2.10 per diluted share compared with $189.6 million, or $2.07 per diluted share in fiscal 2011. Income from discontinued operations was $24.5 million or $0.27 per diluted share for the year, which includes the gain on sale of substantially all our assets in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa of $6.3 million, compared with $18.0 million or $0.20 per diluted share in fiscal 2011. Unrealized losses in our nonregulated operations during fiscal 2012 reduced net income by $5.0 million or $0.05 per diluted share compared with net losses recorded in fiscal 2011 of $6.6 million, or $0.07 per diluted share. Additionally, net income in both periods was impacted by nonrecurring items. In fiscal 2011, net income included the net positive impact of several one-time items totaling $3.2 million, or $0.03 per diluted share related to pre-tax items. In fiscal 2012, net income included the net positive impact of several one-time items totaling $10.3 million, or $0.11 per diluted share related to the following amounts:
See the following discussion regarding the results of operations for each of our business operating segments.
Natural Gas Distribution Segment
The primary factors that impact the results of our natural gas distribution operations are our ability to earn our authorized rates of return, the cost of natural gas, competitive factors in the energy industry and economic conditions in our service areas.
Our ability to earn our authorized rates is based primarily on our ability to improve the rate design in our various ratemaking jurisdictions by reducing or eliminating regulatory lag and, ultimately, separating the recovery of our approved margins from customer usage patterns. Improving rate design is a long-term process and is further complicated by the fact that
we operate in multiple rate jurisdictions. The “Ratemaking Activity” section of this Form 10-K describes our current rate strategy, progress towards implementing that strategy and recent ratemaking initiatives in more detail.
We are generally able to pass the cost of gas through to our customers without markup under purchased gas cost adjustment mechanisms; therefore the cost of gas typically does not have an impact on our gross profit as increases in the cost of gas are offset by a corresponding increase in revenues. Accordingly, we believe gross profit is a better indicator of our financial performance than revenues. However, gross profit in our Texas and Mississippi service areas include franchise fees and gross receipt taxes, which are calculated as a percentage of revenue (inclusive of gas costs). Therefore, the amount of these taxes included in revenue is influenced by the cost of gas and the level of gas sales volumes. We record the tax expense as a component of taxes, other than income. Although changes in revenue related taxes arising from changes in gas costs affect gross profit, over time the impact is offset within operating income.
Although the cost of gas typically does not have a direct impact on our gross profit, higher gas costs may adversely impact our accounts receivable collections, resulting in higher bad debt expense, and may require us to increase borrowings under our credit facilities resulting in higher interest expense. In addition, higher gas costs, as well as competitive factors in the industry and general economic conditions may cause customers to conserve or, in the case of industrial consumers, to use alternative energy sources. However, gas cost risk has been mitigated in recent years through improvements in rate design that allow us to collect from our customers the gas cost portion of our bad debt expense on approximately 75 percent of our residential and commercial margins.
We completed the sale of our Georgia natural gas distribution operations on April 1, 2013 to Liberty Energy (Georgia) Corp., an affiliate of Algonquin Power & Utilities Corp. for a cash price of approximately $153 million. In connection with the sale, we recognized a net of tax gain of $5.3 million. On August 1, 2012, we completed the sale of substantially all of our natural gas distribution operations in Missouri, Illinois and Iowa.
During fiscal 2013, we completed 13 regulatory proceedings, which should result in a $71.4 million increase in annual operating income. The majority of this rate increase related to our Mid-Tex Division, where rates became effective January 1, 2013. The rate design approved in our Mid-Tex Division and West Texas Division regulatory proceedings includes an increase to the base customer charge and a decrease in the commodity charge applied to customer consumption. The effect of this change in rate design allows the Company’s rates to be more closely aligned with the utility industry standard rate design. In addition, we anticipate these divisions will earn their operating income more ratably over the fiscal year as they are now less dependent on customer consumption.
Review of Financial and Operating Results
Financial and operational highlights for our natural gas distribution segment for the fiscal years ended September 30, 2013, 2012 and 2011 are presented below.