Ferrellgas Loss Widens Significantly As Warm Weather Weighs On Propane Sales

Propane supplier Ferrellgas Partners L.P. said Wednesday it had a net loss of $654.8 million, or $6.68 per share, in its fiscal fourth quarter to July 31, wider than the loss of $58.2 million, or 64 cents a share, in the year-earlier period. Revenue rose to $409.5 million from $382.5 million. The FactSet consensus was for a loss of 46 cents a share and revenue of $462 million. "As we highlighted last quarter, record temperatures across the nation continue to have an adverse impact on the propane sector of our company and low oil prices have seriously damaged our midstream sector," Founder and Interim Chief Executive James Ferrell said in a statement. "In particular, unusually warm winters over the past two years drove down propane sales across all our geographies, and low crude oil prices have negatively impacted our midstream logistics business." The company said the increase in debt it took on to fund the acquisition of Bridger, a recent settlement with Jamex and the impact of warm weather had combined to raise its leverage ratio to close to the 5.5 times limit on some of its borrowing. The company has obtained an amendment raising the maximum leverage ratio to 5.9 times to 6.05 times over the next six quarters. it will now focus on reducing debt and lowering its leverage ratio, and may reduce its quarterly distribution to about $1.00 per unit vs. $2.05. Shares were not yet active in premarket trade, but are down 0.6% in the year so far, while the S&P 500 has gained 6%.

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