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TransAlta Renewables Reports First Quarter 2022 Results and Announces Mount Keith Transmission Expansion Project

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CALGARY, AB, May 4, 2022 /CNW/ -

First Quarter 2022 Financial Highlights

  • Adjusted EBITDA(1),(2) of $139 million, an increase of 13% to the same period in 2021

  • Free cash flow ("FCF")(1),(3) of $108 million, an increase of 9% to the same period in 2021

  • Cash available for distribution ("CAFD")(1) of $90 million or $0.34 per share, consistent on a per-share basis compared to 2021

  • Earnings before income taxes of $49 million, a decrease of 20% from 2021

  • Cash flow from operating activities of $103 million, consistent with the same period in 2021

Other Business Highlights & Updates

  • Recognized on the Clean200 global list of publicly traded companies leading the way with solutions for the transition to a clean energy future by Corporate Knights and As You Sow.

  • Reached agreement with BHP Nickel West ("BHP") to expand the Mount Keith transmission system to support the Northern Goldfields-based operations of BHP. Total construction capital of the project is estimated at AU$50 - $53 million and will generate annual EBITDA of AU$6 - $7 million once completed in the second half of 2023.

  • The Company expects to finalize the rehabilitation plan for the Kent Hills 1 and 2 wind facilities and conclude negotiations with New Brunswick Power Corporation ("NB Power") and project lenders during the second quarter of 2022. Current estimates of the capital expenditures required for the rehabilitation of the 50 foundations, and the replacement of the wind turbine destroyed with the tower collapse in the fall of 2021, is now expected to be in the range of $120 million, inclusive of contingency.

TransAlta Renewables Inc. ("TransAlta Renewables" or the "Company") (TSX: RNW) announced today financial results for the three months ended March 31, 2022.

"Our first quarter's results reflect the growth in the portfolio we delivered during 2021. Compared to the first quarter of 2021, we added 428 MW of contracted growth generation to our fleet through a dropdown of assets from TransAlta including Windrise wind, Skookumchuck wind, Ada cogen and the acquisition of an economic interest in a solar facility in North Carolina. These facilities have further increased our diversification by adding contracted capacity in our core operating regions and offsetting the impact of the ongoing outage at Kent Hills," said Todd Stack, President. "We are also pleased to announce another expansion project in Western Australia through our agreement with BHP to expand the Mount Keith transmission system. This project will facilitate the connection of additional generating capacity to our network and will support BHP's operations increasing their competitiveness as a sustainable supplier of low-carbon nickel," added Mr. Stack.

First Quarter 2022 Highlights

$ millions, unless otherwise stated

3 Months Ended

March 31, 2022

March 31, 2021

Renewable energy production (GWh)(2)

1,310

1,109

Revenues

143

126

Adjusted EBITDA(1)

139

123

Earnings before income taxes

49

61

Net earnings attributable to common shareholders

41

52

Cash flow from operating activities

103

103

Free cash flow(1)

108

99

Cash available for distribution(1)

90

90

Net earnings per share attributable to common shareholders, basic and diluted

0.15

0.19

Free cash flow per share(1)(3)

0.40

0.37

Cash available for distribution per share(1)(4)

0.34

0.34

Dividends declared and paid per common share

0.23

0.23

First Quarter 2022 Results Summary

The Company's renewable power production increased by 201 GWh for the three months ended March 31, 2022 compared to the same period in 2021. This increase was mainly due to the production from the recently commissioned Windrise wind facility, the acquisition of the economic interests in the Skookumchuck wind facility and the North Carolina Solar facility, higher wind resources in Canada and in the US, partially offset by the extended facility outage at the Kent Hills 1 and 2 wind facilities.

Adjusted EBITDA increased by $16 million to $139 million for the three months ended March 31, 2022 compared to 2021. The increase in adjusted EBITDA was a result of higher wind resources and the incremental production from the new facilities acquired and commissioned throughout 2021. This was partially offset by the extended site outage at the Kent Hills 1 and 2 wind facilities.

Net earnings attributable to common shareholders decreased by $11 million to $41 million, primarily due to the extended outage at the Kent Hills 1 and 2 wind facilities in the Canadian Wind segment and lower finance income related to subsidiaries of TransAlta due to an increase in distributions being classified as a return of capital. This decrease was partially offset by higher earnings from the addition of the Windrise wind facility, including the liquidated damages related to turbine performance at the Windrise wind facility.

Cash flow from operating activities for the three months ended March 31, 2022 was consistent with the same period in 2021, primarily as the increase in production from the new facilities offset the reduction in production from the extended outage at the Kent Hills 1 and 2 wind facilities.

FCF or the three months ended March 31, 2022 increased by $9 million, due to higher adjusted EBITDA and lower provisions, partially offset by increased sustaining capital expenditures within our Wind, Solar and Australian Gas segments.

CAFD for the three months ended March 31, 2022 has remained consistent period over period.

Significant Events and Other Updates

Mount Keith 132kV Transmission Expansion

During the second quarter of 2022, the Company announced that Southern Cross Energy, a subsidiary of TransAlta Corporation and an entity in which the Company owns an indirect economic interest, had agreed to expand the Mt. Keith 132kV transmission system in Western Australia, to support the Northern Goldfields-based operations of BHP Nickel West ("BHP"). Total construction capital of the project is estimated between AU$50-$53 million. Southern Cross Energy has entered into an engineering, procurement and construction agreement with ASX-listed GenusPlus Group Ltd for the expansion. The project is being developed under the existing Power Purchase Agreement ("PPA") with BHP, which has a term of 15 years. It is expected to be completed in the second half of 2023 and will generate annual EBITDA in the range of AU$6-$7 million. In addition, the planned completion date should allow at least a portion of the project to qualify for Australia's "Temporary Full Expensing" COVID-19 tax benefit. The project will facilitate the connection of additional generating capacity to our network to support BHP's operations and increase their competitiveness as a supplier of low-carbon nickel.

Kent Hills Wind Facilities Rehabilitation Progress

During the first quarter of 2022, the extended outage at Kent Hills 1 and 2 wind facilities continued and rehabilitation efforts for the foundations is expected to commence during the second quarter of 2022 with the aim of fully returning the wind facilities to service in the second half of 2023.

The Kent Hills foundation rehabilitation capital expenditures were originally estimated to range from $75 million to $100 million. The current estimate of the capital expenditures is approximately $120 million, inclusive of contingency. The cost increase is a result of the adoption of a more robust foundation design, inflationary cost pressures and an accelerated timeline to return the turbines to service ahead of December 2023. We are also currently in advanced stages of discussions with NB Power and expect to enter into definitive agreements in the second quarter of 2022. In connection with the potential events of default that may have occurred under the trust indenture governing the terms of the bonds secured by among other things, the Kent Hills project, Kent Hills Wind LP is also in active negotiations with the trustee and the holders of the bonds to obtain a waiver and expects that it will enter into a supplemental indenture during the second quarter of 2022.

Subject to satisfactory resolution of the various commercial matters, the construction work for the rehabilitation of the Kent Hills 1 and 2 wind facilities is expected to commence during the second quarter of 2022. The Company is actively evaluating any options that may be available to recover these costs from third parties and insurance.

TransAlta Renewables Named to Clean200 List

During the first quarter, the Company was recognized by Corporate Knights and As You Sow on the Clean200 global list of publicly traded companies leading the way with solutions for the transition to a clean energy future. The Clean200 are the largest 200 public companies ranked by green energy revenues.

Liquidity and Financial Position

The Company remains highly diversified with facilities that are highly contracted and located in core geographies. Cash flows from the underlying asset portfolio are also supported by the financial strength of customers. The Company continues to maintain a strong financial position and currently has access to over $0.9 billion in liquidity including $278 million of cash.

Notes


(1)

These items are not defined and have no standardized meaning under IFRS. Please refer to Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Measures section of this earnings release for further discussion of these items, including, where applicable, reconciliations to measures calculated in accordance with IFRS.

(2)

Includes production from Canadian Wind, Canadian Hydro and US Wind and Solar and excludes Canadian, US and Australian gas-fired generation. Production is not a key revenue driver for gas-fired facilities as most of their revenues are capacity-based.

(3)

Free cash flow ("FCF") per share is calculated as free cash flow divided by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period of 267 million shares as at March 31, 2022 (March 31, 2021 - 267 million shares). In the fourth quarter of 2021, the adjusted funds from operations was replaced with free cash flow to better reflect the proxy for cash generated from operating activities and the composition of the metric has been changed accordingly. Comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to the current period's presentation.

(4)

Cash available for distribution ("CAFD") per share is calculated as CAFD divided by the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period of 267 million shares as at March 31, 2022 (March 31, 2021 - 267 million shares).

Non-IFRS Measures

We evaluate our performance using a variety of measures to provide management and investors with an understanding of our financial position and results. Certain of the measures discussed in this earnings release and in the MD&A are not defined under IFRS and, therefore, should not be considered in isolation, or as a substitute for, or as an alternative to, or to be more meaningful than measures as determined in accordance with IFRS when assessing our financial performance or liquidity. These measures have no standardized meaning under IFRS and may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other issuers.

The Company's key non-IFRS measures are adjusted EBITDA, FCF and CAFD. In the fourth quarter of 2021, comparable EBITDA was relabelled as adjusted EBITDA to align with industry standard terminology. The Adjusted Funds from Operations ("AFFO") was replaced with FCF to better reflect the proxy for cash generated from operating activities. The composition of the metric has been changed accordingly. Notably, tax equity distributions have been removed from the composition of AFFO in the determination of FCF and it has been included in CAFD, as it reflects a settlement of a financial liability. Comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to the current period's presentation.

Adjusted EBITDA
Adjusted EBITDA is an important metric for management since it represents our core business profitability. Interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization are not included, as differences in accounting treatments may distort our core business results. We present adjusted EBITDA along with operational information of the assets in which we own an economic interest so that readers can better understand and evaluate the drivers of those assets in which we have an economic interest. Since the economic interests are designed to provide the Company with returns as if we owned the assets themselves, presenting the operational information and adjusted EBITDA provides a more complete picture for readers to understand the underlying nature of the investments and the resultant cash flows that would otherwise only be presented as finance income from the investments.

Adjusted EBITDA is comprised of our reported EBITDA adjusted to exclude the impact of unrealized mark-to-market gains and losses and asset impairments, plus the adjusted EBITDA of the facilities in which we hold an economic interest, which is the facilities' reported EBITDA adjusted for: 1) finance lease income and the change in the finance lease receivable amount; 2) contractually fixed management costs; 3) interest earned on the prepayment of certain transmission costs; and 4) the impact of unrealized mark-to-market gains or losses.

Free Cash Flow
FCF represents the amount of cash that is available from operations and investments in subsidiaries of TransAlta in which we have an economic interest, to invest in growth initiatives, to make scheduled principal repayments on debt, to repay maturing debt, to pay common share dividends or to repurchase common shares. Changes in working capital are excluded so that FCF is not distorted by changes that we consider temporary in nature, reflecting, among other things, the impact of seasonal factors and the timing of receipts and payments.

FCF is calculated as the cash flow from operating activities before changes in working capital, less sustaining capital expenditures, distributions paid to subsidiaries' non-controlling interest, finance income from economic interests and principal repayments on lease obligations, plus FCF of the assets owned through economic interests, which is calculated as adjusted EBITDA from the economic interests less interest expense, sustaining capital expenditures, current income tax expense, insurance recovery and working capital and other timing. FCF per share is calculated using the weighted average number of common shares outstanding during the period.

Cash Available for Distribution
CAFD can be used as a proxy for the cash that will be available to common shareholders of the Company. CAFD is calculated as FCF less tax equity distributions and scheduled principal repayments of amortizing debt.

One of the primary objectives of the Company is to provide reliable and stable cash flows, and presenting FCF and CAFD assists readers in assessing our cash flows in comparison to prior periods. See the Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Measures section of this earnings release for additional information.

Reconciliation of these non-IFRS financial measures to the most comparable IFRS measure are provided below.

Reconciliation of Non-IFRS Measures

Since the economic interests are designed to provide the Company with returns as if we owned the assets ourselves, presenting the operating information and adjusted EBITDA provides a more complete picture to understand the underlying nature of the investments and the resultant cash flows that would otherwise only be presented as finance income from investments.

The following tables reflects adjusted EBITDA and provides reconciliation to earnings before income taxes for the three months ended March 31, 2022 and March 31, 2021:


Owned Assets

Economic Interests




3 months ended

March 31, 2022

$ millions

Canadian

Wind

Canadian

Hydro

Canadian Gas

Corporate

US Wind
and Solar

US Gas

Australian Gas

Total

Investments

in Economic
Interests and
Adjustments

IFRS Financials

Revenues(1)

70

4

69

31

6

43

223

(80)

143

Fuel, royalties and other costs(2)

4

1

40

1

3

2

51

(6)

45

Gross margin

66

3

29

30

3

41

172

(74)

98

Operations, maintenance, and administration(3)

9

2

8

6

4

1

7

37

(12)

25

Taxes, other than income taxes

1

1

1

3

(1)

2

Net other operating income

(7)

(7)

(7)

Adjusted EBITDA(4)

63

1

20

(6)

25

2

34

139

(61)

78

Depreciation and amortization










(37)

Finance income related to subsidiaries of TransAlta










19

Interest income










1

Interest expense










(13)

Foreign exchange gain










1

Earnings before income tax










49

(1)

Adjusted EBITDA excludes the impact of unrealized mark-to market gains or losses. Amounts related to economic interests include finance lease income adjusted for change in finance lease receivable.

(2)

Amounts related to economic interests include interest earned on the prepayment of certain transmission costs.

(3)

Amounts related to economic interests include the effect of contractually fixed management costs.

(4)

Adjusted EBITDA is a non-IFRS measure and has no standardized meaning under IFRS. Refer to the Additional IFRS Measures and Non-IFRS Measures sections for further details.


Owned Assets

Economic Interests




3 months ended

March 31, 2021

$ millions

Canadian

Wind

Canadian

Hydro

Canadian Gas

Corporate

US Wind and Solar

US Gas

Australian Gas

Total

Investments
in Economic
Interests

IFRS Financials

Revenues(1)

70

3

54

22

43

192

(66)

126

Fuel, royalties and other costs(2)

2

26

1

1

30

(2)

28

Gross margin

68

3

28

21

42

162

(64)

98

Operations, maintenance, and administration(3)

9

2

7

6

2

10

36

(12)

24

Taxes, other than income taxes

2

1

3

(1)

2

Adjusted EBITDA(4)

57

1

21

(6)

18

32

123

(51)

72

Depreciation and amortization










(34)

Finance income related to subsidiaries of TransAlta










29

Interest income










2

Interest expense










(10)

Foreign exchange gain










2

Earnings before income tax










61

(1)

Adjusted EBITDA excludes the impact of unrealized mark-to market gains or losses. Amounts related to economic interests include finance lease income adjusted for change in finance lease receivable.

(2)

Amounts related to economic interests include interest earned on the prepayment of certain transmission costs.

(3)

Amounts related to economic interests include the effect of contractually fixed management costs.

(4)

Adjusted EBITDA is a non-IFRS measure and has no standardized meaning under IFRS. Refer to the Additional IFRS Measures and Non-IFRS Measures sections for further details.

Reconciliation of Reported Cash Flow from Operating Activities to FCF and CAFD

3 months ended March 31,

$ millions

2022

2021

Cash flow from operating activities

103

103

Change in non-cash operating working capital balances

(17)

(15)

Cash flow from operations before changes in working capital

86

88

Adjustments:



Sustaining capital expenditures – owned assets

(4)

(1)

Finance income – economic interests(1)

(19)

(29)

FCF - economic interest(1)

45

41

FCF(2, 3)

108

99

Deduct:



Tax equity distributions

(10)

(6)

Principal repayments of amortizing debt

(8)

(3)

CAFD(2)

90

90

Weighted average number of common shares outstanding in

the period (millions)

267

267

FCF per share(2)

0.40

0.37

CAFD per share(2)

0.34

0.34

(1)

Refer to the Reconciliation of FCF to Finance Income Related to Subsidiaries of TransAlta below in this earnings release.

(2)

These items are non-IFRS measures and have no standardized meaning under IFRS. Refer to the Additional IFRS Measures and Non-IFRS Measures sections for further details.

(3)

In the fourth quarter of 2021, the adjusted funds from operations was replaced with free cash flow to better reflect the proxy for cash generated from operating activities and the composition of the metric has been changed accordingly. Comparative figures have been reclassified to conform to the current period's presentation. Please refer to the Non-IFRS Measures section of this earnings release for discussion on the composition of free cash flow.

Reconciliation of FCF to Finance Income Related to Subsidiaries of TransAlta
The following table is a reconciliation of the finance income recognized on those assets we hold an economic interest in.

3 months ended March 31,

$ millions

2022

2021

Finance income related to subsidiaries of TransAlta

19

29

Tax equity distributions

10

6

Principal repayments of amortizing debt

5

Return of capital and redemptions

18

8

Effects of changes in working capital and other timing

(7)

(2)

FCF(1)

45

41

(1)

This item is a non-IFRS measure and has no standardized meaning under IFRS. Refer to the Additional IFRS Measures and Non-IFRS Measures sections for further details.

Reconciliation of adjusted EBITDA to FCF and CAFD


Owned Assets

Economic Interests


3 months ended March 31, 2022

Canadian

Wind

Canadian

Hydro

Canadian
Gas

Corporate

US Wind
and Solar

US Gas

Australian
Gas

Total

Adjusted EBITDA(1)

63

1

20

(6)

25

2

34

139

Provisions and contract liabilities

(1)

(1)

Interest expense

(11)

(6)

(17)

Current income tax expense

(1)

(5)

(6)

Sustaining capital expenditures

(3)

(1)

(1)

(3)

(8)

Interest income

1

1

FCF(2)

59

1

19

(16)

23

2

20

108

Deduct:









Tax equity distributions

(10)

(10)

Principal repayments of

amortizing debt

(3)

(5)

(8)

CAFD(2)

56

1

19

(16)

13

2

15

90

(1)

Adjusted EBITDA is defined in the Additional IFRS Measures and Non-IFRS Measures section and reconciled to earnings before income taxes above.

(2)

FCF and CAFD are defined in the Additional IFRS Measures and Non-IFRS Measures section and reconciled to cash flow from operating activities above.


Owned Assets

Economic Interests


3 months ended March 31, 2021

Canadian

Wind

Canadian

Hydro

Canadian
Gas

Corporate

US Wind
and Solar

US Gas

Australian
Gas

Total

Adjusted EBITDA(1)

57

1

21

(6)

18

32

123

Provisions

(6)

(6)

Interest expense

(9)

(6)

(15)

Current income tax expense

(1)

(4)

(5)

Sustaining capital expenditures

(1)

(1)

Currency adjustment and interest

income


2

1

3

FCF(2)

50

1

21

(14)

18

23

99

Deduct:









Tax equity distributions

(6)

(6)

Principal repayments of

amortizing debt

(3)

(3)

CAFD(2)

47

1

21

(14)

12

23

90

(1)

Adjusted EBITDA is defined in the Additional IFRS Measures and Non-IFRS Measures section and reconciled to earnings before income taxes above.

(2)

FCF and CAFD are defined in the Additional IFRS Measures and Non-IFRS Measures section and reconciled to cash flow from operating activities above.

A complete copy of TransAlta Renewables' first quarter MD&A and unaudited financial statements are available through TransAlta Renewables' website at www.transaltarenewables.com or at SEDAR at www.sedar.com.

About TransAlta Renewables Inc.

TransAlta Renewables is among the largest of any publicly traded renewable independent power producers ("IPP") in Canada. Our asset platform and economic interests are diversified in terms of geography, generation and counterparties and consist of interests in 26 wind facilities, 13 hydroelectric facilities, eight natural gas generation facilities, two solar facilities, one natural gas pipeline, and one battery storage project, representing an ownership interest of 2,968 megawatts of owned generating capacity, located in the provinces of British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario, Québec, New Brunswick, the States of Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Wyoming, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Washington, North Carolina, and the State of Western Australia. Our objectives are to (i) provide stable, consistent returns for investors through the ownership of, and investment in, highly contracted renewable and natural gas power generation and other infrastructure assets that provide stable cash flow primarily through long-term contracts with strong counterparties; (ii) pursue and capitalize on strategic growth opportunities in the renewable and natural gas power generation and other infrastructure sectors; (iii) maintain diversity in terms of geography, generation and counterparties; and (iv) pay out 80 to 85 per cent of cash available for distribution to the shareholders of the Company on an annual basis.

Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward Looking Information

This news release contains forward looking statements, including statements regarding the business and anticipated financial performance of the Company that are based on the Company's current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions in light of its experience and its perception of historical trends. In some cases, forward-looking statements can be identified by terminology such as "plans", "expects", "proposed", "will", "anticipates", "develop", "continue", and similar expressions suggesting future events or future performance. In particular, this news release contains forward-looking statements, pertaining to, without limitation, the following: our strategy and growth plans; ability to provide stable, consistent returns for investors through the ownership of, and investment in, highly contracted renewable and natural gas power generation and other infrastructure assets; the expansion of the Mount Keith transmission system and the expectation this will facilitate the connection of additional generating capacity to the network; the total construction capital of the Mount Keith transmission project, the timing of commercial operation and the expected annual EBITDA to be generated from such project; and the remediation of the Kent Hills wind facility, including the cost and timing of rehabilitation and that the Company will be able to secure a commercial agreement with New Brunswick Power Corporation or holders of the bonds. The forward-looking statements contained in this news release are based on current expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions, having regard to the Corporation's experience and its perception of historical trends, and includes, but is not limited to, expectations, estimates, projections and assumptions relating to: impacts of COVID-19 not becoming significantly more onerous; foreign exchange rates; the availability and cost of labour, services and infrastructure; and the satisfaction by third parties of their obligations, including under power purchase agreements. The forward looking statements are subject to a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual plans, actions and results to differ materially from current expectations including, but not limited to: competitive factors in the renewable power industry; operational breakdowns, failures, or other disruptions; changes in economic and market conditions; continued access to debt, tax equity, and capital markets; changes in tax, environmental, and other laws and regulations; adverse weather impacts; adverse commercial impacts at the Sarnia cogeneration facility; disruptions to the Company's supply chain; inability to secure all required approvals and consents for the Mount Keith expansion project; and other risks and uncertainties discussed in the Company's materials filed with the Canadian securities regulatory authorities from time to time and as also set forth in the Company's MD&A and Annual Information Form for the year ended December 31, 2021. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which reflect the Company's expectations only as of the date of this news release. The purpose of the financial outlooks contained in this news release are to give the reader information about management's current expectations and plans and readers are cautioned that such information may not be appropriate for other purposes and is given as of the date of this news release. The Company disclaims any intention or obligation to update or revise these forward-looking statements, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, except as required by law.

Note: All financial figures are in Canadian dollars unless noted otherwise.

SOURCE TransAlta Renewables Inc

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