I can only speak for myself, but I believe that most people like warm weather better than cold weather. But the weather does play a key role in some areas of commerce. The winter that is almost behind us (it still gets cold in Chicago at night), but it was a mild winter compared to recent years. According to NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), the 2015-2016 winter was 13% warmer in the contiguous United States.
This warmer weather negatively impacted Suburban Propane Partners LP (SPH), and they are our Zacks Bear of the Day.
This Zacks Ranked #5 (Strong Sell) company is a publicly traded Delaware limited partnership is engaged, through subsidiaries, in the retail and wholesale marketing of propane and related appliances and services. The Partnership believes it is the third largest retail marketer of propane in the United States, Suburban Propane Partners serves active residential, commercial, industrial and agricultural customers from customer service centers in over 40 states. The Partnership’s operations are concentrated in the east and west coast regions of the United States.
In their most recent earnings report, the company saw year over year declines in adjusted EBITDA -32.3%, retail propane gallons sold -19.1%, sales of fuel oil -33.2%, revenues -32.6%, and average posted propane prices and fuel oil prices fell -27%, and -40.2% respectively.
According to Michael Stivala, President and CEO, “Our results for the second quarter of fiscal 2016 reflect the challenging operating environment stemming from record warm temperatures during this year’s heating season that adversely impacted customer demand during the quarter. The flexible nature of our cost structure and the strength of our balance sheet helped mitigate some of the short-term, weather-driven earnings shortfall. Despite the lower earnings, we continued to fund all of our working capital requirements without the need to borrow under our revolving credit facility and we ended the quarter with approximately $59.0 million of cash on hand.”
As you can see from the graph below, expectations for 2016 and 2017 are trending downwards.
SPH’s Decreasing Estimates
Estimates for Q3 16, Q4 16, FY 16, and FY 17 have all seen consensus earnings downgrades over the past 7 days; Q3 16 fell from -56 cents per share to -59 cents per share, Q4 16 dropped from -78 cents per share to -81 cents per share, while FY 16 slipped from 93 cents per share to 59 cents per share, and FY 17 fell from $1.96 to $1.80 per share.
Bottom Line: Try These Stocks Instead
The cold weather dampened revenues and declines in oil and propane prices significantly hurt both SPH’s top and bottom lines. If we have another warmer than normal winter in 2016-2017, the company will need to reevaluate many parts of their business especially their distribution channel.
If you are inclined to invest in the Oil Refining & Marketing MLP segment, you would be best served by looking into CVR Refining LP (CVRR), and or Midcoast Energy Partners LP (MEP), both of which carry a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy).
Note: Want more articles from this author? Scroll up to the top of this article and click the FOLLOW AUTHOR button to get an email each time a new article is published.
Want the latest recommendations from Zacks Investment Research? Today, you can download 7 Best Stocks for the Next 30 Days. Click to get this free report