Star Gas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:SGU) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

Dec 06, 2019 • 11:00 am ET

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Star Gas Partners, L.P. (NYSE:SGU) Q4 2019 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript

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Presentation
Executive
Jeffrey M. Woosnam

us. Our performance this year was negatively impacted by a decision not to renew certain low margin accounts, by credit issues and general product pricing trends. Nevertheless, we are committed to improving this going forward as we assess our long-term growth strategy. We purposefully and significantly cut back on our concierge business this year, which following on the sale of our security business in 2018, leave Star more streamlined and better focused on its core products and services. At the same time, we continue to look at attractive acquisitions and during fiscal 2019 completed three transactions that strengthen our operating across several geographic areas. In the fourth quarter, we also repurchased 1.7 million units a decision designed to enhance shareholder value.

With that, I'll turn the call over to Rich to provide additional comments on the quarter and full year's results. Rich?

Executive
Richard F. Ambury

Thanks, Jeff and good morning everyone. For the quarter, the volume of home heating oil and propane volumes sold increased by 3 million gallons or 14%. The 22 million gallons as the additional volume provided from acquisitions and the timing of certain summertime deliveries more than offset the impact of net customer attrition. Sales of other petroleum products rose by 3 million gallons or 6% to 44 million gallons, largely due to acquisitions.

In the quarter our product gross profit did rise by about $5 million or about 15% due to higher per gallon margins and, of course, the increase in volume. Total operating costs decreased by $4 million to $78 million during the quarter as an increase in costs associated with acquisitions of about $3 million was more than offset by a decline in the base business of $7 million or 8%. Reduction in operating costs were noted across all departments.

The Company's net loss did widen and increased by $12.5 million to $34 million as an improvement in the adjusted EBITDA loss of $9 million was more than offset by an unfavorable but non-cash change in the fair value of derivatives of $10 million, and a $7 million gain recorded in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2018 related to the sale of our home security business.

The adjusted EBITDA loss was reduced by almost $9 million to $29 million largely due to an improvement in the base business. Again in the base business gross profit did rise and operating expenses declined by $7 million. The curtailment of the Company's concierge program and other expense control initiatives drove a reduction in operating costs. For the year on the whole, our home heating oil and propane volume declined by 12 million gallons or 3%. The 340 [Phonetic] million gallons as the additional volume provided by acquisitions and slightly colder weather was more than offset by the impact of net customer attrition, and other factors.

Temperatures for fiscal 2019 or eight-tenths of a percent colder than last year but still 4% warmer than normal. Our product gross profit increased by $21 million or 5%. The $468 million as the