Major Propane Supplier Reports Loss

Inergy Partners LP has reported a third-quarter loss but puts it down to the seasonal fall-off in summer propane demand. (image: cannoncorp.us)

One of the nation’s biggest propane suppliers has reported a third-quarter loss due to the seasonal nature of the propane business.

Inergy Partners LP reported a loss of $35.5 million – or 32 cents a unit – and said propane sales remained about flat. The result compared with a profit of $12.4 million, or 26 cents, a year earlier, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Revenue jumped 33 percent to $388.7 million as propane revenue rose by nearly a third.

Inergy CEO John Sherman said the company typically reported a loss in its third quarter due to the propane industry’s normal seasonal slump during the warmer summer months.

In this non-seasonal quarter, the propane operations were in line with the prior year; and we are preparing for the next winter heating season.

In a challenging macroeconomic environment, we remain focused on executing our major initiatives in core midstream markets and positioning the partnership to deliver long-term value to our unit holders.

Inergy’s bottom line has benefited from a streak of acquisitions last year, including the $2.1 billion purchase of its general partner Inergy Holdings LP. The company has also diversified by adding to its natural-gas storage operations and, like many other companies, has taken advantage of low interest rates to refinance its debt.

Inergy has also disclosed plans to take its northeast US midstream storage and transportation business public.

The company plans to form a new partnership – Inergy Midstream L.P. – to own and operate about 41 billion cubic feet of natural gas storage capacity and about 825 million cubic feet per day of natural gas transportation capacity.

The company plans to complete an initial public offering of Inergy Midstream no earlier than the fourth quarter.

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