Released By Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. News Release
April 17, 2003

PACIFIC NORTHERN GAS REPORTS FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS AND DECLARES SECOND QUARTER DIVIDENDS

VANCOUVER, BRITISH COLUMBIA - Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. (PNG) announced today that net income for the first three months of 2003 was $3.7 million, compared with $3.3 million for the corresponding period in 2002.  After providing for preferred share dividends, earnings per common share in the first three months of 2003 were $1.01 compared with $0.91 for the first three months of 2002. 

 

Net income reported for the quarter ended March 31, 2003 benefited from a $0.4 million reduction in income tax expense, compared with the corresponding period in 2002. Income tax expense was lower due to a two percent decrease in the statutory tax rate and reductions in non-deductible expenses for tax purposes.

 

Operating revenues in the first three months of 2003 increased to $41.7 million, compared with $36.1 million in the first three months of 2002.  The increase in operating revenues is largely due to a $5 million increase in sales of gas surplus to the needs of the Company’s sales customers (“off-system sales”) in the first three months of 2003, compared with the corresponding period in 2002.

 

Operating margin in the first three months of 2003 decreased to $15.8 million, compared with $16.8 million in the first three months of 2002.  The decrease in operating margin is due to reductions in amortization expense and company use gas that were passed on to customers when determining 2003 rates.  

 

Deliveries to residential and commercial customers were 12 percent lower in the first quarter of 2003 compared to the same period in 2002 mainly due to weather being six percent warmer in 2003.  The reduction in deliveries did not significantly impact operating margin due to the existence of a deferral account to record the variance between actual and budgeted deliveries for these two customer classes.

 

The Board of Directors declared a quarterly dividend of 20 cents per share on the Company’s Class A and Class B Common Shares, payable June 23, 2003 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 6, 2003.

 

The Board of Directors also declared a semi-annual dividend of 84.375 cents per share on the Company’s 6-3/4 percent cumulative, redeemable preferred shares, payable July 1, 2003 to shareholders of record at the close of business on June 10, 2002.

   

Headquartered in Vancouver, British Columbia, Pacific Northern Gas Ltd. (TSE:PNG.A/ PNG.PR.A) owns and operates natural gas transmission and distribution systems.  The Company’s western transmission line extends from the Duke Energy Gas Transmission (formerly Westcoast Energy) system north of Prince George to tidewater at Kitimat and Prince Rupert, and provides service to 12 communities and a number of industrial facilities.  In the northeast, Pacific Northern’s subsidiary Pacific Northern Gas (N.E.) Ltd. provides gas distribution service in the Dawson Creek, Fort St. John and Tumbler Ridge areas. Further information is available on the Company’s Web site at: www.pacificnortherngas.com.

 

First Quarter Consolidated Results

3 Month Period Ending

March 31 ($ thousand, except for per share data)

 

2003

2002

Operating revenues

41,683

36,090

Cost of sales

25,860

19,320

Operating margin

15,823

16,770

 

 

 

Net income applicable to common shares

3,609

3,232

Earnings per common share – basic

$1.01

$0.91

Earnings per common share – diluted

$0.99

$0.90

Operating cash flow

5,743

5,780

 

Contact: Elizabeth A. Fletcher
Phone: 604/691-5684
24 Hour Phone: n/a
Email: n/a