TORONTO, March 30, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Northland Power Inc. ("Northland" or the "Company") (TSX: NPI) provides an update on the coronavirus ("COVID-19") pandemic’s impacts on its operations. From a financial perspective, Northland has ample liquidity, a strong balance sheet and given the relative stability of its revenue and free cash flow profile, the Company currently does not anticipate changes to its 2020 financial guidance as a result of COVID-19.
Northland continues to hold the health and safety of its employees, contractors and communities that it conducts business in as a top priority.
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Northland activated its crisis response plans at all of its sites and offices around the world. The Company implemented preventive measures including restricting business travel and shifting the Company's corporate and regional offices to work from home arrangements where possible. At the Company's facilities and job sites, increased screening procedures have been implemented, along with visitor restrictions, directives regarding social distancing, and routine temperature checks for all employees to ensure a safe environment for operations.
Currently, all of Northland’s facilities remain unimpacted by COVID-19 and are operating normally. However, the situation is very fluid, and the Company continues to monitor events and government directives and their potential impacts. The Company will pursue mitigating actions as necessary and available to ensure normal operations. While the offshore wind farms are contracted, there is some limited exposure to the wholesale market price. If market prices persist lower than forecast prices for an extended period, this could impact revenues. To date, the impacts of lower than forecast market pricing have been offset by higher than expected production.
Construction activities at our La Lucha solar project in Mexico are continuing under the expected precautions for COVID-19, including the coordination of communications and protocols with contractors and subcontractors, enhanced hygiene protocols and body temperature screening and other safety measures intended to minimize the potential transmission of COVID-19. The company remains in close communication with suppliers and subcontractors to ensure the project remains on schedule.
Northland continues to monitor the global COVID-19 situation very closely and is taking steps to ensure that its facilities and operations continue as normal as possible. The Company will provide updates on its operations with our first quarter results in early May 2020.
Strong Financial Position
The strength of Northland’s balance sheet and stable cash flow profile, which are underpinned by long-term revenue contracts, positions the company to weather the current environment with minimal expected interruption.
- Majority of revenue and free cash flow backed by long-term power revenue contracts with creditworthy entities and counterparties, with significant government support.
- Approximately $600 million of cash and cash equivalents on hand as at February 28, 2020.
- Northland’s total available corporate credit facilities amount to $1.2 billion, with nearly $500 million of available capacity as at February 28, 2020.
- The $1.0 billion revolver credit facility does not mature until June 2024.
- Northland has a BBB (Stable) investment grade credit rating by S&P, re-affirmed by S&P on March 9, 2020.
- Prudent use of leverage with little corporate level debt: Approximately 95% of Northland’s total debt is non-recourse, project level debt.
- No significant immediate debt maturities other than $150 million of Convertible Debentures, maturing in June 2020.
In addition to a strong balance sheet and liquidity fundamentals, and the relative stability of Northland’s revenue and free cash flow profile, the Company is currently in a position to maintain its 2020 financial guidance. For 2020, management continues to estimate adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion and free cash flow per share to be in the range of $1.70 to $2.05 per share. The Company will continue to monitor the rapidly changing business environment and will provide updates to its guidance estimates if needed.
New Business Development/Transactions
Northland is well positioned through its regional development offices to capture development opportunities that will help facilitate the global advancement of renewable energy targets. Despite the challenging environment that has resulted from the COVID-19 outbreak, Northland remains in strong financial shape and the company is taking advantage of its financial position and of the opportunities in the marketplace to further enhance its pipeline of growth projects. As such, the company would like to provide the following updates to its business.
Northland has successfully closed the previously announced Dado Ocean Wind Farm Co., Ltd. ("Dado Ocean") acquisition in South Korea. The project is in early stage development and includes multiple development sites located 35km off the southern coast of the Korean Peninsula. Since announcing the acquisition in late February, the company has identified additional early stage development sites in the proximity of the original sites, that could provide the opportunity to increase the development capacity to approximately 1.0 gigawatts (GW) of offshore wind. These opportunities will be developed together over the coming years.
Northland also announces the acquisition of the NaiKun Offshore Wind Farm ("the Project") from NaiKun Wind Energy Group Inc. ("NaiKun Group"). The Project is located in the Hecate Straight off the coast of British Columbia, Canada and is in early stages of development.
Upon successful completion of the acquisition, the Naikun Group will no longer be involved with the development and operations of the Project and Northland will be responsible for all aspects of the project moving forward. Northland will work closely with the Haida Nation to explore the Project details and potential involvement in the Project.
“Northland can apply both its global offshore wind experience and long track record developing Canadian power projects to this Project,” said Mike Crawley, President and Chief Executive Officer of Northland Power. “However, before anything else happens we will be reaching out to the Haida Nation to discuss the Project and how it could potentially move forward.”
The addition of these projects will bolster Northland’s extensive offshore wind portfolio, which encompasses over 1.2 GW of operating offshore wind in the North Sea, and additional development projects in Taiwan and Japan.
Northland will continue to manage the COVID-19 situation and will provide updates to investors if material changes to the current situation arise. While the Company’s primary focus is the health of its employees, it also feels a great sense of responsibility to continue delivering electricity under its long-term offtake agreements and concessions. Many of Northland’s facilities are deemed critical infrastructure. For example, in Northern Europe, the offshore wind projects provide over 1.0 GW of capacity, in Saskatchewan the power plants generate a significant portion of that Province’s energy and EBSA is the sole electricity distributor in Colombia’s Boyacá department.
“Above all else, our first priority is protecting the health and safety of our staff, contractors and communities,” Mr. Crawley said. “However, we are also very focused on ensuring our facilities continue to operate at high levels of availability, delivering the essential power that our offtake counterparties rely on and need. Together this will preserve the strong financial position and stability of our business. We are also continuing to leverage our financial flexibility, extensive development expertise and knowledge to identify and develop future opportunities to further enhance Northland’s growth.”
Northland is a global developer, owner and operator of sustainable infrastructure assets that deliver predictable cash flows. Headquartered in Toronto, Canada, Northland was founded in 1987 and has been publicly traded since 1997 on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: NPI).
Northland owns or has an economic interest in 2,429 MW (net 2,014 MW) of operating generating capacity and 382 MW of generating capacity under construction, representing the Deutsche Bucht offshore wind project in the German North Sea and the La Lucha solar project in Mexico. Northland also owns a 60% equity stake in the 1,044 MW Hai Long projects under development in Taiwan and operates a regulated utility business in Colombia.
Northland's common shares, Series 1, Series 2 and Series 3 preferred shares and Series C convertible debentures trade on the Toronto Stock Exchange under the symbols NPI, NPI.PR.A, NPI.PR.B, NPI.PR.C and NPI.DB.C, respectively.
NON-IFRS FINANCIAL MEASURES
This press release includes references to Northland’s adjusted earnings before interest, income taxes, depreciation and amortization (“adjusted EBITDA”) and free cash flow and applicable payout ratio and per share amounts, which are not measures prescribed by International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS). Adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow and applicable payout ratio and per share amounts do not have any standardized meaning under IFRS and, as presented, may not be comparable to similar measures presented by other companies. These measures should not be considered alternatives to net income, cash flow from operating activities or other measures of financial performance calculated in accordance with IFRS. Rather, these measures are provided to complement IFRS measures in the analysis of Northland’s results of operations from management’s perspective. Management believes that adjusted EBITDA and free cash flow and applicable payout ratio and per share amounts are widely accepted financial indicators used by investors to assess the performance of a company and its ability to generate cash through operations. Refer to Northland’s 2019 Annual Report, which can be found on SEDAR at www.sedar.com under Northland’s profile and on northlandpower.com, for an explanation of these terms and for reconciliations to the nearest IFRS measure.
This release contains certain forward-looking statements. Readers are cautioned that such statements may not be appropriate for other purposes. Forward-looking statements include statements that are predictive in nature, depend upon or refer to future events or conditions, or include words such as “expects,” “anticipates,” “plans,” “believes,” “estimates,” “intends,” “targets,” “projects,” “forecasts” or negative versions thereof and other similar expressions, or future or conditional verbs such as “may,” “will,” “should,” “would” and “could.” These statements are based upon certain material factors or assumptions that were applied in developing the forward-looking statements. Although these forward-looking statements are based upon management’s current reasonable expectations and assumptions, they are subject to numerous risks and uncertainties. Some of the factors that could cause results or events to differ from current expectations include, but are not limited to, statements regarding future adjusted EBITDA, free cash flows, the construction, completion, attainment of commercial operations, construction risks, counterparty risks, operational risks, foreign exchange rates, regulatory risks, maritime risks for construction and operation, and the variability of revenues from generating facilities powered by intermittent renewable resources and the other factors described in the “Risks and Uncertainties” section of Northland’s 2019 Annual Report and Annual Information Form, both of which can be found at www.sedar.com under Northland's profile and on Northland’s website northlandpower.com. Northland’s actual results could differ materially from those expressed in, or implied by, these forward-looking statements and, accordingly, no assurances can be given that any of the events anticipated by the forward-looking statements will transpire or occur.
The forward-looking statements contained in this release are based on assumptions that were considered reasonable on date of release. Other than as specifically required by law, Northland undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements to reflect events or circumstances after such date or to reflect the occurrence of unanticipated events, whether as a result of new information, future events or results, or otherwise.
For further information, please contact:
Wassem Khalil, Senior Director, Investor Relations & Strategy
+1 (647) 288-1019
For media inquiries, please contact
Susan Sperling, Director of Communications
+1 (647) 288-1105