Inergy Records Loss in Fiscal 2010 on Higher Operating Costs

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Kansas, Missouri-based Inergy (NYSE:NRGY), a retail propane distributor structured as a limited partnership, announced Monday that it swung to a loss for fiscal 2010.

Revenue for the year was $1.8 billion, up marginally from $1.6 billion a year ago. However, operating expenses, including costs of goods sold, outpaced revenue growth, increasing almost 18% year-over-year to $1.6 billion.

As a result, for fiscal 2010, the company recorded a loss attributable to limited partners of $23.8 million, or 37 cents per diluted share, compared with profits of $50.5 million, or 93 cents per diluted share for fiscal 2009.

For the fourth quarter, the company widened its losses year-over-year by 53% to $71.3 million, or $1.04 per diluted share. Revenue for the quarter was $301.6 million, up from $231.5 million a year ago.

Analysts had expected a fourth quarter loss of 62 cents per share on revenue of $312.7 million. The company said it normally reports a fourth quarter loss due to the seasonal nature of the propane industry.

Operationally, however, Inergy seems to be expanding. In October, the company completed its $725 million acquisition of Tres Palacios Gas Storage, which owns a natural gas storage facility with about 38.4 billion cubic feet of working gas capacity in Matagorda County, Texas.

More recently, at the end of November, Inergy announced the acquisition of the propane assets of Pennington Energy and Schenek Gas Services.

For fiscal 2011, Inergy expects adjusted EBITDA to be in the range of $410 million to $435 million, below analyst forecasts of $462 million.

Since the announcement, the company's shares moved down by 0.4% to trade at $39.36 as of 3:20 pm EST.

Disclosure: None