Boralex Inc. ("Boralex" or the "Corporation") (TSX: BLX) recorded improved operating results for the three-month period ended September 30, 2017 compared with the corresponding period of last year. Production, revenues from energy sales and EBITDA(A) all increased, mostly driven by the contributions of sites acquired or commissioned since August 1, 2016 under the Corporation's growth strategy.
"During the third quarter, our corporation reached important milestones that support our long-term growth strategy, including the achievement of an intermediate target of 2,000 MW by 2020," remarked Patrick Lemaire, Boralex's President and Chief Executive Officer. "We just added three wind power projects in France to our growth path for a total additional 55 MW. These wind farms will be commissioned gradually between now and the end of the second half of 2019 and they are all covered by indexed, fixed-price purchase contracts. The recent agreement with U.K.-based Infinergy also paves the way for us to gain a solid foothold in Scotland in the medium term, which could represent a strong advantage in terms of geographic diversification as it is the most favourable location in Europe for wind conditions. Also, if selected by the State of Massachussets in early 2018, the 300 MW SBx project for which Boralex made a bid in partnership with Gaz Métro last July would nearly double the capacity of the Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farms and achieve a significant part of the Corporation's short-term growth objectives."
Mr. Lemaire also pointed out, "the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec becoming Boralex's main shareholder is excellent news considering its size and expertise in infrastructure projects. This will allow Boralex to explore a greater number of opportunities while taking part in the Caisse's responsible investment strategy."
Boralex produced 605 GWh (706 GWh) of electricity in the third quarter of 2017, up 32% (23%) compared with the same period in 2016. This growth was driven primarily from contributions of the assets acquired or commissioned since August 1, 2016 and which represent an additional installed capacity of 308 MW.
Excluding the contribution of these assets, production at existing facilities grew 12% (7%), owing primarily to improved production recorded by U.S. hydroelectric power stations and French wind farms which largely offset the decline in output at Canadian wind farms. Overall, the production of Canadian hydroelectric power stations remained stable compared with last year. Note that due to seasonal factors, wind and hydraulic conditions are generally less favourable during the third quarter.
Boralex generated revenues from energy sales of $74 million ($85 million) in the third quarter of 2017, up 38% (29%) compared with the same period in 2016. With these revenues, Boralex was able to increase EBITDA(A) by 59% (43%) to $39 million ($50 million). Accordingly, between the third quarter of 2016 and the same quarter of 2017, the Corporation's EBITDA(A) margin increased by seven percentage points from 46% to 53% (53% to 59%).
Cash flows from operations totalled $24 million ($17 million) for the third quarter of 2017 compared with $13 million ($9 million) one year earlier. This increase fuelled, to a large extent, the $14 million($15 million) growth in EBITDA(A).
Boralex reported a net loss attributable to shareholders of $16 million ($16 million) or $0.22 ($0.22)per share (basic and diluted) for the third quarter of 2017, compared with a net loss of $10 million ($17 million) or $0.16 ($0.26) per share (basic and diluted) a year earlier.
In France, two new wind farms will be commissioned by the end of December, adding 53 MW of installed capacity. Considering the commissioning, since the beginning of the year, of the Plateau de Savernat II, Voie des Monts and Mont de Bagny wind farms for a total of 38 MW and the acquisition of the 230 MW Niagara Region Wind Farm, Boralex expects to end fiscal 2017 with an installed capacity under its control of 1,456 MW, up 321 MW or 28% since December 31, 2016.
In addition, the Board of Directors approved today the launch of three wind power projects in France, which are added to the Corporation's growth path: the 23 MW Sources de l'Ancre project slated for commissioning in the first half of 2019, and the 20 MW Seuil du Cambrésis and the 12 MW Basse Thiérache Nord in the second half of 2019.
For 2018, the project portfolio includes four new wind farms to be commissioned in France and another in Canada for an additional installed capacity of 104 MW. The 16 MW Yellow Falls power station, Boralex's first hydroelectric power station in Ontario, will also be commissioned in 2018. The 50 MW Otter Creek wind power project in Canada will be completed in 2019 as well as the Basse Thiérache Nord and Seuil du Cambrésis projects in France, bringing Boralex's total installed capacity to 1,681 MW. In light of the other advanced-stage projects under development in Franceand actions taken elsewhere in Europe and in North America, Boralex's management remains confident of reaching its target of 2,000 MW by the end of fiscal 2020, which represents expected growth of over 40% in current total installed capacity.
The Corporation is also continuing its development efforts in different markets, including Albertaand Northeastern United States. For instance, Boralex made a bid under the State of Massachussetts' requests for proposals for the supply of renewable energy. The SBx project for which Boralex made a bid in partnership with Gaz Métro last July would add 300 MW to the installed capacity of the Seigneurie de Beaupré wind farms.
Note also that the Corporation has appealed the decision of the Administrative Tribunal of Rennes to cancel the construction and operating permits for the 51 MW Moulins du Lohan project. In light of the circumstances, legal precedents and the grounds stated, the Corporation is confident that its permits will be reinstated allowing it to complete the project.
On October 17, 2017, Boralex and UK-based Infinergy entered into an equally-owned partnership aimed at developing a pipeline of onshore wind power projects with an estimated installed capacity of 325 MW. This partnership has a pipeline of ten projects, essentially located in Scotland, at different stages of development with some in the prospecting phase and others on the verge of obtaining full authorization.
The Corporation's Board of Directors has authorized and declared a quarterly dividend of $0.15 per common share to be paid on December 15, 2017 to shareholders of record at the close of business on November 30, 2017. Boralex has designated this dividend as an eligible dividend within the meaning of Section 89.14 of the Income Tax Act (Canada) and all provisions of provincial laws applicable to eligible dividends.
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