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Higher ethylene margins improve Williams results in Q1
Apr '12
The Williams Companies Inc announced first-quarter 2012 unaudited net income attributable to Williams of $423 million, or $0.70 per share on a diluted basis, compared with net income of $321 million, or $0.54 per share on a diluted basis for first-quarter 2011.

On a continuing basis, improved results in the Williams Partners and Midstream Canada & Olefins segments were more than offset by the absence of a $124 million income tax benefit primarily associated with a federal settlement that was recorded during first-quarter 2011. The absence of the tax benefit drove the slight decline in income from continuing operations in first-quarter 2012.

The increase in first-quarter 2012 net income is primarily due to gains in discontinued operations associated with the sale of Williams' former assets in Venezuela. The agreement to sell those assets was announced on March 26.

Prior-period results throughout this release have been recast to reflect the separation of Williams' former exploration and production business on Dec. 31, 2011. The results of the former exploration and production business are reported in discontinued operations for first-quarter 2011.

Adjusted income from continuing operations was $236 million, or $0.39 per share, for first-quarter 2012, compared with $169 million, or $0.28 per share for first-quarter 2011.

The increase in the adjusted income from continuing operations for first-quarter 2012 was due to improved results in both the Williams Partners and Midstream Canada & Olefins segments. Higher fee-based revenues and natural gas liquid (NGL) margins at Williams Partners and higher ethylene margins at Midstream Canada & Olefins drove the improved results. There is a more detailed description of the business results later in this press release.

Adjusted income from continuing operations reflects the removal of items considered unrepresentative of ongoing operations and are non-GAAP measures. Reconciliations to the most relevant GAAP measures are attached to this news release.

Alan Armstrong, Williams' president and chief executive officer, made the following comments:

"We've made a strong start to 2012, with our businesses performing well and driving a 39 percent increase in our adjusted earnings per share.

"Expansion projects at Williams Partners drove strong increases in fee-based revenues, while Midstream Canada & Olefins continues to perform well.

"Growth projects across our businesses are ongoing; we completed the financing transactions and are poised to complete Williams Partners' Caiman acquisition – a major milestone in our goal to be the leading gathering, processing and transportation solution provider for producers in the Marcellus Shale.

"We're also continuing to work on projects that will serve the booming petrochemical industry in North America. The expansion of our Geismar olefins production facility is under way and we expect to place our Boreal pipeline in Canada into service in May, slightly ahead of schedule."

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