(4) Comparable EBITDA and funds from operations are key supplemental performance measures for TransAlta which provide additional information regarding the company's ability to cover its capital requirements and dividends as well as strengthen its balance sheet and finance growth.
Consistent strength maintained in Generation performance
Fleet availability for the quarter remained strong at 89.4 per cent compared to 90.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2011. The marginal decrease in availability is primarily attributable to higher planned outages at the Alberta coal PPA facilities and Genesee Unit 3, partially offset by lower unplanned outages at the Alberta coal PPA facilities and Genesee Unit 3.
Improvement in EBITDA and cash flow in the quarter
Comparable EBITDA improved $43 million in the fourth quarter to $310 million, compared to $267 million for the same period in 2011. Funds from operations increased $16 million in the fourth quarter to $205 million, compared to $189 million for the same period in 2011. These increases were driven by solid results in Generation, the addition of Solomon to the fleet, and lower OM&A costs, which more than offset lower trading margins.
TRANSALTA 2012 FULL YEAR RESULTS
TransAlta reported full year comparable earnings of $118 million ($0.50 per share) versus $230 million ($1.04 per share) in 2011. Comparable results for the year were driven by strong availability across the fleet, but were more than offset by significantly lower Energy Trading gross margins, which were down $134 million from 2011, as well as higher planned outages at the Alberta coal PPA facilities and Genesee Unit 3.
The net loss attributable to common shareholders for the year was $614 million ($2.61 per share) compared to net earnings of $290 million ($1.31 per share) in 2011. This loss is largely due to asset impairment charges of $226 million incurred from writing down the carrying value of the Centralia Plant under IFRS, a write off of $169 million of deferred tax assets, and the one-time impact of $189 million based on the Alberta arbitration panel's decision on Sundance Units 1 and 2, outlined in our press release of July 23, 2012.
Strong Generation performance; TransAlta delivers on its fleet availability goal of 89 - 90 per cent for the year
Adjusted fleet availability for the full year was 90.0 per cent, up from 88.2 per cent in 2011, in spite of six major planned coal outages to complete the three-year investment program. Adjusted fleet availability increased as a result of lower planned and unplanned outages at the Centralia Plant and lower unplanned outages at the Alberta coal PPA facilities and at Genesee Unit 3, partially offset by higher planned outages at the Alberta coal PPA facilities and Genesee Unit 3.
TransAlta maintains stable cash flow for the year
Funds from operations for the year were $776 million versus $809 million in 2011, down due to lower cash earnings which can be largely attributed to the decrease in Energy Trading gross margins, partially offset by an increase in Generation gross margins, after excluding the impact of the Sundance Units 1 and 2 arbitration from earnings.
Highlights - 2012
-- Comparable EBITDA of $1,014 million-- Funds from operations of $776 million or $3.30 per share-- Comparable earnings of $118 million or $0.50 per share-- Dividends paid of $1.16 per share to common shareholders-- Approximately 70 per cent participation in our dividend reinvestment plan, resulting in an estimated annualized cash savings of approximately $210 million