SOUTHERN COMPANY GAS AND SUBSIDIARY COMPANIES
MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS OF
FINANCIAL CONDITION AND RESULTS OF OPERATIONS
Credit Rating Risk
Southern Company Gas does not have any credit arrangements that would require material changes in payment schedules or terminations as a result of a credit rating downgrade.
There are certain contracts that could require collateral, but not accelerated payment, in the event of a credit rating change below BBB- and/or Baa3. These contracts are for physical gas purchases and sales and energy price risk management. The maximum potential collateral requirements under these contracts at September 30, 2017 were $12 million.
Generally, collateral may be provided by a Southern Company guaranty, letter of credit, or cash. Additionally, a credit rating downgrade could impact the ability of Southern Company Gas to access capital markets, and would be likely to impact the cost at which it does so.
On March 24, 2017, S&P revised its consolidated credit rating outlook for Southern Company and its subsidiaries (including Southern Company Gas, Southern Company Gas Capital, and Nicor Gas) from stable to negative.
The long-term debt on Southern Company Gas' consolidated balance sheets includes both principal and non-principal components. As of September 30, 2017, the non-principal components totaled $523 million, which consisted of the unamortized portions of the fair value adjustment recorded in purchase accounting, debt premiums, debt discounts, and debt issuance costs.
In December 2016, Southern Company Gas executed intercompany promissory notes to further allocate interest expense to its reportable segments that previously remained in the "all other" segment. These intercompany promissory notes allow Southern Company Gas to calculate net income, which is its performance measure subsequent to the Merger, at the segment level that incorporates the full impact of interest costs.
In May 2017, Southern Company Gas Capital issued $450 million aggregate principal amount of Series 2017A 4.40% Senior Notes due May 30, 2047. The proceeds were used to repay Southern Company Gas' short-term indebtedness and for general corporate purposes.
In July 2017, Atlanta Gas Light Company repaid at maturity $22 million of Series C medium-term notes.
In July 2017, Nicor Gas agreed to issue $400 million aggregate principal amount of first mortgage bonds in a private placement. On August 10, 2017, Nicor Gas issued $100 million aggregate principal amount of First Mortgage Bonds 3.03% Series due August 10, 2027 and $100 million aggregate principal amount of First Mortgage Bonds 3.62% Series due August 10, 2037. The proceeds were used to repay short-term indebtedness incurred under the Nicor Gas commercial paper program and for other working capital needs. The remaining $200 million is expected to be issued in November 2017.
In addition to any financings that may be necessary to meet capital requirements and contractual obligations, Southern Company Gas plans to continue, when economically feasible, a program to retire higher-cost securities and replace these obligations with lower-cost capital if market conditions permit.
Market Price Risk
Other than the items discussed below, there were no material changes to Southern Company Gas' disclosures about market price risk during the successor third quarter and year-to-date 2017. For an in-depth discussion of Southern Company Gas' market price risks, see MANAGEMENT'S DISCUSSION AND ANALYSIS – FINANCIAL CONDITION AND LIQUIDITY – "Market Price Risk" of Southern Company Gas in Item 7 of the Form 10-K. Also see Notes (C) and (H) to the Condensed Financial Statements herein for information relating to derivative instruments.
Southern Company Gas is exposed to market risks, primarily commodity price risk, interest rate risk, and weather risk. Due to various cost recovery mechanisms, the natural gas distribution utilities of Southern Company Gas that sell natural gas directly to end-use customers have limited exposure to market volatility of natural gas prices.