NEW YORK, Feb. 21, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- Macquarie Infrastructure Corporation (NYSE: MIC) today reported financial results for full year 2017 that included growth investments of more than $625.0 million and a cash dividend of $1.44 per share for the fourth quarter.
"The performance of our businesses in the fourth quarter and the full year 2017 resulted in year over year growth in cash generation of 8.2%, including the impact of a 2.9% increase in the weighted number of shares outstanding," said Christopher Frost, chief executive officer of MIC. "Effective deployment of a substantial amount of growth capital offset a slightly weaker than anticipated rate of organic growth. With the increase in cash generation, we are pleased to announce that the MIC board has approved a cash dividend for the fourth quarter that raises the total distribution for 2017 to $5.56 per share, consistent with our guidance for a year over year increase of 10%."
"While our results for 2017 were solid, in an effort to improve MIC's overall mix of business we are undertaking a review of strategic options available to us with respect to the Bayonne Energy Center, OMI Environmental Solutions and other smaller businesses in our portfolio," Frost noted. "Having largely completed the development of the Bayonne Energy Center as envisioned when we acquired the business in 2015, we believe now may be an opportune time to monetize a portion of it. To address changing demand drivers for certain liquid products, as we have in the past, we intend to repurpose certain of the assets of our bulk liquid terminals business as well. We believe these actions will position MIC to continue to deliver attractive total shareholder returns."
"In addition, we have made the decision to reduce our 2018 dividend in favor of internally funding the repurposing of the assets at International-Matex Tank Terminals and to take advantage of the incentives to invest in growth projects that are a part of recent tax reform," Frost added. "We believe that our guidance for a dividend of $1.00 per share, per quarter, in 2018 strikes a balance between continuing to return the majority of our Free Cash Flow to shareholders in the form of a dividend and strengthening our balance sheet in support of future dividend growth."
MIC reported fourth quarter and full year 2017 net income of $361.3 million and $456.1 million, respectively, an increase of 408% and 195% compared with $71.1 million and $154.9 million in the comparable periods in 2016. The increases in net income were primarily the result of changes in U.S. tax law that went into effect with the signing of the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 ("Tax Act") in December of 2017. A reduction in the Company's net Deferred Tax Liability to reflect a reduction in the corporate federal income tax rate constituted the largest portion of the benefit.
Net income before taxes decreased to $61.8 million and $222.0 million, respectively, for the fourth quarter and full year in 2017, compared with $82.0 million and $226.1 million in comparable periods in 2016. The decrease in pre-tax net income reflects primarily higher interest expense in the fourth quarter and a decrease in other income related to the absence of insurance recoveries in 2017 in the full year period.
The Company reported generation of cash from operating activities of $131.8 million and $529.5 million in the quarter and full-year periods ended December 31, 2017, respectively, compared with $123.3 millionand $560.3 million in the comparable periods in 2016. Cash from operating activities declined primarily as a result of changes in working capital related to fluctuations in the price of jet fuel and gas sold by certain of MIC's businesses.
MIC produced $135.5 million and $568.0 million of Adjusted Free Cash Flow in the fourth quarter and full year periods in 2017, respectively, up from $118.6 million and $510.2 million in the comparable periods in 2016. The aggregate increase in Adjusted Free Cash Flow of 14.2% and 11.3% for the quarter and full-year, respectively, was partially offset by an increase in the weighted average number of shares of MIC outstanding.
Fourth Quarter 2017 Dividend
The MIC board of directors has authorized a cash dividend of $1.44 per share for the fourth quarter of 2017. The dividend will be payable March 8, 2018 to shareholders of record on March 5, 2018. Including the dividend of $1.44, MIC will have distributed approximately 81.4% of the Adjusted Free Cash Flow generated during 2017 for a dividend coverage ratio of approximately 1.2 times.
Taking into consideration the planned repurposing of certain of the assets of International-Matex Tank Terminals ("IMTT"), MIC is forecasting generation of consolidated earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ("EBITDA") excluding non-cash items in a range of between $690.0 million and $720.0 million in 2018. The year over year decline reflects a decrease in EBITDA generated by IMTT, offset by continued increases at Atlantic Aviation, Contracted Power and MIC Hawaii. Atlantic Aviation is expected to benefit from ongoing increases in flight activity while Contracted Power is expected to benefit from the completion of the BEC II expansion project.
With respect to the Company's preliminary outlook for EBITDA excluding non-cash items in 2018, a reconciliation to net income (loss), the most comparable GAAP measure, is not available without unreasonable effort due to the Company's limited visibility into and inability to make accurate projections and estimates of items including management fees, hedging agreements, depreciation and any (benefit) provision for income taxes. These items may vary greatly from year to year and could significantly