Ferrellgas names founder as interim president, CEO

September 28, 2016 By    

Stephen L. Wambold has stepped down as president and CEO and as a member of the board of Ferrellgas Partners LP, the company announced. James E. Ferrell, the company’s founder and chairman of the board, succeeds Wambold in an interim role.

“Mr. Ferrell was born into the business started by his father, A.C. Ferrell, in 1939,” the company says in a statement. “He is intimately familiar with the company’s strategy, operations, customers and, most importantly, its employee-owners. We are fortunate to have him once again lead the company.”

The company says Ferrell is focused in the near term on optimizing operations for this year’s winter heating season and getting the company’s balance sheet healthy. He will be in place, Ferrellgas says, until the company is again on the road to long-term success.

Ferrellgas’ announcement comes at the same time the company reported a net loss attributable to Ferrellgas Partners LP of $665.4 million for fiscal year 2016, compared to net earnings of $29.6 million in 2015. The net loss for the current fiscal year includes a one-time non-cash impairment charge of $628.8 million in its midstream operations – crude oil logistics segment and a one-time non-cash impairment charge of $29.3 million in its other midstream operations – water solutions reporting unit.

The company also announced adjusted EBITDA for fiscal 2016 of $344.7 million, an increase of 14.8 percent from $300.2 million in the previous year.

According to Ferrellgas, continued strong expense controls in the propane and related equipment sales segment helped offset the impact of elevated temperatures, which were 19 percent warmer than normal and 16 percent warmer than the prior-year period.

“As we highlighted last quarter, record temperatures across the nation continue to have an adverse impact on the propane sector of our company and low oil prices have seriously damaged our midstream sector,” Ferrell says. “In particular, unusually warm winters over the past two years drove down propane sales across all our geographies, and low crude oil prices have negatively impacted our midstream logistics business.”

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About the Author:

Brian Richesson is the editor in chief of LP Gas Magazine. Contact him at brichesson@northcoastmedia.net or 216-706-3748.

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