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000-455 - High Volume Storage Fundamentals V3 - Dump Information

Vendor : IBM
Exam Code : 000-455
Exam Name : High Volume Storage Fundamentals V3
Questions and Answers : 73 Q & A
Updated On : November 16, 2018
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000-455 Questions and Answers

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000-455 High Volume Storage Fundamentals V3

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000-455 exam Dumps Source : High Volume Storage Fundamentals V3

Test Code : 000-455
Test Name : High Volume Storage Fundamentals V3
Vendor Name : IBM
Q&A : 73 Real Questions

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IBM IBM High Volume Storage

the usage of IBM Spectrum Scale for storage in IBM Cloud inner most | killexams.com Real Questions and Pass4sure dumps

IBM Spectrum Scale is a flexible software-defined storage that can be deployed as high performance file storage or a cost optimized enormous-scale content repository. IBM Spectrum Scale is deployed on the most worrying businesses on the earth for both excessive performance and high scale. confer with https://www-03.ibm.com/techniques/storage/spectrum/scale/ for extra details. elements that make Spectrum Scale appropriate for persistent volume storage consist of: performance, scalability, assistance lifecycle administration, quota, encryption, compression, availability, and snapshots.

Storage for Containers

some of the main materials inside any cluster is storage. earlier than which you could deploy most Kubernetes-primarily based purposes, you ought to first create storage from the underlying infrastructure. This provisioned storage allows for for persistence of an application’s facts. besides the fact that children, for an application to devour this storage, you have to additionally create a quantity. Volumes are used to make requests on behalf of an application to the provisioned storage. you can create volumes from Spectrum Scale which are used as persistent storage for functions.

This put up describes the way to configure IBM Spectrum Scale as a storage backend for POD volumes in IBM Cloud deepest clusters. while there are dissimilar how to use a persistent quantity from IBM Spectrum Scale as a POD’s volume in IBM Cloud inner most, this put up describes the way to use the Hostpath and NFS drivers.

before you start

In both situations(Hostpath and NFS), you need a IBM Spectrum Scale cluster and a persistent extent. that you would be able to also create the customized utility used during this publish the usage of following steps.

  • Create a IBM Spectrum Scale cluster and designate several nodes as IBM Cloud private worker nodes. in this illustration, dghostrhel2, dghostrhel3 and dghostrhel4 are IBM Cloud inner most employee nodes
  • [root@dghostrhel2 ~]# mmlsclusterGPFS cluster information========================GPFS cluster name: dgcluster.dghost1GPFS cluster identity: 13644380956435301453GPFS UID area: dgcluster.dghost1Remote shell command: /usr/bin/sshRemote file copy command: /usr/bin/scpRepository classification: CCR Node Daemon node identify IP address Admin node identify Designation— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — 1 dghost1 192.168.122.ninety six dghost1 quorum-manager2 dghost2 192.168.122.124 dghost2 quorum-manager3 dghost3 192.168.122.eighty dghost3 quorum-manager4 dghost4 192.168.122.217 dghost4 quorum-manager9 dghostrhel1 192.168.122.221 dghostrhel110 dghostrhel2 192.168.122.222 dghostrhel211 dghostrhel3 192.168.122.223 dghostrhel312 dghostrhel4 192.168.122.224 dghostrhel413 dghostrhel5 192.168.122.225 dghostrhel5

    2. Create a extent on the gpfs0 filesystem and mount it on the /gpfs/gpfs0 course.

    [root@dghostrhel1 ~]# mmlsfs gpfs0 flag value description— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —-f 8192 minimal fragment dimension in bytes-i 4096 Inode size in bytes-I 16384 oblique block size in bytes-d nsd1;nsd2 Disks in file equipment……-A yes automatic mount choice-o none further mount alternatives-T /gpfs/gpfs0 Default mount point— mount-priority 0 Mount precedence

    three. Create the custom utility. The parameter values and file names which are used during this instance are also utilized in later steps.

    3a. Create a listing named alpine4gpfs.

    3b. Create the software script in the alpine4gpfs directory. The script creates a directory within the Docker container and generates random number of data in it. name the file number_generator.sh

    #!/bin/sh

    #/gpfs is the set up listing from hostrandomnum=$(( ( RANDOM % 20 ) + 1 ))iodir=/gpfs/$HOSTNAME_$randomnumif [[ -f /gpfs/thisisgpfs ]]thenecho “Writing facts into gpfs dir…”#Sleep for some time·sleep 10mkdir $iodirfor i in `seq 1 $randomnum`dodd if=/dev/urandom of=/$iodir/FILE$i bs=512K count=10 &>/dev/nullmd5sum /$iodir/FILE$i > /$iodir/FILE$i.md5date > /$iodir/FILE$i.datedoneelseecho “No GPFS quantity..Exiting”fi

    be aware : The above script assessments for /gpfs/thisisgpfs file interior the container before generating records. hence create the file ‘thisisgpfs’ interior fileset or nfs export which will be used as persistent extent for the sample software.

    3c. Create the dockerfile in the alpine4gpfs directory.

    FROM alpineMAINTAINER Your_nameADD number_generator.sh /number_generator.shRUN chmod +x /number_generator.shENTRYPOINT [“/number_generator.sh“]

    3d. Create the customized utility. From the alpine4gpfs directory, run these instructions:

    docker login mycluster.icp:8500docker build -t alpine4gpfs .docker tag alpine4gpfs mycluster.icp:8500/admin/alpine4gpfsdocker push mycluster.icp:8500/admin/alpine4gpfs

    be aware : The above command upload the photo 'alpine4gpfs' in the 'admin' namespace. In case 'admin' namespace does not exist, The photo upload fails with the error message ’unauthorized: authentication required’. One will need to create the mandatory namespace for successfully uploading the graphic.Steps to create the ‘admin’ namespace :Login to IBM Cloud private >>control>>Namespaces>>click on on “Create Namespace” then Create namespace with name ‘admin’

    the use of Storage from Spectrum Scale with IBM Cloud private by way of the Hostpath driver

    prerequisites for this instance:

  • IBM Spectrum Scale Cluster
  • IBM Cloud private V2.1.0
  • that you could decide to use some or all IBM Spectrum Scale customer nodes as a IBM Cloud deepest worker nodes. If not all IBM Cloud deepest employee nodes are IBM Spectrum Scale consumers, then you definately need to use a node tag in case you use volumes that you simply create from IBM Spectrum Scale. which you can create volumes by using the directory or fileset commands from the IBM Spectrum Scale File equipment. creating volumes through the use of fileset is advisable because it lets you partition the file equipment to permit administrative operations at a finer granularity than the complete file device. For extra tips about fileset, see https://www.ibm.com/guide/knowledgecenter/STXKQY_4.2.3/com.ibm.spectrum.scale.v4r23.doc/bl1adv_filesets.htm.

    1. Create the fileset that the persistent volume makes use of

    1a. Create a fileset that is termed ScaleCfCHostpath:

    [root@dghostrhel2 ~]# mmcrfileset gpfs0 ScaleCfCHostpath

    The output seems like this:

    Fileset ScaleCfCHostpath created with id 2 root inode 33547.

    1b. link the fileset to the volume:

    [root@dghostrhel2 ~]# mmlinkfileset gpfs0 ScaleCfCHostpath -J /gpfs/gpfs0/ScaleCfCHostpath

    The output looks like this:

    Fileset ScaleCfCHostpath linked at /gpfs/gpfs0/ScaleCfCHostpath

    1c. monitor the fileset details:

    [root@dghostrhel2 ~]# mmlsfileset gpfs0

    The output appears like this:

    Filesets in file equipment ‘gpfs0’:identify fame Pathroot Linked /gpfs/gpfs0ScaleCfCHostpath Linked /gpfs/gpfs0/ScaleCfCHostpath

    The fileset ScaleCfCHostpath is mounted on the /gpfs/gpfs0/ScaleCfCHostpath course. This direction is used to create the quantity in IBM Cloud inner most.

    2. Create the Persistent quantity

    2a. Log in to the IBM Cloud deepest management console.

    2b. From the menu, click Platform > Storage.

    2c. click on Create PersistentVolume.

    2nd. Enter the Persistent volume details. For this instance, use the following values:

    identify — spectrumscalestorageLabel — storageValue — spectrumscaleCapacity — 1Unit — GiAccess Mode — ReadWriteManyReclaim coverage — RetainStorage class — HostpathKey — direction ; price — /gpfs/gpfs0/ScaleCfCHostpath

    which you can give these values through the use of the fields and lists in the Create New PersistentVolume window as proven in these photos:

    Persistent extent advent 1/3 Persistent extent creation 2/3 Persistent quantity advent three/three

    2e. click on Create.

    2f. From the PersistentVolume tab, assessment the repute of the new persistent extent. earlier than you can use the persistent volume, its fame ought to be available.

    Persistent volume particulars

    three. Create the Persistent quantity declare

    3a. click the PersistentVolumeClaim tab.

    3b. click Create PersistentVolumeClaim.

    3c. Enter the volume details. For this illustration, use here values:

    identify — spectrumscalevolumeStorage Requests — 512Unit — MiAccess Mode — ReadWriteManyVolume Selector Label — storageValue — spectrumscale

    3d. click Create.

    3e. From the PersistentVolumeClaim tab, review the status of the new persistent quantity declare. The persistent quantity declare may still have a standing of bound, which capacity that the persistent volume claim is sure to the persistent extent that incorporates the label storage=spectrumscale and meets its storage request necessities.

    Persistent extent claim particulars

    click PersistentVolume and assessment the alterations to the persistent volume ‘spectrumscalestorage’.

    Persistent extent details

    that you could see that the persistent extent claim ‘ spectrumscalevolume’ is bound to the persistent extent ‘spectrumscalestorage’. The persistent volume declare ‘spectrumscalevolume’ is accessible to an application or pod.

    4. installation an application that makes use of the brand new quantity claimA container is created for each example of the application. every container has a storage volume, and the volume contains a listing that outlets the script’s random data.

    4a. From the IBM Cloud deepest console, click the menu and then click Workloads.

    4b. From the Workloads page, click on Jobs > Batch jobs.

    4c. click on Create Job.

    4d. Enter the job particulars. You ought to supply values for a couple of parameters:

    On the ordinary tab, specify the job name and variety of instances:

    name — workloadwithalpineCompletions — 1

    On the Container Settings tab, specify the container name and the photo to make use of.

    name — alpinecontainerImage — mycluster.icp:8500/admin/alpine4gpfs

    On the Volumes tab, specify here values:

    name — spectrumscalevolumeVolume — spectrumscalevolumePath — /gpfs

    4e. evaluate the workloadwithalpine job particulars. The workloadwithalpine software with an attached extent should still be operating.

    Batch Job particulars Workload details

    in case you click on the utility identify, that you may see that situations of the workloadwithalpine software is created.

    Pod particulars Container details

    every instance of the software creates a listing of the identical name in connected extent. facts generated via the purposes is seen on Spectrum Scale purchasers, as proven in the following example:

    [root@dghostrhel2 ScaleCfCHostpath]# pwd/gpfs/gpfs0/ScaleCfCHostpath [root@dghostrhel2 ScaleCfCHostpath]# ls -1thisisgpfsworkloadwithalpine-kt4sn_17

    IBM storage items get an additional NVMe booster shot | killexams.com Real Questions and Pass4sure dumps

    IBM dropped its quarterly wave of storage products this week, focusing above all on latency-lowering NVMe technologies and managing becoming volumes of unstructured statistics.

    IBM adopted through on its roadmap to develop support for conclusion-to-conclusion NVMe from application servers to storage arrays with the launch of a brand new Storwize V7000 equipment. The Storwize V7000 is the primary IBM midtier gadget so as to add help for NVMe-oF, offering a Fibre Channel (FC) alternative.

    different IBM storage items launched or upgraded include Spectrum Virtualize, Spectrum discover, Storage Insights, IBM Cloud Object Storage, a FlashSystem A9000R array and a TS1160 commercial enterprise tape pressure.

    "this is just one other instance that we're in the yr of NVMe," spoke of Scott Sinclair, an analyst at commercial enterprise strategy neighborhood. "Storage providers are embracing the benefits of NVMe technology to provide greater storage performance and extra effective records access."

    Eric Burgener, an IDC analyst, talked about or not it's vital for IBM to prolong NVMe support throughout its portfolio. IDC research predicts that, through 2021, techniques that use NVMe in place of SCSI as a foundation technology will generate at the least half of exterior simple storage revenue.

    "we've got had all this infrastructure modernization occurring and the new workloads that should be managed include lots of precise-time large records analytics that you just simply definitely can't run on SCSI," Burgener noted. "There are workloads that completely must have NVMe in the mix."

    IBM's FlashSystem 900 enabled NVMe over InfiniBand early this 12 months, and the FlashSystem 9100 shipped in August with conclusion-to-conclusion NVMe help.

    IBM Storwize V7000 all-flash array IBM Storwize V7000 is a midrange all-flash array that helps conclusion-to-end NVMe. NVMe over Fibre Channel assist

    IBM now helps the NVMe over FC transport choice in storage products that use its Spectrum Virtualize software, together with the new Storwize V7000. consumers that purchased IBM's SAN extent Controller, FlashSystem 9100 and V9000 or Storwize V7000F after September 2016 can permit NVMe over FC via a nondisruptive replace of the IBM Spectrum Virtualize code. IBM plans to add help for NVMe over Ethernet through Spectrum Virtualize in 2019, in accordance with Eric Herzog, chief advertising officer and vice president of worldwide storage channels at IBM.

    Like many IBM storage items, the brand new Storwize V7000 ships with Spectrum Virtualize application to convey enterprise data capabilities to IBM and third-birthday party storage systems. These services include snapshots, replication, at-rest encryption and synthetic intelligence-based mostly information tiering.

    The Storwize V7000 now contains hardware-based mostly compression and encryption to reduce the performance have an effect on of those features. Herzog noted IBM uses further processor chips in its new FlashCore Modules to allow the hardware-based at-relaxation records encryption and compression.

    a new NVMe-primarily based 19.2 TB FlashCore Module additionally serves to raise the density of the Storwize device. The all-flash Storwize V7000 offers a maximum raw means of 461 TB per control enclosure and as an awful lot as 32 PB in a four-approach cluster. Flash power ability options are four.8 TB, 9.6 TB and 19.2 TB, and IBM claims it might probably convey 5-to-1 statistics compression.

    Enabling off-the-shelf NVMe SSDs

    Storwize ships with IBM's new 2.5-inch FlashCore Modules by way of default, however consumers can choose business typical NVMe-based mostly SSDs or add HDDs from third-celebration providers. Herzog noted IBM's FlashCore Modules present higher performance, decrease latency and an extended seven-12 months warranty than open-market SSDs which are customarily guaranteed for 3 to 5 years.

    Burgener spoke of IBM's shift to enable using off-the-shelf NVMe SSDs "in reality shows that they don't consider there may be that a great deal of a efficiency difference associated with custom hardware anymore."

    "in case you need to run inline information features, like compression and encryption, you could do this with reduce latencies on those FlashCore Modules. but when you might be not interested in that, then the NVMe SSDs are in reality a much less costly alternative. That, to me, is their future path," Burgener said.

    also amongst new IBM storage items is a brand new 18 TB customized flash module that can double the maximum potential of its FlashSystem 900. a new 15.36 TB flash module boosts storage density in IBM's high-end DS8880F arrays concentrated on the Unix, Linux and mainframe markets. a new DS8880 zHyperLink card improves latency.

    IBM additionally added an entry-degree configuration of the FlashSystem A9000R device designed for cloud storage.

    Spectrum discover product aimed at 'records oceans'

    IBM's new Spectrum discover product is designed to automate the cataloging of unstructured facts via general metadata and newly created custom metadata to facilitate facts analytics, governance and storage optimization. The software deploys as a VMware digital equipment and contains an API to enable data analytics, compliance and different applications to access the metadata.

    "overlook information lakes. you've gotten now obtained oceans of information. how are you going to leverage that ocean of data to get price out of it?" Herzog noted.

    using customized metadata tags, Spectrum find can support to pace the facts scanning procedure, chiefly with compliance functions that need to search via probably billions of data, Herzog pointed out. With analytics workloads, facts scientists often ought to work with storage directors to prepare the statistics, and Spectrum discover could automate and streamline the system, he introduced.

    "The quickest array in the world may not support in case you don't know what your information is," wrote Steve McDowell, an analyst at Moor Insights & approach, in an email. "IBM's Spectrum discover will resolve real-world issues in records management. I consider we will see others emulating IBM on this entrance."

    Spectrum discover is in accordance with technology from IBM research and supports unstructured information in IBM Cloud Object Storage equipment and IBM Spectrum Scale. IBM plans to add support for Dell EMC Isilon subsequent year.

    more updates to IBM storage products

    An update to IBM's free cloud-based mostly Storage Insights useful resource management device adds capabilities to create and schedule custom-made studies and diagnose SAN bottlenecks. AI technology can discover storage network gridlock, triggering an alert for an IBM support technician to contact the customer. the first version of Storage Insights grew to be often obtainable ultimate February.

    IBM's pay-for-what-you-use Storage Utility offering can now permit twin-device excessive-availability configurations at a starting monthly fee it's only 20% greater than the cost to lease a single system. The IBM Storage Utility offering additionally added help for a data protection product, the TS7760 virtual tape library.

    Updates to IBM storage products aren't confined to flash. the new entry-stage TS1160 commercial enterprise tape pressure improves efficiency; supports write as soon as, ready many (WORM) for clients in regulated industries; and boosts ability to twenty TB, a doubling of the prior TS1150 model. IBM's TS3500 and TS4500 libraries assist the brand new tape power.

    IBM Cloud Object Storage also provides new WORM capacity for comparatively cheap mirrored and centred dispersal mode configurations. The product also supports more concurrent use situations with a 50% boost within the maximum variety of help vaults per system.

    subsequent 12 months, IBM plans to guide NVMe in its Cloud Object Storage, because the supported servers that run the software add NVMe-primarily based flash drives. NVMe over Ethernet guide is on IBM's 2019 roadmap for Spectrum speed up, with the FlashSystem A9000/R, and Spectrum Virtualize.

    FlashSystem A9000/R is additionally anticipated to make use of AI technology to automate statistics deduplication and ease capacity management next yr.

    also in 2019, IBM plans to extend its AI reference architectures with an Nvidia choice, building on the power AI reference architecture the business unveiled in June.

    The latest updates to IBM storage items additionally protected SAP HANA certification for its FlashSystem 9100 and new Storwize V7000, Spectrum give protection to, Spectrum replica records administration and Spectrum Virtualize. IBM licensed FlashSystem 9100 with Epic electronic healthcare facts management application this yr and plans to add aid for Meditech next yr. IBM also expects to extend solutions aid to blockchain subsequent yr.


    IBM To acquire purple Hat And extra | killexams.com Real Questions and Pass4sure dumps

    IBM announced on Sunday, 10/28, that it is buying Linux open supply utility business purple Hat for $34 B. IBM is buying all issued and spectacular typical shares of purple Hat for $a hundred ninety per share. purple Hat is to turn into a part of IBM’s hybrid cloud company as a distinct unit and IBM says that it'll keep the independence and neutrality of crimson Hat’s open source building roots.

    red Hat’s CEO Jim Whitehurst goes to continue to steer the company after the acquisition and joins IBM’s senior management team. IBM and purple Hat have had a long-time alliance with red Hat items, including Linux and Kubernetes, that are utilized in IBM’s hybrid cloud application and features company. In may additionally 2018 both companies reached an agreement to target the hybrid cloud sector through know-how and features integration.

    IBM has supplied aid for pink Hat Ceph storage and Gluster storage. possibly this assist will continue after the acquisition. In a cell call with business analysts on Monday, 10/29, representatives from both corporations stated that red Hat’s OpenStack investments will proceed.

    Assuming approval with the aid of purple Hat shareholders the acquisition is anticipated to be finished within the 2d half of 2019.

    IBM made additional bulletins in the last week about enhancements to their flash reminiscence items. These had been:

    1) a brand new Storwize V7000 device that promises 2.7x optimum throughput Storwize V7000 Gen2+ with 24 flash drives and application compression compared with Storwize V7000 Gen3 with 24 FlashCore Modules using hardware compression for records-pushed workloads when using compression and extends conclusion-to-conclusion NVMe capacity into the IBM Storwize family. the brand new Storwize V7000 equipment begins as all-flash and presents enormous expansion capabilities. handy tier AI-based management immediately moves records to essentially the most acceptable media tier in response to use patterns.

    2) main growth of lower latency and higher throughput Non-volatile memory express (NVMe) textile aid across the enterprise’s storage portfolio. Updates to IBM Spectrum Virtualize allow NVMe over fabrics (NVMe-oF) assist for Fibre Channel through an easy nondisruptive application improve for FlashSystem 9100 and a lot of installed FlashSystem V9000, Storwize V7000F/V7000, SAN quantity Controller methods, and VersaStacksolutions that use these storage techniques. a brand new 16Gbps adapter provides Fibre Channel NVMe-oF aid for FlashSystem 900, which has supported Infiniband NVMe-oF due to the fact that February 2018. IBM is additionally outlining plans to add NVMe skill to IBM Cloud Object Storage software in SDS Configurations in 2019.

    three) up to double the maximum storage density and constructive flash capacity (after compression) for FlashSystem 900, which could aid to reduce costs and additional simplify storage solutions. New high-capability 18TB module supports up to 44TB helpful means after compression, compared with 22TB for old module.

    four) For DS8880F, storage programs aiding mainframe-based IT infrastructure, new custom flash provides as much as double optimum flash capacityDS8882F: 737.3TB compared to previous 368.6TB; development varies by using model.within the same footprint. An replace to our zHyperLink options helps pace application performance by way of significantly reducing both write and read latency.

    5) a brand new entry degree configuration is now available for IBM FlashSystem A9000R, supplying a forty % decrease entry checklist fee but no compromise on scalability. IBM has introduced the skill to make use of each excessive-availability HyperSwap and catastrophe recuperation capabilities at the identical time to boost records availability. ultimately, IBM plans to increase FlashSystem A9000/R in 2019 with AI applied sciences from IBM research to simplify capability management with deduplication.

    IBM additionally delivered IBM Spectrum discover. based on IBM, “in response to know-how from IBM research designed to give statistics perception of unstructured data for analytics, governance and optimization, IBM Spectrum find immediately enhances and then leverages metadata—data about your records—to give these capabilities. IBM Spectrum discover impulsively ingests, consolidates, and indexes metadata for billions of data and objects out of your facts ocean, enabling you to greater without difficulty benefit insights from massive amounts of unstructured information. IBM Spectrum find helps unstructured statistics in IBM Cloud Object Storage and IBM Spectrum Scale with plans to additionally assist Dell-EMC Isilon in 2019.

    The IBM acquisition of purple Hat will shake the cloud storage community and perhaps cause further acquisitions by way of different corporations within the house to remain aggressive. IBM is making a huge push for cloud infrastructure in addition to helping new metadata management capabilities and a flash-first storage architecture.


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    Plains All American Pipeline LP (PAA) Q3 2018 Results - Earnings Call Transcript | killexams.com real questions and Pass4sure dumps

    Plains All American Pipeline LP (NYSE:PAA) Q3 2018 Earnings Call November 6, 2018 5:00 PM ET

    Executives

    Roy I. Lamoreaux - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    Jeremy L. Goebel - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    Chris Chandler - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Analysts

    Jeremy Bryan Tonet - JPMorgan Securities LLC

    Tom Abrams - Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

    Shneur Z. Gershuni - UBS Securities LLC

    Christine Cho - Barclays Capital, Inc.

    Michael Blum - Wells Fargo Securities LLC

    Jean Ann Salisbury - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC

    Colton Bean - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc.

    Dennis P. Coleman - Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    Jerren Holder - Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

    Tristan Richardson - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.

    Keith Stanley - Wolfe Research LLC

    Patrick C. Wang - Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.

    Sunil K. Sibal - Seaport Global Securities LLC

    Elvira Scotto - RBC Capital Markets LLC

    Operator

    Good day, everyone, and welcome to the PAA and PAGP Third-Quarter 2018 Earnings Call. Today's call is being recorded.

    At this time, I would like to turn the call over to Roy Lamoreaux. Please go ahead.

    Roy I. Lamoreaux - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Thank you, Ann. Good afternoon, and welcome to Plains All American's third-quarter 2018 earnings conference call. Slide presentation for today's call can be found within the Investor Relations News and Events section of our website at plainsallamerican.com.

    During our call, we'll provide forward-looking comments on PAA's outlook. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially are included in our latest filings with the SEC. Today's presentation will also include references to non-GAAP financial measures such as adjusted EBITDA. A reconciliation of these non-GAAP financial measures to the most comparable GAAP financial measures can be found within the Investor Relations Financial Information section of our website.

    We do not intend to cover PAGP's results separately from PAA since PAGP's results directly correspond to PAA's performance. Instead, we've included schedules in the appendix of our slide presentation that contain PAGP's specific information. Please see PAGP's quarterly and annual filings with the SEC for PAGP's consolidated results. Also included in the appendix are some additional reference materials for today's call.

    Our call will be hosted by Willie Chiang, Chief Executive Officer; and Al Swanson, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. Additionally, Harry Pefanis, President and Chief Commercial Officer; Jeremy Goebel, Senior Group Vice President, Commercial; and Chris Chandler, Senior Vice President, Strategic Planning and Acquisitions; and other members of our senior management team are present and available for the Q&A portion of today's call.

    With that, I will now turn the call over to Willie.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Thanks, Roy. Good afternoon to everyone, and thank you for joining our call. Let me begin by hitting the high points of the information we released today.

    As outlined on slide 3 and as Al will discuss in more detail, this afternoon we reported solid third quarter results that meaningfully exceeded our expectations. Our results for the quarter reflect continued growth from our fee-based segments and overperformance in our Supply and Logistics segments or S&L. We anticipate both of these trends to continue through the fourth quarter and into 2019 as reflected in our updated and increased 2018 guidance.

    Al will provide an update to our preliminary guidance for 2019, which reflects continued momentum in S&L and remains in line with our prior expectations for fee-based growth after adjusting for our recent sale of a 30% interest in the BridgeTex Pipeline, which was executed after we provided our preliminary guidance for 2019.

    We've characterized 2018 as a year of execution. So far, this year, we've delivered results ahead of our guidance and we remain on track to achieve our deleveraging objectives within the first half of 2019. We're excited about what the future holds and we believe that we're well-positioned to continue to execute to the benefit of our stakeholders.

    The fundamentals for our industry are constructive. Global demand continues to grow, and the U.S. leads the world as the largest and most visible source of growing liquids supply. In this regard and as illustrated on slide 4, we anticipate crude oil production growth across multiple North American basins over the next several years, and our asset base and business model are positioned to benefit.

    Specifically in the Permian, we continue to expect production growth to be in line with our year-end exit rate forecast of plus or minus 3.5 million barrels a day, and we expect similar annual volumetric gains in Permian production for the next several years. Additionally, we expect increased activity in other key producing regions including the Eagle Ford, Rockies, Williston and Mid-Continent, which should drive increased flows to key U.S. market centers including Cushing, Oklahoma. This is driving demand for new takeaway solutions that our existing system is well-positioned to serve through a combination of capacity optimization and capital-efficient expansion opportunities.

    To that end and as illustrated on slide 5, we continue to progress options to increase capacity on our Red River and Diamond Pipeline systems. Additionally, the Capline owners are finalizing plans to purge the line and are advancing plans to reverse the pipeline. The potential expansion of our Diamond Pipeline capacity would be coupled with a project to extend the pipeline a relatively short distance to connect into Capline. These potential projects leverage existing systems to provide efficient solutions at attractive returns and would be incremental to our current guidance and capital programs.

    Meanwhile, our Permian transportation assets remain the largest growth driver for our business. As shown on slide 6, we expect our full-year 2018 average Permian tariff volumes to increase more than 30% or approximately 1 million barrels a day. In total, we expect full-year Permian tariff volumes of slightly less than 3.8 million barrels a day. The impacts of the partial BridgeTex sale and timing of completion activity are partially offset by the earlier in-service timing of Sunrise.

    For the fourth quarter, we expect a meaningful uplift in Permian tariff volumes, supported by the early placement into service of our Sunrise expansion project, as well as a continuation of Permian production growth and multiple bottlenecking expansion projects.

    With respect to the early commissioning of our Sunrise expansion project, I'd like to publicly acknowledge the hard work, creativity and coordination of our team in making this happen. By bringing Sunrise into service early, we were able to add much needed capacity to the market. We also continue to make good progress on the balance of our capital program. Construction of our Cactus II pipeline is on track with partial in-service targeted for late third quarter 2019 and full service by April of 2020.

    Additionally, our multiple gathering system expansions and intra-basin debottlenecking projects are advancing on schedule, along with complementary expansions of our terminalling and storage capacity footprint throughout the basin. We also continue to make meaningful progress on the ExxonMobil JV. The project will be anchored by ExxonMobil, and we continue to work with third-party shippers on additional commitments. We are also finalizing commercial agreements and working through joint venture documents.

    As announced earlier, Lotus Midstream, which recently acquired the Centurion pipeline system and additional midstream assets from Occidental Petroleum, including a terminal in Midland, has signed a letter of intent to participate in the joint venture. We're pleased to have Lotus join the project and look forward to sharing additional updates on the JV project in the near future.

    With that, I'll turn the call over to Al.

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Thanks, Willie.

    As Willie mentioned, our third-quarter results exceeded our expectations primarily due to strong performance in our S&L segment. The strong S&L performance is primarily the result of favorable regional basis differentials in Canada and in the Permian, as well as the one-time $20 million dollar audit recovery related to a profit sharing arrangement in our NGL business.

    As shown on slide 7, we reported fee-based segment adjusted EBITDA of $561 million reflecting year-over-year growth of $16 million or 3%. Year-over-year Transportation segment adjusted EBITDA growth of $25 million was driven primarily by Permian volume growth, partially offset by Transportation segment asset sales, and a decrease in facility – Facilities segment adjusted EBITDA was primarily due to asset sales as well.

    As shown on slide 8, we increased 2018 adjusted EBITDA guidance by $150 million to plus or minus $2.55 billion, driven by our strong third-quarter performance and our expectation for stronger than previously anticipated results in our S&L segment through the balance of the year.

    I will also point out that our updated 2018 guidance incorporates the impact of our sale of a 30% interest in BridgeTex Pipeline, which closed on September 30, generating net proceeds to PAA of $862 million. We reported a gain on the sale of $210 million. The sale resulted in lowering our 2018 fee-based guidance by approximately 1%, or $25 million.

    Our updated 2018 implied DCF guidance is approximately $1.84 billion, with approximately $1.68 billion available to common unitholders, resulting in implied DCF per common unit of $2.31. This represents a $0.49 per unit, or 27% increase over 2017. Retained cash flow for 2018 is expected to be approximately $810 million.

    I will also note that we increased our 2018 maintenance CapEx by $15 million, or 7% percent, to $240 million due to our ability to complete more work during the year than previously anticipated and our decision to replace, instead of repair, certain segments of pipeline. These projects are part of our ongoing commitment to ensure safe and reliable operations.

    In addition to 2018 guidance, I will provide an update to our preliminary 2019 adjusted EBITDA guidance. On our August earnings call, we discussed directional fee-based guidance for 2019 of 14% to 15% growth over 2018 guidance of $2.225 billion, which equated to approximately $2.55 billion. And we also indicated that our 2019 S&L performance would likely outperform 2018 S&L guidance, which was $175 million, result in total adjusted EBITDA of approximately $2.7 billion.

    The BridgeTex sale represent a reduction to the directional guidance previously provided. Additionally, we intend to continue to gather and incorporate data from producers regarding their 2019 CapEx plans, as well as completion timing. And we'll provide more definitive guidance for 2019 on our February call; but based on our current assessment, we are updating our preliminary fee-based guidance for the BridgeTex sale and our current S&L outlook as follows.

    We expect 2019 fee-based segment adjusted EBITDA to increase plus or minus 12% year-over-year, which equates to plus or minus $2.46 billion. This is essentially unchanged from our previous 14% to 15% fee-based growth guidance as adjusted for the BridgeTex sale.

    We expect all of this fee-based growth to be driven by our Transportation segment, and our Facility segment is expected to be flat to slightly down as 2018 results thus far reflect a degree of outperformance relative to our initial 2018 guidance. We also expect 2019 S&L will likely outperform our 2018 guidance plus or minus $350 million. Directionally, that would place total adjusted EBITDA at plus or minus $2.8 billion.

    Although we have the potential for some upside in our S&L segment in 2019, we anticipate this segment will return to a lower level of adjusted EBITDA in 2020 as we expect both Permian and Canadian differentials to narrow as new pipeline capacity comes into service. As a reminder, to the extent we are able to generate outsized S&L earnings, we intend to use such proceeds to either reduce debt or fund capital.

    Before handing the call back over to Willie, let me provide a brief update on our deleveraging plan. As illustrated on slide 9, at September 30, PAA had a long-term debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 3.9 times and a total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio of 4.0 times. These metrics are closer to our targets, and with the total debt to adjusted EBITDA ratio being down 1.5 turns from a year ago.

    As Willie mentioned, we expect to complete our deleveraging plan in the first half of 2019. I will also note that our combined 2018-2019 capital program remains unchanged at $2.6 billion. However, we expect the 2019 capital program of $650 million to increase closer to the $1 billion level, primarily driven by expected progression of the ExxonMobil JV project in addition to sanctioning other new projects. We plan to provide an update on our capital plans in conjunction with updating our full-year 2019 guidance on our February call.

    As we come closer to completing our deleveraging plan, we wanted to share some thoughts on how we plan to manage our distribution going forward. Multiple factors the board and management will consider are summarized on slide 10 and center on our commitment to maintain a significant level of financial and operational flexibility, support metrics that are consistent with mid-BBB credit ratings over time, and retain a level of cash flow that limits, if not eliminates, the need to issue common equity to fund routine growth capital programs. With these factors in mind, upon completing the deleveraging plan, we expect to be in a position to increase the distribution potentially as soon as the first quarter of 2019 distribution payable in May.

    With that, I will turn the call back over to Willie.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Thanks Al.

    As you can see, it continues to be a productive time for our organization, and as summarized on slide 11, we're real pleased to be making meaningful progress towards each of these 2018 goals. Before opening the call for questions, I wanted to acknowledge and thank Greg Armstrong, Co-Founder and 26-year CEO of Plains, retired as CEO effective October 1. Greg, Harry and the entire team have built an incredible business over the years, and I want to thank them for the trust that they placed in me and the efforts to make sure we had a smooth transition.

    As we look forward, we acknowledge the recent industry cycle and the steps we've taken to position the company for the future. We continue to invest in our business through the cycle; while sharpening our focus on operations excellence, portfolio optimization, and continue to advance multiple initiatives to further improve our organization for the future. As a result, we believe that Plains is emerging as a stronger entity with an exceptional asset footprint in key North American growth areas.

    We expect our deleveraging plan to be complete in the first half of 2019. This should provide us significant financial flexibility, enabling us to self-fund the equity portion of our routine growth capital programs, while delivering attractive DCF unit growth over time.

    All that said, we remain intensely focused on the safe, reliable and responsible execution of our business plan, which we expect to drive strong results in 2019, and will continue to position the partnership well for 2020 and beyond.

    I'll turn the call over to Roy.

    Roy I. Lamoreaux - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Thanks, Willie.

    Now, as we enter the Q&A session, please limit yourself to one question and one follow-up question, and then return to the queue if you have additional follow-ups. This will allow us to address the top questions from as many participants as practical in our available time this afternoon. Additionally, Brett Magill and I plan to be available this evening and tomorrow to address additional questions.

    Ann, we're now ready to open the call for questions.

    Question-and-Answer Session

    Operator

    Thank you. We'll take our first question from Jeremy Tonet with JPMorgan.

    Jeremy Bryan Tonet - JPMorgan Securities LLC

    Good afternoon.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Hi, Jeremy.

    Jeremy Bryan Tonet - JPMorgan Securities LLC

    Hi. I just wanted to start off with Sunrise here and see – it seems like you've got 350,000 barrels a day capacity online in the quarter. And was just wondering if you could provide a bit more detail, I guess, on how that's flowing. And you said, I think, there was 220 of takeaway from there, 120 into Cushing, 100 to other Valero refineries. Is that what you're seeing moving now or is there a higher level? Anything you can expand upon this and how much the EBITDA ramp you'll still see in the fourth quarter versus the third quarter here.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Harry, you want to cover that?

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    Sure. So, started commissioning Sunrise in October, full operations with the generators in November. Initially, we thought sort of takeaway capacity would be in around 200,000 barrels a day or 250,000 barrels a day. It's probably around 300,000 barrels a day to 350,000 barrels a day. We developed a few more markets out at Wichita Falls area. So the pipeline can move about 500,000 barrels a day. But that's sort of the takeaway capacity that we see today. Of course, our goal is to try to maximize throughput and try and find additional takeaway options.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    So, Jeremy, an obvious initiative for us is to continue to find those additional markets downstream Wichita Falls. So, using the map between 500 a capacity to where we are today is the opportunity set going forward.

    Jeremy Bryan Tonet - JPMorgan Securities LLC

    That's very helpful. Thanks. And I want to just touch on S&L here real quick, and I know it's a smaller part of the business, but the number stepped up a bit there, and just trying to get our hands around what this looks like. And just wondering, is this kind of more front half of the year weighted as far as what you see for S&L and you kind of lift the guide (18:42) couple quarters higher? Is this more crude or Canadian NGL? There are some wide dips up there. What can you sketch as far as the composition? And when you get the super-sized earnings, you talked about reducing debt or funding capital or increasing the dividend, any thoughts to maybe putting it back into buybacks when it's kind of one-time in nature?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Four questions. So, were you talking about 2019, Jeremy, on your particular – Jeremy, maybe I'll – go ahead, I'm sorry.

    Jeremy Bryan Tonet - JPMorgan Securities LLC

    Yeah. I mean, that was for 20 19 particular, just trying to get a feel for the guide that being front and halfway, but also just philosophically in S&L, could buybacks come into the picture there or anything else you can share on those thoughts?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    So let me start off with the S&L numbers, and then Harry and Al can jump in here as they see fit. When we started the year, I think we all shared that we did not expect the margins to get or the differentials to really widen until the back half of the year. So we kind of went into the year with that thought that fourth quarter primarily we may be able to capture some. And I think what's actually come to fruition is obviously the differentials widened out for most of the year, and we were able to catch additional crude differentials primarily around the Permian fourth quarter. There's also some Canadian crude differentials that we've been able to capture. And if you think about the differentials in S&L, that happens when there are constraints in pipelines.

    So our view of 2019 is there's a limited amount of capacity – takeaway capacity that comes online really until our Cactus pipeline starts up late third quarter. So there are opportunities there to be able to capture some arbitrage in the S&L segment, but once 2020 hits and there's a lot of pipelines, as Al pointed out during his prepared remarks, we don't expect certainly the crude differentials in the Permian to persist after that. So this is really an opportunistic period of time that allows us to capture some of that value.

    On the flexibility of buybacks, I don't want to get into commitments on what we're going to do, but I think the message you should take from this is by having this financial flexibility it gives us a number of different options to be able to bolster the company for the future.

    Jeremy Bryan Tonet - JPMorgan Securities LLC

    Great. And just to clarify the one point on S&L for 2019, it sounds like its normal ratability across the year with seasonality as we've seen in the past. It's not weighted towards the front first half versus the second half?

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    Well, no, not necessarily. I mean, if you just look at the curve on the Permian, its second quarter is probably the weakest quarter of the year. Fourth quarter, the market sort of pricing in and some of the pipes are going to be in service and it's compressed. So there's definitely going to be a curve to the Permian differentials. If you look at Canada, the differentials are wider in the first few months of the year than they are for the balance of the year. So there's obviously some contemplation that some of the turnarounds are – or other impacts the market might not weigh in the market as much as I do next year. So it's a mixed bag, but it's probably more heavily weighted to the first half of the year than the second half of the year.

    Jeremy Bryan Tonet - JPMorgan Securities LLC

    Thanks.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    And Jeremy, don't forget, we still do have a seasonality to the NGL portion of our business. But as Harry said, you've got that crude differential overlay on that, you'll still see some seasonality between first and fourth quarter based on the NGLs.

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    And Jeremy, I'd just add one follow-up on the point Willie answered, on using S&L to buy back. Clearly, maybe at some point in the future, but our first focus is balance sheet. I did mention that we expect our 2019 capital program to increase, and clearly those will be the first priorities with any excess S&L profits.

    Jeremy Bryan Tonet - JPMorgan Securities LLC

    Understood. Appreciate the color. I'll get back in the queue. Thanks.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Thanks.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Tom Abrams with Morgan Stanley.

    Tom Abrams - Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

    Thanks, guys. Was looking at your page 5 graph of all the – map of all the pipes, and just wondering if your comments on Permian to Houston line, looking for additional partners, if that implied that maybe some of the other projects out there that are also looking for additional partners may end up combining with your joint venture?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Jeremy, why don't you take that?

    Jeremy L. Goebel - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. I would say, first and foremost we're looking at – we have an attractive project with Exxon supply, Exxon demand. We have liquidity from Plains and Lotus. We have enough to make the project go on our own. We're looking for third-party shippers. We really can't comment on speculative concepts about merging projects, but honestly as you've seen with Plains historically, we'll always look at opportunities. But first and foremost, we're advancing the project as we've said on the call, and we're looking for third-party shippers at this time.

    Tom Abrams - Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

    Got it. And I don't know if I get a follow-up or not, but I wanted to ask about a lot of crude coming into the kind of Corpus – I'm sorry, the Houston area. Your friends in Magellan talking about a connection to Corpus. Is there a need to get more crude from Houston over towards St. James?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Wait. Those are two different questions.

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    The differentials would tell you, yes.

    Tom Abrams - Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

    I'm trying to think of your – the additional projects that are in your likely future.

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    Yeah. So, I mean, the differentials, LLS is about $8 and change over WTI and East Houston's $6 – or $2, $2.50 differential, so there's clearly demand in St. James.

    Jeremy L. Goebel - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    And some of that is grade-dependent as well, like the Canadian barrels are looking for a home to get run in St. James, and so that would be the most efficient way to get there. So I think there's two components to the projects, and we're excited about both of them.

    Tom Abrams - Morgan Stanley & Co. LLC

    Great. I'll jump back in queue and come back on asset sales later. Thanks.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Thank you.

    Operator

    We'll go to next to Shneur Gershuni with UBS.

    Shneur Z. Gershuni - UBS Securities LLC

    Good afternoon.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Hi, Shneur.

    Shneur Z. Gershuni - UBS Securities LLC

    How is it going, guys? Just a couple of questions here, I'll try not to keep it to 11 parts, but in terms of the capital being invested for future growth, how much capital is being placed into service into 2019 that will only partially benefit 2019 and roll into 2020? And how much of your current CapEx impacts only 2020? I mean, said differently, can we see a material increase in 2020 fee-based EBITDA as well given the suite of projects that you've FID'd and are working on?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Shneur, this is Willie. I don't want to get into talking about 2020 because there's a lot of road between now and then. I think that the message you can take is we've teed up a number of projects here that aren't currently sanctioned, particularly around the Diamond and the Capline reversal. I think the takeaway should be we've got a number of projects that we've got in the queue to drive growth going forward in 2020-plus and we do have a number of projects that are kicking in for 2019 with the Cactus II project starting up late Q3, which we should get a full pop in 2020. So there's no shortage of projects or growth that we have.

    Shneur Z. Gershuni - UBS Securities LLC

    Okay. Fair enough. And as kind of a follow-up there, in sort of the other projects that you were considering. I believe at your Analyst Day you talked about a Wichita Falls extension that could sort of take you all the way to St. James as well as a bullet pipe on the – or potentially, I guess, theoretically at Cactus III. Have those ideas – are they still in the hopper, are they developing? I was just wondering if you can give us some color around that.

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    Wichita Falls – we actually laid out two alternatives, one to extend to Cushing, alternatively to extend to the east and connect into the Red River system which could then tie into Longview, and Energy Transfer has got a pipeline system from Longview into Baton Rouge. So those projects are still actively being advanced. Cactus III is, I would say, backburnered given the fact that we're allocating our resources to the Exxon project.

    Shneur Z. Gershuni - UBS Securities LLC

    All right.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. Shneur. I'm sorry, just another – this is Willie. Just one more thing to add. There's a lot of talk of new lines going from A to B. One of the things, our strategies is how do we take our existing system and come up with hopefully a shorter term solution and certainly a more cost-effective solution. So, for us, there may be more connecting the dots between existing pieces of our system to accomplish the same versus some of the other pipes that are just complete announcements of new projects, if that make sense.

    Shneur Z. Gershuni - UBS Securities LLC

    No, that totally makes sense. And I'll jump back in the queue, thank you for the color, and maybe ask about the Exxon pipeline afterwards.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Thanks, Shneur.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Christine Cho with Barclays.

    Christine Cho - Barclays Capital, Inc.

    Hi, everyone. For the Capline reversal, is this going to be from Patoka down or just from that extension in Memphis? And how much time would you need to reverse it and do your connection? Like, if you were to do an agreement tomorrow with all the parties, how much time do you need to reverse and commercialize? Are we talking months or years?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Greg.

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    No, it's an 18- to 24-month process. If we started today, probably closer to 24 months. We have to purge the line and we need some equipment. We need a little bit of extension of the pipeline from Memphis to Collierville. So it's – maybe the south end of the system could be reversed in a 18-month timeframe. North end would be a little bit longer though. It's not something that can be accomplished in months. It will probably be in phases, with the south end of the system placed in service on a faster timeline.

    Christine Cho - Barclays Capital, Inc.

    And when you say south, are you talking from Memphis South or like what's south? Okay.

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    Yeah. It's Memphis South.

    Christine Cho - Barclays Capital, Inc.

    Okay. And then when you say – and then the north part is from Patoka all the way down.

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    Correct.

    Christine Cho - Barclays Capital, Inc.

    Okay.

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    Connecting carriers need some work too at Patoka so it's not all in our control.

    Christine Cho - Barclays Capital, Inc.

    Okay. And then with your – the Permian like long haul pipes that you guys have, how should – with them running full, how should we think about the risk to volumes in excess of the MVCs moving over to some of the NGL to crude pipeline conversions that have been announced for next year? Are there any protections or mechanisms in place to keep the volumes on your system in your view? And then to the extent that that happen, how should we think about the impact on Transportation and S&L, like how does that skew?

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    I think the best way to think about it is, our guidance reflects our view on how volumes move given all the relative projects that are forecasted to come in service next year.

    Christine Cho - Barclays Capital, Inc.

    Okay.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    And Christine, don't forget there's different kinds of commitments, right? So you've got minimum volume commitments, which you addressed. There's also acreage dedication, which would be dedicated to our system. And a lot of the contracts we've got as we've chatted before are longer tenured or have longer tenures to them. So there's nothing that falls off a cliff in the next number of years.

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    Yeah. And in our legacy – we have some legacy systems that are just common carrier pipes. You can walk up and ship today or not ship today. So our guidance reflects our view on what happens with those volumes.

    Christine Cho - Barclays Capital, Inc.

    Fair enough. Thank you.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Michael Blum with Wells Fargo.

    Michael Blum - Wells Fargo Securities LLC

    Hey, good evening, everybody. Just one question on Capline reversal. From Patoka, would you be sourcing heavy barrels from Canada so that part would just sort of have to sync up with Line 3, or could you also source barrels, I don't know, directly from the Bakken so those could be light sweet barrels that come sooner?

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    Well, it will be driven by a Canadian – by access to Canadian barrels. That's why I had mentioned earlier that it is dependent on connecting carriers. And the timeframe are probably longer than a reversal of the Memphis portion south. But it could conceivably receive volume from Bakken sources as well.

    Michael Blum - Wells Fargo Securities LLC

    Okay. That's helpful. Thank you. And then second question on S&L, basically I just wanted to know, is there any change in your hedge position either for Q4 2018 or for 2019? In other words, what I'm trying to get at is, what gives you the confidence to put out the guidance you had for both years? Should we assume that that's effectively locked in?

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    I would say that our guidance reflects our hedge position and our view of the market for the unhedged portion, and we obviously are always active in the market, so it's not the same position that it was last call.

    Michael Blum - Wells Fargo Securities LLC

    Okay. Thank you.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Jean Ann Salisbury with Bernstein.

    Jean Ann Salisbury - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC

    Hi. Just a couple of quick ones for me. I think you said that $25 million came out of guidance for 2018 from BridgeTex, which I guess would just be for the fourth quarter. It seems a little high. Can you just kind of spell out, I guess, what the estimate that you had coming out of 2019 guidance from it was?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    If you just walked through the math, principally the $25 million was BridgeTex. The pipe is obviously close to full, with logistical constraints. If you take the $2.55 billion to the $2.46 billion, that's principally BridgeTex coming out. The vast majority of it. So you had the numbers right.

    Jean Ann Salisbury - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC

    Okay. A little higher than that. Thank you. And then it seems like once the pipelines to the Gulf are on from the Permian, that will be a bit more of a draw for Permian barrels then Cushing will be, which I think had a pretty long-term differential expectation in the forward curve. Can you kind of give us an estimate for how much of the flow on basin actually like doesn't go all the way to Cushing to get Cushing pricing and maybe won't be at risk once there is a more direct path to the goal?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Jean, this is Willie. That's Jeannie and this is Willie. That's a really tough question to answer because as barrels go down, depends on what happens to Cushing and what the arbitrage is, unless Harry has a better answer, I think it's really hard. These are definitely barrels at risk, but it's hard to put a number on it.

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    There are barrels at risk, but there's a certain pull from the Mid-Continent for Permian Basin volume. If you just look back historically, there have been times when the Permian has been – Midland has been a significant premium to Cushing, and volume still moved. So it's hard to pinpoint exactly, but there's definitely refiners in the Mid-Continent that rely on Permian Basin crude.

    Unknown Speaker

    And we also have...

    Jean Ann Salisbury - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC

    Okay.

    Unknown Speaker

    ...contracts for that movement, and we hedge some of that movement for ourselves as well.

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    Correct.

    Jean Ann Salisbury - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. LLC

    Great. Thanks a lot. That's all for me.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Colton Bean with Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Company.

    Colton Bean - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc.

    Afternoon. So, with the Canadian volumes looking like they ticked up there quarter-over-quarter, is some portion of that tied to S&L barrels moving on Milk River and Aurora, and to capture that light spreader or just any clarity there?

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    The Canadian volumes are mainly tied to production in Canada, so it's not drip in volume that impacts our Canadian.

    Colton Bean - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc.

    Got it. And then just can you give us an update on your thoughts around a potential extension of Saddlehorn to capture PRB growth? And I guess, pending Prop 12 – 112, does that impact the thought process around that extension?

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    We already have a pipeline that can source volumes out of Powder River into Saddlehorn.

    Colton Bean - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc.

    Got it. And if the proposition were to go ahead, I mean, is there anything you would need to do to increase the capacity to maybe repurpose Saddlehorn to be primarily a Powder River pipeline?

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    Saddlehorn has committed shippers, so it couldn't totally be a Powder River pipeline. But there are – we do have the capability of expanding – extending capacity into Saddlehorn, and there's some enhancements that could be accomplished at Saddlehorn as well. So...

    Colton Bean - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc.

    Got it.

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    ...we think we're in pretty good position to capture some of the pinch volume increases in the Powder River.

    Jeremy, do you have anything else you want to add that?

    Jeremy L. Goebel - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    No. I think we have multiple options. So, today, barrels move from that area through Saddlehorn on a spot basis. But longer term, there's a possibility to expand with the existing footprint with pumps, and then if there's more demand, you could loop segments on the line to create additional capacities.

    So I think depending on market demand, and we're watching capital budgets just as you are, and our customers demand on the system will optimize our capital spend relative to demand from the Powder River, but we're actively watching it. And we're honestly contracting some of the capacity in our pipelines in that area to enhance liquidity in our Guernsey terminal to make sure we have as many shots as possible to get those barrels.

    Colton Bean - Tudor, Pickering, Holt & Co. Securities, Inc.

    That's helpful. Thank you.

    Operator

    We'll go next to (38:04) with Credit Suisse.

    Unknown Speaker

    Hey. Good afternoon. I just want to start off with the potential distribution increase. Don't want to get too out of us here, but with the increase coming, and I realize you can't say much on specifics, but can you provide any sort of blueprint on how you decide what that first increase looks like and what the mechanism looks like going forward, just whether or not you increase it quarterly or annually from there?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Al, why don't you take that?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. And clearly, we can't provide specific numbers. The thoughts were all denoted on that slide. If you recall, back in August in 2017 when we made the reduction, we did make a comment that we would consider either starting with small – just normal kind of increases or a step change or a combination of both. We haven't made any decisions clearly as we get closer to that period of time. We'll look at the approach.

    We are leaning towards going to a more annual basis versus a quarterly basis, which was denoted on the slide as well. But as far as specific numbers now, clearly, we want to focus on maintaining liquidity and commercial flexibility, operational flexibility, credit metrics supporting mid-BBB and to make sure we minimize the need for equity capital markets. And so those are all the tenets that we kind of dial through our thought process, assuming it is for the first quarter payable in May, but that's really all we could share.

    Unknown Speaker

    Okay. No, that's fair. And we've heard a lot this quarter from your peers just around major crude export expansion projects, really tailored to VLCCs. Curious where you guys are on that. Seems like a natural extension to a lot of your pipelines. But just curious if you think there's maybe already a risk of overbuild here on the export side.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    I'll make a comment, and then Chris Chandler, I'd like to – maybe you can follow up.

    Chris Chandler - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Sure.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Clearly there are a lot of deepwater VLCC projects announced. These are all big, big projects, significant expense. When we looked at our Cactus pipeline, we had been trying to look at not only the pipeline takeaway but combining that with a dock. And what we've found is that different shippers are interested in different docks.

    So our view is that we can get the pipe – we can get the barrels to the coast and there is a number of different – there's plenty of docks that are being built and we can – we should have flexibility to get access to all those. And if it's a strong return and it's beneficial for us, we may participate. Otherwise, we're going to kind of watch and see what happens.

    Chris Chandler - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. The only thing I'd add is we do believe that one or more single point mooring projects do make sense going forward as crude oil exports continue to grow. It's, of course, the most efficient way to load a large volume of crude oil for export, and it's an area, like Willie said, that we're closely monitoring.

    Unknown Speaker

    Great. Appreciate that color. Thanks, everyone.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Hey, before we go on to the next caller, I want to circle back just to clarify. We are seeing a little more volume come across the border through our cross-border pipelines like Milk River. It's not a huge volume, but there is more volume that comes down in through Milk River into our Western Corridor system. Next question.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Dennis Coleman with Bank of America.

    Dennis P. Coleman - Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    Yes. Good evening to everyone. Thanks for taking my questions. I guess, if I can just start with the S&L and push a little bit more. Al, you talked about sort of normalizing that volume, I guess, for lack of a better description, into 2020. Anything you can say in terms of how we should size that? Obviously, there are some impacts that you talked about in terms of the debottlenecking projects, and I guess Canada plays a big role there as well. What have you assumed in terms of the projects coming on there from competitors that you've talked about?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. We wouldn't try to put a specific number for 2020 S&L out yet. What we're trying to do is just make sure – obviously, we started this year at $100 million for S&L, slowly took it up to $175 million, now $350 million. We think the $350 million is going to be there and likely exceed it in 2019. We're just trying to make sure that anybody that's modeling that segment recognizes that as all these Permian pipes get built, it gets sized down. There may be some of the Canadian opportunities go a little longer, but they are probably a little less material for us. So we would think you'd want to make sure you model a meaningful reduction from the $350 million when you're looking at 2020.

    Dennis P. Coleman - Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    Okay.

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    That's how we're going to run the company. As far as how we're thinking of leverage, distribution coverages, we're going to assume we've got a nice opportunity to capture it. It's helping us fund projects, reduce debt, but we're going to run the company in mind with a fairly modest amount of S&L contribution for 2020, and how we're thinking about things.

    Dennis P. Coleman - Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    Great. That's very helpful. Maybe just switching. There was a comment that St. James volumes were up in the quarter, and it seemed perhaps that it was – that's more crude by rail. But any expectation that that would continue to ramp up and any comments that you can give there?

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    I mean, we think we'll continue to see strong rail demand in 2019 at St. James. I think it's largely driven by the pipeline constraints. And as pipeline constraints ease, rail lines will likely subside some, but we've had steady business for a long time at St. James, it's just been accelerated due to the pipeline constraints.

    Dennis P. Coleman - Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    So, do you have excess capacity there? Is it something that could continue to ramp?

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    Oh, yes, we have additional capacity.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    The limit has been rail car access to rails. That's been what's been the limiting point through 2018 and, of course, prices – fixed prices and additional rail cars have been directed to the markets that need it.

    Dennis P. Coleman - Bank of America Merrill Lynch

    Okay. Okay. Thank you.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Jerren Holder with Goldman Sachs.

    Jerren Holder - Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

    Thanks. What is the latest on your potential to increase takeaway capacity of the Bakken and Canada?

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    Out of the Canadian Bakken or out of the Bakken and Canada?

    Jerren Holder - Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

    Bakken and Western Canada.

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    Okay. So our footprint is not significant in the Bakken. It's mainly consists of some smaller pipes and rail takeaway. So, obviously, we try and take advantage of the limited infrastructure we have, but we're not going to be one of the parties that develops a significant takeaway project out of the Bakken.

    Unknown Speaker

    We do have two cross-border connections, Rangeland and Wascana that we are working on how do we get more capacity on those two systems, but the volumes are fairly limited.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. And ideally that would be a pipeline system would be bidirectional where you could move items into the Canadian infrastructure if you had higher demand there or into the Bakken infrastructure if there was higher demand in the Bakken.

    Greg L. Armstrong - Plains All American GP Holdings LLC

    And that's in the Wascana piece, on the Rangeland piece, being bidirectional.

    Jerren Holder - Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

    Yeah. And then follow-up on the asset sales. Where are we following BridgeTex? Are you guys looking to do more? Are there any outstanding that are just waiting to close at this point?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Chris Chandler, why don't you take that one?

    Chris Chandler - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Sure. Jerren, this is Chris. Our goal for 2018 was to achieve $700 million in asset sales, and we have exceeded that goal. We will continue to evaluate our portfolio going forward based on valuation and strategic fit. But we don't feel any pressure to sell additional assets. If something changes there, we'll provide updates as warranted.

    Jerren Holder - Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

    And no pending deals that haven't closed yet or anything like that?

    Chris Chandler - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    That's correct.

    Jerren Holder - Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC

    Okay. Thank you.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Tristan Richardson with SunTrust.

    Tristan Richardson - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.

    Afternoon, guys. Just on the intrabasin side and debottlenecking. Can you give an update on your Wink to McCamey project as you sort of set the table for Cactus II?

    Jeremy L. Goebel - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. That's one of multiple projects. We have capacity in the Wink and then out of Wink. That will be on sometime within the last month of this year or first month of next year. But more importantly, we need capacity in the Wink as well, because there's a lot of production that's coming online in the Western Delaware Basin. And what that does is it frees up capacity in the Midland on our historical basin system. So it will give us a lot of capacity, just having the first leg on, to help keep that part of the basin and debottlenecked. So it creates additional tariff barrels from us even if we don't have the rest of Cactus on at that time, Cactus II.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Tristan, this is Willie. You should think of the Wink to McCamey piece, never mind – I was thinking of something else. Jeremy had it on.

    Tristan Richardson - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.

    Okay. Thank you.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Journey go from Wink over to Midland and then down to McCamey. And so by basically taking the hypotenuse of the triangle, you just – it makes it easier from the flow perspective.

    Tristan Richardson - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.

    It's helpful. Thank you. And then just quickly, with respect to the preliminary 2019 guide on the fee-based side and the feasibility you have on tariff volumes as some of these long hauls come online, could you talk about generally where you see tariff volumes in 2019 as it's presumed in your preliminary guide?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    We don't intend to provide a volume to go with the EBITDA until February. So, look forward, we'll provide that detail then.

    Tristan Richardson - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc.

    Okay. Thanks, Al.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Keith Stanley with Wolfe Research.

    Keith Stanley - Wolfe Research LLC

    Hi. Good evening. Just wanted to clarify on the Transportation segment guidance, implies a pretty strong acceleration in Q4, quite a bit more than what you've seen the past few quarters. So it's up $40 million, and then you're losing BridgeTex, so it looks like it's up really more like $65 million versus the third quarter. Is that just Sunrise causing a big debottlenecking in the system, or any other color or drivers to think about for Q4 and the nice uptick there in Transportation?

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. This is Willie. Clearly, Sunrise is a piece of it. But as we stated in the prepared comments, there clearly is an expectation for volumes – production volumes to increase. We saw a slight lull in completions in pushing barrels back. We expect a lot of that to come in the fourth quarter, so that's definitely a component of the growth piece.

    Keith Stanley - Wolfe Research LLC

    Okay. And then it looks like about a $500 million reduction in short-term debt. I'm assuming that's just hedge collateral coming back to you. And is that a sustainable level to model going forward?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    What I would say is a little bit of the flips between long-term and short-term had to do with the BridgeTex cash closing at the end of the quarter. So short-term was understated relative to probably what we could have borrowed under the same metric, i.e., hedged inventory and margin. But we have seen our margin numbers come back to what I would say is a pretty normal level, which is what we expected. Clearly, we had done a lot more hedging in – for the first eight to nine months of the year versus the fourth quarter, as we have mentioned. So what I would tell you is that probably below what you would expect if you look out six months or nine months from now due to the BridgeTex timing and the cash that came in from that.

    Keith Stanley - Wolfe Research LLC

    That cash was received in early October though, right? Or was it Q3?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    It was in Q3. Yeah.

    Keith Stanley - Wolfe Research LLC

    Okay. Thank you.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Patrick Wang with Baird.

    Patrick C. Wang - Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.

    Hi. Good afternoon. Thanks for taking my question. As you look toward resuming distribution growth in 2019, how does or doesn't preferred equity stay into the picture as a source of funding?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Well, today, clearly our view is that we're – when you look at next year, the equity portion of what our CapEx requirements will be would be funded principally with retained cash flow. We have room left on the growth basket as far as the rating agencies for hybrid or preferred type of securities, but our thought in 2019 would be that we would not raise any preferred to fund the capital program. Clearly, if our capital program grows or we see acquisitions in today's valuation for our common units, we would look to use preferred.

    Patrick C. Wang - Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.

    Got it. That's helpful. And then a bigger picture in the Permian. It looks like crude takeaway relief will come before new gas takeaway, so that when you think about flaring levels between now and 2020, how do you think about the risk of a gas-induced activity constraints on the oil side?

    Jeremy L. Goebel - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    This is Jeremy. That is a risk. There's also fractionation risk on the NGL side. We feel like gas is probably a little bit ahead of fractionation risk, but we're monitoring all the above. I think our view and I think, as Harry pointed out, volumes is predicated on a presumption that producers are not going to – they're going to continue to run rigs at a much faster rate than completions until they see a line of sight to debottlenecking of infrastructure. So we feel that a ramp towards the second half of next year and completions as there's a line of sight into oil, gas and NGL takeaway. But there is interim solutions just like there are with oil with some of the others, flaring being one. There's other ways to move NGL. So we're paying attention all of them, but I think our guidance reflects our view of the completion cadence we see for next year.

    Patrick C. Wang - Robert W. Baird & Co., Inc.

    All right. Great. Thanks for that detail.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Sunil Sibal with Seaport Global Securities.

    Sunil K. Sibal - Seaport Global Securities LLC

    Yes. Hi. Good afternoon, guys, and thanks for all the clarity. I just wanted to go back to the credit metrics that you laid out on slide 14. So when I look at that target numbers on the extreme right, the leverage metrics that you lay out there, that's consistent with a BBB rating that you're looking for – or mid-BBB rating that you're looking from rating agencies correct?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    You mean our targets? Yeah. They are. But rating agencies have adjusted kind of how they look at things over the recent past. But our intent is to, over time, make sure we get our leverage and our performance to where we will be mid-BBB again. That won't be instantaneous, we view, but they are consistent. But clearly, the bar has changed over the last few years.

    Sunil K. Sibal - Seaport Global Securities LLC

    And then within that EBITDA calculation, how do you kind of think about S&L contribution? Is that pretty much nailed out or it's like a minimum level kind of number?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    In how we think of leverage metrics?

    Sunil K. Sibal - Seaport Global Securities LLC

    Yes.

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. No. I mean, we'll include S&L in the metrics because clearly some of the debt that is in the numerator side of the calculation is there to generate S&L profitability, so you really can't eliminate the EBITDA without taking the debt out, right? That won't make any sense. But the reality of it is, is that in part of what the comment would think -trying to advise, and look, we recognize S&L is going to drop in 2020, so we can't sit and assume that we've got to dial that into our thinking of our leverage, that it's going to revert back to a more normal or lower level. And so we're not going to exclude it, but we're going to have our eyes open and the headlights on with regard to the fact it's going decrease in 2020. I hope that makes sense.

    Sunil K. Sibal - Seaport Global Securities LLC

    Yeah, it does. Thanks for that. And then, one – kind of a follow-up from previous question. When we think about close to your 4 million barrels of tariff volumes in Permian and then you look at your MVCs over the next, say, two to three years, could you give us a sense of a cascading – or impact of this MVCs rolling off over the next two to four years in Permian?

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah. No. I mean, clearly a substantial amount of our long haul is supported by MVCs. Clearly when – on the gathering side you got more acreage dedications probably supporting that. We do not have any material roll-off on large contracts on our MVCs over the next few years.

    Sunil K. Sibal - Seaport Global Securities LLC

    Okay. Got it. Thanks guys.

    Alan P. Swanson - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Yeah.

    Operator

    We'll go next to Ross Payne with Wells Fargo.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Hi, Ross.

    Operator

    Mr. Payne, were unable to hear you. You might try checking your mute button or picking up your handset.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    He must have left...

    Operator

    Due to no response, we'll move on to the next caller. We'll go next to Elvira Scotto with RBC Capital Markets.

    Elvira Scotto - RBC Capital Markets LLC

    Hey, good afternoon. A couple of quick clarification questions for me on the Exxon JV project. So just wanted to clarify, are you looking for additional third-party shippers or additional JV partners? And what would Plains ownership interest ultimately be?

    Jeremy L. Goebel - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    So we haven't disclosed the ownership, but ultimately – and then you can imagine that upstream companies and downstream companies, both shippers on pipelines, all and often cases whichever pipelines commit to take equity. So, in many cases, it's both. So we're really looking for long-term partners in the project and we're judicious in who we talk to and want it to be a long-term partner that preserves quality, has a good balance sheet. And so we're practically talking to parties that – the shortlist of parties that we think would make sense, but candidly they'll be shippers and equity owners in many cases.

    Willie C. W. Chiang - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Elvira, this is Willie. You should consider – you should think about our position as meaningfully less than 50%. We've made that comment before.

    Elvira Scotto - RBC Capital Markets LLC

    Great. Thanks. And then just a bigger picture question around Cushing. Can you maybe provide a little more color on your view of Cushing and its relevance longer term? Especially in the context of pipelines moving more Permian crude to the Gulf Coast and Canadian barrels potentially bypassing Cushing, especially with the Capline reversal.

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    Over 2 million barrels a day that moves through Cushing, I don't see that materially changing. When you look at, I think you're going to see we have fewer Permian volumes coming in. You're going to have more local production in the Mid-Continent. You're going to have more of the Rockies production coming into Cushing, so Cushing is going to continue to be a very viable hub. And when you look at what could potentially move down the Capline system through a connection, it's pretty small in relation to total Canadian production. Much more of that production is going to move through Cushing and down the reversed Capline system.

    Elvira Scotto - RBC Capital Markets LLC

    Okay. Thank you for that.

    Harry N. Pefanis - Plains All American GP LLC

    That answer your question?

    Elvira Scotto - RBC Capital Markets LLC

    Yeah, yeah, that's very helpful. Thank you very much.

    Roy I. Lamoreaux - Plains All American Pipeline LP

    Hey, it looks like we're at the top of the hour. I think we're going to – and we're going to go ahead and cut off questions at this point. Those of you that are remaining in the queue, Brett and I can circle back with you individually and address those questions. But thank you, everybody, for your time today, and we appreciate you being on the call.

    Operator

    This does conclude today's conference. We thank you for your participation. You may now disconnect.

    SeekingAlpha

    Martin Marietta Materials Inc (MLM) Q3 2018 Earnings Conference Call Transcript | killexams.com real questions and Pass4sure dumps

    Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.© The Motley Fool Logo of jester cap with thought bubble.

    Martin Marietta Materials Inc  (NYSE: MLM)

    Q3 2018 Earnings Conference Call

    Nov. 06, 2018, 2:00 p.m. ET

    Martin Marietta Materials Inc

    Contents:
  • Prepared Remarks
  • Questions and Answers
  • Call Participants
  • Prepared Remarks:

    Operator

    Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen and welcome to Martin Marietta's Third Quarter 2018 Earnings Conference Call. My name is Amanda and I will be your coordinator today. At this time all participants are in a listen-only mode. A question and answer session will follow the company's prepared remarks. As a reminder today's conference is being recorded. I would now like to turn the call over to your host, Ms. Suzanne Osberg, Vice President of Investor Relations for Martin Marietta. Ms. Osberg you may begin.

    Suzanne Osberg -- Vice President, Investor Relations

    Good afternoon and thank you for joining Martin Marietta's Third Quarter 2018 Earnings Call. With me today are Ward Nye, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; and Jim Nickolas, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer. To facilitate today's discussion we have made available during this webcast and on the Investor Relations section of our website Q3 2018 supplemental information, that summarizes our quarterly results and trends.

    As detailed on Slide 2, this conference call may include forward-looking statements as defined by securities laws in connection with future events, future operating results or financial performance. Like other businesses, we are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. Except as legally required, we undertake no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements, whether resulting from new information, future developments or otherwise.

    We refer you to the legal disclaimers contained in our third quarter earnings release and other filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, which are available on both our own and the SEC website. Please note that all financial and operating results discussed today are for third quarter 2018. Any comparisons are versus the prior year quarter, unless otherwise noted, and all margin references are based on revenues. Adjusted results exclude acquisition-related net expenses. The impact of selling acquired inventory after its mark-up to fair value in accordance with acquisition accounting and a restructuring charge.

    Furthermore, non-GAAP measures are defined and reconciled to the nearest GAAP measure in our Q3 2018 supplemental information and SEC filings. We will begin today's earnings call with Ward Nye, who will discuss our third quarter operating performance, as well as market trends heading into 2019. Jim Nickolas will then review our financial results, a question-and-answer session will follow.

    I will now turn the call over to Ward.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you Suzanne and thank you all for joining today's teleconference. Martin Marietta continues to benefit from an improving construction cycle and the strength of our operational performance. We achieved record third quarter revenues, gross profit, earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization, or EBITDA and diluted earnings per share. And we delivered these impressive results while successfully managing near-term challenges from historically high levels of precipitation.

    We estimate weather negatively impacted third quarter profitability by $40 million to $45 million. Importantly as noted in today's earnings release, we remain on course to once again deliver record revenues and EBITDA for the full year and are well positioned for continued growth in 2019.

    We're confident that the construction cycle is not nearing its peak in Martin Marietta-served markets and a wide range of factors support steady and sustainable construction growth and favorable pricing in the near to medium term. Specifically for the third quarter, in July and August we experienced more manageable weather patterns, consistent with our internal expectations, aggregates, cement and ready mixed concrete shipments, meaningfully accelerated and pricing also improved. These trends highlight the attractive demand environment across our geographic footprint, particularly in our key states of Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia and Iowa and are wholly consistent with our broader expectations.

    In September we experienced extraordinary weather, including Hurricane Florence and record Texas rainfall, halting the third quarter's earlier momentum which is typically our industry's busiest and most profitable period. These notable disruptions impacted more than half of our Building Materials business as measured by revenues.

    Regardless of underlying market strength from mother nature can temporarily interrupt construction activity. Hurricane Florence made landfall in Eastern North Carolina not far from the South Carolina border. This event affected at least 15 of September's 19 selling days, as the region was either preparing for and during and/or cleaning up from the storm. Indeed this unusually slow-moving storm produced torrential rainfall and widespread flooding throughout the Carolinas, leaving an estimated $17 billion of damage and over 18 trillion gallons of water in its wake. That's enough water to fill the Chesapeake Bay and 10 billion gallons of it filled our Castle Hayne and Belgrade quarries in Eastern North Carolina.

    While Texas was not affected by Hurricane Florence, the state experienced its wettest September in the last 124 years. Dallas-Fort Worth had nearly 13 inches of rain during the month, while San Antonio received nearly 17 inches of rain, almost 14 inches above normal. Texas is our largest state by revenues, with aggregates, cement and ready mixed concrete operations throughout the Texas Triangle. The negative financial impact of September's record rainfall was considerably more significant than both Hurricane Florence and last year's Hurricane Harvey combined.

    Most importantly we're grateful that our employees and their families are safe in the aftermath of September severe weather. Our thoughts, prayers and relief efforts are geared toward those affected, as they rebuild their lives and communities. As a company, we manage what we can control. We've initiated pumping activities that flooded North Carolina quarries and systematically resumed sales at the vast majority of our affected locations. Since North Carolina is our third largest state by revenues and our leading state by unit profitability, Mid-America Group shipments, pricing, production and margins have been disproportionately negatively affected in the near term. However we view the situation for precisely what it is, temporary.

    As we've seen historically, emergency repairs to houses, businesses and transportation networks are critical in the early days and weeks following natural disasters. Reconstruction efforts typically require years of steady building activity with increased demand in heavy side building materials. Importantly we remain appropriately focused on our tactical day-to-day decisions and mindful of the long-term aspects of our business.

    We know the dynamics of our industry. The various needs and abilities of our communities, customers and suppliers and how these forces coalesce. That's why Martin Marietta's core has been fashioned around macroeconomics, reflecting the powerful demographic and related trends that we see as so critical to overall success in our space. Accordingly, our leading market positions, discipline pricing strategy and execution of our strategic plan, position Martin Marietta for further growth and shareholder value creation, as the ongoing construction cycle continues for the foreseeable future.

    To be clear, in our view the construction cycle is not nearing its peak in Martin Marietta served markets. In fact many of our most attractive areas while growing are still well below mid-cycle shipment levels. Further it remains difficult to see an end to this recovery when the long awaited arrival of increased infrastructure activity has only recently begun in earnest. Throughout our geographic footprint, we see no signs of either a slowdown or markets that are overbuilt.

    To the contrary, employment and population trends together with the solid fiscal health of our key states, support steady and sustainable construction growth in the near to medium term. Our optimism is further bolstered by favorable pricing trends, typically an indicator of underlying market strength.

    Now let's review the third quarter operating results in more detail. Heritage aggregate shipments adjusted for third quarter 2017 volumes from the Forsyth County, Georgia quarry we divested in April 2018 grew 4%. We estimate heritage volume growth would have been closer to 12%, absent the noted weather headwinds. Public construction activity is typically the most weather-sensitive sector, due to strict Department of Transportation specifications and performance standards.

    Accordingly, heritage aggregate shipments to the infrastructure market were flat, as large public projects under way in North Carolina and Texas were delayed. Importantly, we're encouraged by the recent acceleration in public lettings and contract awards, most notably in Texas, Colorado, North Carolina, Georgia and Florida and by improving rail service. The percentage of our heritage aggregate shipments to the infrastructure market remains below the company's most recent five-year average of 43%.

    As state DOTs and contractors continue to address labor constraints and the broader industry benefits from further regulatory reform, infrastructure construction activity should continue to be bolstered from the funding provided by the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act or FAST Act. Additionally state and local initiatives such as the infrastructure funding proposals included on Colorado's ballot today, show a growing grassroots effort to relieve traffic congestion and improve commute times.

    State and local initiatives have historically garnered strong vote or approval, and we believe they will play an expanded role in public sector activity. Heritage aggregate shipments to the nonresidential market increased 5% in the third quarter, driven primarily by data and distribution centers as well as wind farms. Consistent with third-party forecasts, nonresidential construction activity should continue to increase in both the commercial and heavy industrial sectors for the next several years in key Martin Marietta markets.

    Additional federal regulatory approvals supported by higher oil prices should notably contribute to increased aggregates consumption from the next wave of energy sector projects, particularly along the Gulf Coast. Construction activity for these projects is expected to begin in earnest in 2019 and beyond. The nonresidential market represented 33% of third quarter heritage aggregate shipments. Heritage aggregate shipments to the residential market increased 7%.

    Texas, Florida, North Carolina, Colorado, Georgia and South Carolina consistently ranked in the Top 10 states nationally for growth in single-family housing units starts, inclusive of Iowa, Maryland and Indiana. Growth in single-family housing unit permits for our top nine states, is outpacing the national average. Looking ahead, regional residential construction growth should continue as supported by employment and population gains in our key markets. And while mortgage rate increases may temporarily dampen the growth of housing starts, once stabilized, the residential market will adapt and continue to strengthen.

    Our view in this respect is not based upon blind optimism and hope it's fact-based. Specifically, housing starts have yet to return to historical levels, despite notable population gains. We see the home building industry is just beginning to address the shortage of single-family housing units that exists, particularly for entry-level homes. Our leading positions in southeastern and southwestern states offer superior opportunities to benefit from this expected growth. Furthermore, continued strength in residential construction supports future infrastructure and nonresidential activity.

    The residential market accounted for 20% of third quarter aggregate shipments. To conclude our discussion on end-users, heritage aggregate shipments to the ChemRock/Rail market accounted for the remaining third quarter shipments and increased 6%, reflecting improved ballast shipments for the Midwest and Rocky Mountain Divisions. Heritage aggregates pricing improved 3%. The combination of product and geographic mix lowered the company's average selling price by $0.13 per ton or 1%.

    The Mid-America Group which includes the Carolina's, posted heritage pricing growth of nearly 3% reflecting the impact of weather and a higher percentage of lower priced ballast shipments. Product mix, muted heritage pricing growth for the Southeast Group to 2%, as our offshore operations opportunistically shipped more lower priced sand material.

    Double digit pricing growth in Colorado was partially offset by product mix and reduced long haul shipments in Texas, resulting in a 3% increase in West Group pricing. Factoring in, expected full year product and geographic mix, heritage aggregates pricing is expected to increase 3% to 4% for 2018. The recently acquired Bluegrass Materials operations remain on track in 2018, despite Maryland's second wettest year on record. As a reminder selling prices for these operations are 10% to 15% below our corporate average.

    Synergy realization is progressing ahead of plan. Cement shipments and pricing increased 8% and 3% respectively, reflecting positive demand in the vibrant Texas economy. Importantly, both our Midlothian and Hunter operations reported double digit volume growth prior to September's record rainfall, highlighting the underlying demand in our Texas markets. Our Cement business has recently announced an $8 per ton price increase effective April 2019.

    Turning to our downstream businesses. Ready-mixed concrete shipments increased 3%, with solid gains throughout the Rocky Mountain and Southwest Divisions, despite September's record rainfall in Texas. Overall, third quarter ready mixed concrete prices increased 3%, with solid improvements in most markets.

    In Colorado, project delays and permitting issues led to the 9% decrease in hot mixed asphalt shipments. Pricing was relatively flat as more contractors bid on both a reduced number of as well as more geographically concentrated Colorado DOT projects. This transitory situation should improve in 2019 with greater Colorado DOT funding, and more dispersed public works.

    I'll now turn the call over to Jim to discuss more specifically our third quarter financial results.

    James Nickolas -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

    Thank you, Ward. The Building Materials business achieved products and services revenues of $1.1 billion, a 12% increase, and an all-time record for the company. Gross profit increased 7% to $288 million. These results included $61 million product revenue contribution from the acquired Bluegrass operations and adjusted gross margins comparable with our heritage Mid-Atlantic and Southeast operations.

    Overall, aggregates product gross margin was 30.4% which includes $8 million negative impact, related to selling the acquired inventory after its markup to fair value as part of acquisition accounting. Excluding this impact, adjusted aggregates product gross margin was 31.6%. We're relatively flat compared with the prior year quarter, despite weather disruptions and higher diesel expenses that negatively impacted our quarterly cost and efficiency profile. As Ward mentioned, our cement operations benefited from volume and pricing growth in Texas, leading to a 210 basis point expansion of product gross margin to 33.1%.

    Magnesia Specialties once again posted record revenues and profitability, as the business benefits from increased global demand for magnesia chemical products, as well as strong domestic steel production. Operating efficiencies and lower unit energy costs contributed to a 370 basis points expansion in product gross margin to 39.2%. During the third quarter we commenced a planned restructuring initiative to consolidate 20 sites in the associated mixer truck fleet for Southwest ready mix concrete operations. These actions are designed to improve the long-term profitability of the Southwest business.

    We incurred a $7 million restructuring charge, which is recorded in other operating expenses for the West Group, for related asset impairment and severance costs. This restructuring should pay for itself in less than 12 months. Our strong cash flow allowed us to repurchase 305,000 shares of our common stock at a total cost of $60 million during the quarter.

    In addition to share repurchases, our Board of Directors approved a 9% increase to our quarterly cash dividend payment in August. This is one of the larger percentage increases in the company's annual dividend and indicative of our positive business outlook. Since becoming a public company in 1994, we have steadily maintained or increased our dividend, including throughout the long years of the Great Recession. We have now returned more than $1.3 billion to shareholders through combination of meaningful and sustainable dividends and share repurchases since the announcement of our share repurchase program in February 2015.

    We also made a contribution of $150 million to our qualified, defined benefit plan during the quarter. As a result this plan is now fully funded and we were able to deduct these contributions out of 2017 federal income tax return at a higher rate compared with the new lower corporate federal income tax rate for 2018. For the trailing 12 months ended September 2018, our ratio of consolidated net debt to consolidated EBITDA as defined in the applicable credit agreement was 2.72 times.

    We expect to be modestly above the top end of our target leverage ratio of 2 to 2.5 times at year-end, remaining well within our covenants in our credit agreement. 2018 capital expenditures are currently expected to be $375 million, down from our initial full-year guidance of $450 million to $500 million. This reduction is largely a function of managing project timing as well as prioritizing projects, focused on capital efficiency and higher returns.

    Martin Marietta will continue to further shareholder value, by opportunistically deploying free cash flow, through growing dividends and share repurchases, as well as value-enhancing acquisitions and improving organic investment, all while returning to our target leverage ratio. We remain on track to again deliver record revenues and EBITDA for the full year. And as detailed in today's release, we updated our full year 2018 guidance to reflect our year-to-date results and expectations.

    We now expect heritage aggregate shipments to range from flat to up 1% and heritage pricing to increase in the range of 3% to 4%. On a consolidated basis, we expect total revenues to range from $4,135 million to $4,255 million and adjusted EBITDA to range from $1,100 million to $1,145 million.

    With that I'll turn the call back over to Ward.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thanks Jim. We're confident about Martin Marietta's outlook, given the disciplined execution of our strategic plan and our attractive geographic footprint. Looking ahead to 2019, we anticipate mid-single digit growth in both aggregates shipment and pricing. The demand for our construction materials combined with widespread customer optimism is strong and we see no signs of these dynamics will abate in either the short or longer-term. Importantly, we have the ability and capacity to meet future market demands.

    Remember, our overall aggregate shipments are still 10% below mid-cycle demand with key states such as Georgia and Maryland, home to the majority, to form Bluegrass operations, along with North Carolina, 20% to 25% below mid-cycle demand. We fully intend to benefit from the strong underlying demand dynamics and believe the current construction cycle will continue to grow at a steady pace in 2019 for each of the company's three primary construction end-use markets.

    If the operator will now provide the required instructions, we'll turn our attention to addressing your questions.

    Questions and Answers:

    Operator

    Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our first question comes from the line of Kathryn Thompson of Thompson Research Group. Your line is open.

    Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group. -- Analyst

    Hi. Thank you for taking the questions today. First just focusing on the 2019 outlook really a two-part question. What gives you confidence for the mid-single digit volume and pricing for 2019? And layering in -- on that, with the acceleration of public lettings in Texas, Colorado and Georgia, could you talk about the types of projects you're seeing? Are these overlay our larger type projects? Because extensively that would play into your 2019 outlook. Thank you.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Good afternoon, Katherine and thanks for your question. I think part of what you just said, answers the first part of it. So if we come back and say, looking at state lettings and contract awards in Florida, they're up 21%; in North Carolina they're up 65%; and Texas they're up 33%. So when we're looking at that type of activity in the public area, where as you know over the last several years it's been below 40% of our volumes. We think this is good evidence that it's heading back toward more traditional areas as well, at least on a percentage basis, because as you recall we typically range from 45% to 48%, not less than 40%.

    So if we're looking at that and we expect more public activity, we think that's actually very good. We think in those states it's very good. Here's what we also see. We're seeing more design build work and design build work typically means larger and more complicated projects. In many places we see this replacing some P3 work which we actually think is really quite good. So from your perspective Katharine, there are larger jobs, they're more complicated jobs, oftentimes they have to multiple primes and those types of work are typically from the ground up. And what I mean by that is you'll see the entire array of aggregate products from base material, at the very beginning of projects to clean stone, as it's incorporated into asphalt or concrete as we go through. I think that's the biggest piece on infrastructure.

    We also feel good about nonres and we feel good about res. If we're looking at the Dodge Momentum Index, that and the ABI both remain positive. We're looking at the next large wave of multi-year energy projects coming into Texas, and really as we go into 2019. And the other thing that strikes us is in Martin Marietta markets housing still remains very strong. I mean we're looking at housing numbers this year that are still well below the 50-year average of 1.5 million starts. We see that there is not enough new or existing homes available to meet current demand.

    We're talking with homebuilders and listening to their commentary as well, and they're seeing strong housing fundamentals. And I think the other piece of it, that's important is, if you think about where the majority of our footprint is, it's southeastern and southwestern. And we feel like those geographies really offer superior opportunities for housing in the near term and the longer term. So I hope that answered both parts of your question, Kathryn.

    Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group. -- Analyst

    It did. And tagging onto infrastructure, aggregate shipments were flat in the quarter, given North Carolina, Texas, weather delays. If the weather had been sustained in July and August through September any idea how shipments would have shaked out?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Well, I think if we had seen that go the way that we though it would, I think shipments would have been up 12% for the quarter, and that's very much in keeping with what we've thought, seeing that type of double digit performance for the quarter, was wholly consistent with what we see in underlying market demand. And that's what gives us the type of confidence that we have looking into 2019 as well, Kathryn.

    Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group. -- Analyst

    Okay. And then in shipments in the Southeast Group increased nearly 12%. Is this a sign we're seeing improved long-haul distribution in the Florida yards? Is seems that signal the easing of bottleneck in rails or other factors? And maybe just because rails have been such a focus for this year, any color on that would be very helpful. Thank you.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you, Kathryn. I think it's twofold. Number one, business was better in Atlanta and we think that will continue to be the case. And number two, business was improving at the Florida yards. Florida DOT has a very good DOT budget this year, they're going to have a very similar looking budget next year. And obviously the more we see going into Florida the better. Keep in mind the southeastern pricing still would have had a headwind, relative to more lower priced sand products coming into that market from offshore as well. So what I would say is, as we look at that overall market, we think it's attractive and we think it's early attractive.

    Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

    Great. Thank you so much.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you, Kathryn.

    Operator

    Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Phil Ng of Jefferies. Your line is open.

    Phil Ng -- Jefferies. -- Analyst

    Hey, guys. 12% heritage volumes in aggregates export, it was certainly very strong. Can you parse out what markets really stood out for you, given some of the bottlenecks you're seeing in rail and labor? Is this level sustainable as we look at 2019?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Good afternoon, Phil. The markets that were particularly looking good, Mid-Atlantic was looking good; North Carolina was demonstrating good attractive growth. We were seeing good attractive growth in the southeast; we were seeing attractive growth in Texas when the weather was dry and we're seeing attractive growth in the Midwest when the weather was dry. So as we look across the vast majority of our footprint, we were seeing good activity in all of them. And the other thing that I think it's important Phil, as we look into 2019, what I would tell you, is each one of our division presence, I think they're going to have a better 2019 than they did 2018. So I hope that's helpful.

    Phil Ng -- Jefferies. -- Analyst

    Okay. That's really helpful. And then your ready-mix and asphalt business margins were under pressure a little bit. Asphalt, I would imagine a good chunk of your business is more than a pass-through dynamic to liquid asphalt. Can you help quantify that? And how quickly can you be get caught up? And then on the ready-mix side, I think it was up. Did weather limit some of the momentum in Texas? And how should we think about margin there being all caught up? Thanks.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Absolutely. So if we look at the ready-mix business what I would say is twofold. A very attractive healthy ready-mix business in Colorado, we were clearly weather affected in Texas. You still saw volumes up in Texas, despite the fact that it was the wettest September on record. So I would say those would be the primary drivers relative to the Texas business. If we think about asphalt, all by itself, what I will say is this, you had larger projects in Colorado this year, but there were fewer of them. So you had large projects, more focused around Denver, so it's a practical matter, you are seeing more contractors buying for fewer but larger projects. We think that rule is actually changing next year and we're likely to see much more work up and down the I-25 carter, which is what we've typically seen. You might have seen that really even as we got to our mid-year the general tax revenues in Colorado were so attractive, that Colorado was looking to let a good bit of work in calendar year -- calendar quarter Q4, right now. So again, I think that was the single-largest driver relative to hot mix.

    And you also had liquid pricing moving up. I do think in many respects that's going to be helpful relative to hot mix pricing. That's not something we're particularly concerned about, because most of our projects are indexed in that state, and we do have our own storage facility not far outside (inaudible).

    So again, Phil, I hope that was helpful.

    Phil Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

    Very helpful. Thanks a lot. Good luck on the quarter.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you.

    Operator

    Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Scott Schrier of Citi. Your line is open.

    Scott Schrier -- Citigroup Inc -- Analyst

    Hi, good afternoon. Just looking at the aggregates margins and obviously there is a lot of noise in there with fixed cost absorption efficiencies and cost. I'm curious if you could talk a little bit about the overall environment, say for markets that weren't impacted by weather or North Carolina, Texas when they were dry, how did the price cost and how the operating efficiencies are looking in aggregates currently?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Yeah, when the volumes are working, the way that we saw the volumes working in July and August, Scott, the cost profile, the pricing everything else is actually working just as you would expect. I mean you nailed it. The fact is, if you look at our North Carolina and Texas which are two outsized disproportionately important states in North Carolina. When those two have types of events that we saw in Q3, we're going to feel it. So actually, as I step back and take a look at that business, recognize saying what it had endured in those two states and the results that we put up, actually feel quite good about that. And again, I think to the extent that you believe as we do, that 2019 is going to be a year where you see good volumes in those states, I think it actually portends very well for what we see in the year ahead.

    Scott Schrier -- Citigroup Inc -- Analyst

    Got it. And then just following up on your earlier comment on design build, I mean obviously you can control what you can control and there is a lot of external factors that have, I guess you, investors everybody frustrated with how volumes are going. And the one thing I'm thinking is, it's really good that you're talking about these larger type project and we see it in the transportation award that's projects are getting larger. But with that -- did that carry may be a higher tendency for certain projects to get cancelled or more lumpiness and ongoing delays? I guess I'm just worried or concerned or what do you think that if we sit here 12 months today on the earnings call, the commentary we'll talk about will have a lot of large projects and backlog, but these kind of projects get delayed. Such as any color around how you see that playing out?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    My general view is design build jobs are ones that we should celebrate. Because if you go back to some of the things that I think you've heard from the industry over the past several years, that times some of the holdups have been in getting design work out of DOTs because of labor constraints. I think to the extent that you're seeing large JVs come forward with design-build projects in today's environment, I think that actually serves to accelerate contract delivery and execution.

    The other thing that I believe, that I think is really going to help Scott, is keep in mind the more public work we see going on, particularly design builds or others. These typically will have good hard finish dates relative to them. And I think that's also going to keep good pace to the overall construction activity. You don't see that as much in nonres, you clearly don't see it as much in residential. So as I look at in a higher degree of design build, I actually view that as good news for the industry and in that context, a means of building materials industry.

    Scott Schrier -- Citigroup Inc -- Analyst

    Great. Thanks for that.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you, Scott.

    Operator

    Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Jerry Revich of Goldman Sachs. Your line is open.

    Jerry Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

    Yes, hi, good afternoon.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Hi, Jerry.

    Jerry Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

    Ward, can you talk about the cadence of pricing that you've seen over the course of this year? And what have you seen for aggregates specifically in terms of competitor pricing discipline? How is the situation involve this year compared to last year?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    I think this year has gone -- if you look at where we're guiding, we're guiding very much within the range that we talked about at the beginning of the year. What I'm seeing right now relative to next year, actually it looks to be a better environment in many respects, because I think people recognize the underlying demand is so strong. I mean here is something that we can look at internally Jerry, and I think it underscores why we feel good about the pricing.

    We're going into 2019 with all of our downstream businesses having our largest backlogs in their history. And what we're hearing from many of our customers is they're in the same place. So it's a practical matter, it's not unusual for a sophisticated downstream customer, to not want to run away from our price increase, because in many respects that helps them in their business all by themselves. So at this point, we'll obviously come out later with more definitive guidance relative to pricing in 2019. But we're certainly seeing clean stone increases in many areas between the $1 and $2 a ton. And I think that actually gives you a great snapshot of what we are hearing relative to demand and how people are looking at 2019.

    Jerry Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

    And as you think about the cost structure from here, this year in a challenging weather environment, you're going to be growing EBITDA a touch faster than sales, if we see the picture of mid-single digit volume and mid-single digit pricing playing out next year. I guess can you go back to seeing EBITDA growing three times the level of sales growth? Or any moving pieces we should keep in mind about the cost structure 2019 versus 2018?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Well, I think much of it goes back to some of the commentary that we made in the prepared remarks. And that is, take a look at the part of the country that's still operating considerably below mid-cycle. And if you start seeing the type of performance out of Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina and others, that certainly population trends would indicate. Those are some of the most powerful places in which we operate and that would clearly drive EBITDA in some very different ways.

    The other thing that I will remind you is coming into the year, this year, obviously cement has had, again what I think it's a pretty attractive year. But we also came into the year having done a large capital project on our Midlothian plant last year. And we were little bit slow coming out of the gate in January and February in the cement market in Texas. So again if you think about, what I believe it's going to be a very attractive Texas cement market next year and a very attractive southeastern and Mid-Atlantic aggregates market next year. I'll let you do the math, but again I think those are markets that probably help answer your questions, as well as anything.

    Jerry Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

    Okay. Thank you.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you, Jerry.

    Operator

    Thank you. Our next question comes from the line of Michael Wood of Nomura Instinet. Your line is open.

    Michael Wood -- Nomura Instinet -- Analyst

    Hi. Good afternoon.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Hi, Mike.

    Michael Wood -- Nomura Instinet -- Analyst

    If you talk about industry bottlenecks, Texas in particular, I'm curious when pent-up demand gets released in more normal weather, what are the industry constraints the growth in particular public spending in nonres?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    I think from our perspective there is not any. So if you're looking at it purely from a Martin Marietta perspective, we can put on the ground whatever contractors require. I think one of the issues the contractors are working through right now is simply relative to labor inputs going on with respect to trucking. And here a couple of things that I would point out to you, in the host of our markets we're simply seeing contracts working longer hours and working weekends, that's not a surprise, the end of the year is coming.

    We're also seeing truck driver shortages being addressed in several ways. We see in a number of markets the housing dollar bonus is being given to drivers, drivers are being given free healthcare. But here is some stats, that I think are important to keep in mind, Mike. HEC put out a report in August 2018 and 62% of contractors have turned to base pay increases, because they recognize the need to get more people in to do the work. And I think if you come back and say, has labor been an issue for contractors through this year? It absolutely has. Has trucking been a shortage? It has. I think people are addressing it.

    One of our large contractors here in North Carolina would tell me, he is going to have a record year and every day there are 10% fewer trucks available than he wishes. And you know what, that's not something that I think is going to persist. So again, I do think rail has also been a bit of a bottleneck this year. I do see that getting better. You can listen to the earnings calls from the different Class I railroads, I think they're very focused on dealing with this. And we do see progress in that regard. So are there bottlenecks? There are. Are they on our end? They're not. Do we see them in large part getting better? We do.

    Michael Wood -- Nomura Instinet -- Analyst

    That's helpful. And since it's election day are there any midterm votes that you're watching in terms of state level infrastructure propositions that you might want to call our attention to?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    What I would tell you is, let's all watch that together. I think, (inaudible) would tell you that there are over 300 ballot initiatives on various ballots today. That gives you a great feel for simply how many projects there are out there and how many jurisdictions we're looking at it. One of the things that we would just watch because we're curious, we're anxious to see how things go in Colorado this evening.

    We think Colorado is going to be in a great place if nothing happens. But keep in mind, there are two different ballot initiatives in that state this evening. One inspirationally called Let's Go, Colorado, and the other a little bit more bluntly, Fix Our Damn Roads. So we'll watch that carefully and see how that shakes out.

    Michael Wood -- Nomura Instinet -- Analyst

    Great. Thank you.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you, Mike.

    Operator

    Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Stanley Elliott of Stifel.

    Stanley Elliott -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

    Hey, there. Good morning, good afternoon. Thank you, guys, for taking my question. Quick question on the CapEx spend and the deferral piece. Does that slip into next year? How do we think about CapEx? And I guess the root of the question is that you're too seven-ish (ph) right now, I mean it's not hard to think that you guys could get below two times in terms of a net debt-to-EBITDA next year, and I'm just trying to frame up some of the casual implications.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Look, I'll address the CapEx, then turn it over to Jim to give you a little bit more color. Here is what I would say, look, we've been spending CapEx above DD&A for the past several years. And I think we've actually spent it very well. I think if we're looking at something below $400 million this year as we really look at the full year, I would tell you that's probably not a bad ZIP code for you to start thinking about next year as well. We're going to be focused on CapEx that really gives the type of return that we expect and you would expect, so we probably will see that dial back just a little bit. But I know your question was more than just about CapEx, so let me turn the balance of it over to Jim to respond.

    James Nickolas -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

    Yeah. So, Stanley, the company's capital allocation priorities are unchanged. The first call on capital is the right acquisition that will enable our successful execution of our growth plan, follow with investing in business in organic growth and CapEx that Ward mentioned being relatively constant to the next year. And then beyond that, returning cash to shareholders through a meaningful, sustainable dividend, all while targeting -- and the share repurchases, all while targeting our 2 to 2.5 times debt-to-EBITDA ratio. Just going to point out, in the last six months, we've completed the second largest acquisition in the company's history, which was all cash and debt financed. Since then, we've de-risked the balance sheet, paying down debt and funding our qualified defined benefit plan.

    Additionally, as we mentioned, we bought back shares in Q3, $60 million worth. It's been about 1.5 years since we repurchased shares, so we're back in the market. We also increased the dividend 9% this August. So, we're very -- feeling very good about our future. And with the equity market sales of late, we view our shares as cheap and we'll be actively considering share repurchases. We'll be opportunistic to the balanced approach with our cash flows. But, again, given our positive outlook for the future and our expectations for growing earnings, share repurchases will be funded through cash flow from operations going forward.

    We are focused on lowering our leverage to within our target ratio. We're going to keep strengthening the balance sheet. But, again, given the cheap stock price, we're going to be looking at that as well. All-in-all, we're taking a balanced approach and we expect to fund the needs of the business, repay debt and repurchase shares, all while de-levering over the next 12 months.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Hey Stanley, I guess the punch line is, we've got a high-class problem. I think we're going to be in a place that we can fund our CapEx the way that we need to. I think we do transactions really well. I think we've got a team that not only does the transactions themselves well, but I know we have an operating team that makes them perform extraordinarily well. And again, being in a position that we can take a look at share buybacks and doing things like we're doing with the dividend, puts us in a very attractive spot and we're going to enjoy this and take advantage of it.

    Stanley Elliott -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

    Yeah, no doubt. And then the aggregate pricing sounds very good. Cement pricing, you talked about the $8 per ton. Can you talk about kind of the confidence? Sometimes the cement pricing tends to be a little more volatile, I guess. What are you seeing in the Texas market that gives you confidence that the $8 is a good number for us in the coming year?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Well, what I would encourage you to do is just do some other channel checks and get a sense of where you think competitors are there as well. And my guess is, you'll get some comfort when you look at that. That's certainly what we're seeing as we hear from customers and others in that marketplace. I think the other piece of it goes back to some of the commentary that I offered before. And that is the downstream businesses backlogs are really very, very high. And this was a year in which cement was relatively tight in Texas. I think you could certainly see that next year as well.

    And again, the location of those plants and where I think we are in the cycle is what gives me the type of confidence around that, that I have as we go into 2018 -- into 2019, forgive me.

    Stanley Elliott -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

    Perfect. Appreciate the time and congrats on a nice work in a tough year.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you so much, Stanley.

    Operator

    Thank you. Our next question is from the line of Garik Shmois of Longbow Research. Your line is open.

    Jeffrey Stevenson -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

    Hey, this is Jeff Stevenson on for Garik. My first question is on weather impacted markets and how long North Carolina, for example, takes to normalize? Do you expect this to potentially bleed into next year? And if so has it factored into your guidance?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    I don't think it's going to bleed into next year. Obviously, it's significantly affected the quarter. As I indicated in the prepared remarks, we did have two quarries in the eastern part of the state that ended up being a catcher's mitt for a lot of floodwater. What I'd tell you is, sadly, we have gotten pretty good at this, and we build up inventories at those eastern locations recognizing that if a hurricane comes along, we need to be able to sell materials. So I don't think we're going to be in material shortage land around either Belgrade or Castle Hayne. Those are the two quarries had been filled with water. We are undertaking pumping at those quarries.

    My guess is, if we're looking at Belgrade, it's probably four to six months to get the water out of there. Castle Hayne actually has a little bit more. It has about 8 billion gallons of water in it. That's probably going to be closer to six to nine months. However, I do not anticipate that being a market situation as we go into next year. We're going to have run some, pumps. I mean, that's going to cost us modestly more money for some period of time. But I don't see that being something that, if I'm you and I'm modeling out 2019, I'm not putting that very high or my very best.

    Jeffrey Stevenson -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

    Great. Great. And I just had a question on incremental margins for next year with a potentially stronger demand environment and relatively easier comps, could there be any upward bias?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Well, again, I'll take you back to the geography. We will give you a good view of 2019 when we come out in February, so I don't want to get too far over my skis right now. But, obviously, what we see right now for 2019 looks attractive and like the geographies, Jeff. So I'll leave it at that for right now.

    Jeffrey Stevenson -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

    Okay. And then lastly, cement guidance was put down slightly, I was just wondering if you could provide any more color on the buckets driving that?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    I think primarily it was September rains, that was your big single issue. But I know Jim had some comments on cement as well.

    James Nickolas -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

    If your question's on Q3, it was September rains, if your question's on Q4, it's the rains we've already seen in October, so far for Texas.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    So we try to take everything we've seen into account with a full year of the little bit that's left in 2018.

    Jeffrey Stevenson -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

    Got it. Thank you.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you, Jeff.

    Operator

    Thank you. (Operator Instructions) Our next question is from the line of Adam Thalhimer of Thompson Davis. Your line is open.

    Adam Thalhimer -- Thompson Davis -- Analyst

    Hey, good afternoon.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Hello.

    Adam Thalhimer -- Thompson Davis -- Analyst

    Ward, I wanted to start first on the ready-mix pricing, which increased over $5 sequentially. Just curious what drove that?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    I'm sorry, what my take was on that?

    Adam Thalhimer -- Thompson Davis -- Analyst

    On ready mix, pricing.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Yeah. Look, I think, clearly, you've got a very attractive ready mix market in Colorado with high barriers to entry and a very good ready mix business. I think, clearly, we were seeing the type of increases in Texas that you would expect to see, given the types of backlogs that are there and what I think can be a tightness in that market in many respects. So, I think in most regards, Adam, it's the sign of a good healthy marketplace with good underlying demand. So, I think those are your primary drivers.

    Adam Thalhimer -- Thompson Davis -- Analyst

    So there's nothing unusual in Q2 that can stay at that level?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    No, there was nothing unusual in Q2. In fact, the things that were unusual in Q2 or Q3 were more things in our face, not things at our back.

    Adam Thalhimer -- Thompson Davis -- Analyst

    And then the pricing -- aggregates pricing for 2019, how does that -- does that start to flow through mostly in January next year?

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    It varies. Some price increases will go on in January, some increases may go on in, in April. Look, if you're sitting where I am and where you are, you've got biased toward January. My guess is most will go in January. I think a good number will go in April. And the simple fact is, construction doesn't really get under way in earnest until the second half of March. So it's more of an optical issue than a real issue. But I think you'll probably have most going in January, you will have some that will going in April.

    Adam Thalhimer -- Thompson Davis -- Analyst

    Perfect. Okay, thanks Ward.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you.

    Operator

    Thank you. And at this time, there are no further questions in the queue. I'd like to turn the conference back over to Mr. Ward Nye for closing remarks.

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    Thank you for joining our third quarter 2018 earnings conference call. Our commitment to operational excellence and the disciplined execution of our strategic plan positions Martin Marietta to drive shareholder value as we continue to benefit from the steady multi-year construction recovery. We look forward to discussing our fourth quarter and full year 2018 results in February. As always, we're available for any follow-up questions with you. Thank you again for your time and your continued support of Martin Marietta. Have a great day.

    Operator

    Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for your participation in today's conference. This does conclude the program. You may now disconnect. Everyone have a great day.

    Duration: 50 minutes

    Call participants:

    Suzanne Osberg -- Vice President, Investor Relations

    Howard Nye -- Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer

    James Nickolas -- Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer

    Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group. -- Analyst

    Kathryn Thompson -- Thompson Research Group -- Analyst

    Phil Ng -- Jefferies. -- Analyst

    Phil Ng -- Jefferies -- Analyst

    Scott Schrier -- Citigroup Inc -- Analyst

    Jerry Revich -- Goldman Sachs -- Analyst

    Michael Wood -- Nomura Instinet -- Analyst

    Stanley Elliott -- Stifel, Nicolaus & Company -- Analyst

    Jeffrey Stevenson -- Longbow Research -- Analyst

    Adam Thalhimer -- Thompson Davis -- Analyst

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    This article is a transcript of this conference call produced for The Motley Fool. While we strive for our Foolish Best, there may be errors, omissions, or inaccuracies in this transcript. As with all our articles, The Motley Fool does not assume any responsibility for your use of this content, and we strongly encourage you to do your own research, including listening to the call yourself and reading the company's SEC filings. Please see our Terms and Conditions for additional details, including our Obligatory Capitalized Disclaimers of Liability.

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    Why Office Transaction Volumes Are Stagnant | killexams.com real questions and Pass4sure dumps

    Peter Muoio Peter Muoio is the chief economist for Ten-X.

    Office deal volume nationally has increased only slowly since 2015, thanks to weak fundamentals that are now beginning to deteriorate. Generally, the asset class has seen high vacancy rates and new trends, like telecommuting and file storage, in the office space that has led companies to shed office space. While deal volumes have increased slowly, they are beginning to speed up. Office deal volume has been consistent since 2017, but bumped up 17.5% in the third quarter over the second quarter 2018 and is up 15% year over-year to $34.3 billion, according to Ten-X Research. However, while the quarter was strong, overall office volume trends are slow.

    “Year-to-date in 2018, office volume, $92.6 billion, is 3.6% lower than in the same period 2017, $96 billion, illustrating this flat trend in volume,” Peter Muoio, Ph.D., EVP of Ten-X and a speaker at the recent Trigild Lender Conference in San Diego, tells GlobeSt.com. “We also think a slowdown in deal volume could be in store for 2019. Interest rates are on the rise and cap rate spreads are tight, and we expect cap rates to drift higher in 2019 in accordance with those pressures. This would put downward pressure on valuations, which may make sellers reluctant to complete deals.”

    In general, single-asset office properties have led investment activity. “Single-asset sales are also driving the office market to a greater degree this year, and single-asset volume grew 21% year-over-year in 3Q’18. Portfolio and entity-level deals swamped the market in 2015-2016 but have since receded,” adds Muoio.

    These are national trends, but deal volume varies from market to market. CBD office investment has grown 58% year-over-year to $12.1 billion in the third quarter, rebounding from a slow 2017. “Suburban office volume in 3Q’18, meanwhile, was flat year-over-year at $22.1 billion,” explains Muoio. “However, investors also appear to be showing increasing interest in secondary and tertiary markets. Primary market deal volume grew 12.2% year-over-year in 3Q’18, while office volume in secondary and tertiary markets is up 18.2% year-over-year. Tighter cap rates and a run-up in prices in the large gateway markets this cycle is forcing investors to consider assets in other markets to achieve desired returns.”

    There are global pressures that can further impact transactions volumes. Muoio says that Brexit and trade wars are among his top concerns, as well as a potential conflict between Italy and the European Union. “Brexit and Italy-EU have the potential to rattle markets and lead to a liquidity/credit based disruption to the economy and CRE investment flows,” he says. “We have been very concerned that overarching aggressive trade policy with Europe and Asia—specifically China—could put a damper on cross-border investment in US office real estate. Indeed, cross-border investment in the US office sector declined 40% year-over-year to $18.5 billion in 3Q’18, and there is clear trend of foreign investors cycling out of US office over the last two years. The other big, obvious potential effect from a trade war is a slowdown in the global economy, and with it demand for office space in the US.”



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