The closing of the Merger (as discussed above) has impacted the Partnership’s calculation of Distributable Cash Flow attributable to partners, as well as the number of ET Common Units outstanding and the amount of distributions to be paid to partners. In order to provide information on a comparable basis for pre-Merger and post-Merger periods, the Partnership has included certain pro forma information.
Pro forma Distributable Cash Flow attributable to partners reflects the following post-merger impacts:
ETP is reflected as a wholly owned subsidiary and pro forma Distributable Cash Flow attributable to partners reflects ETP’s consolidated Distributable Cash Flow (less certain other adjustments, as follows).
Distributions from Sunoco LP include distributions to both ET and ETP.
Distributions from PennTex are separately included in Distributable Cash Flow attributable to partners.
Distributable Cash Flow attributable to noncontrolling interest in ETP’s other non-wholly-owned subsidiaries is subtracted from consolidated Distributable Cash Flow to calculate Distributable Cash Flow attributable to partners.
Pro forma distributions to partners include actual distributions to legacy ET partners, as well as pro forma distributions to legacy ETP partners. Pro forma distributions to ETP partners are calculated assuming (i) historical ETP common units converted under the terms of the Merger and (ii) distributions on such converted common units were paid at the historical rate paid on ET Common Units.
Pro forma Common Units outstanding include actual Common Units outstanding, in addition to Common Units assumed to be issued in the Merger, which are based on historical ETP common units converted under the terms of the Merger.
For the nine months ended September 30, 2017, the calculation of Distributable Cash Flow and the amounts reflected for distributions to partners and common units outstanding also reflect the pro forma impacts of the Sunoco Logistics Merger as though the merger had occurred on January 1, 2017.
During the fourth quarter of 2017, ETP changed its accounting policy related to certain inventories. Certain crude oil, refined product and NGL inventories associated with the legacy Sunoco Logistics business were changed from the LIFO method to the weighted average cost method. These changes have been applied retrospectively to all periods presented, and the prior period amounts reflected above have been adjusted from those amounts previously reported. Certain other prior period amounts have also been reclassified to conform to the current period presentation, including a reclassification between capitalized interest and AFUDC from the three months and nine months ended September 30, 2017.
Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow are non-GAAP financial measures used by industry analysts, investors, lenders, and rating agencies to assess the financial performance and the operating results of ET’s fundamental business activities and should not be considered in isolation or as a substitute for net income, income from operations, cash flows from operating activities, or other GAAP measures.
There are material limitations to using measures such as Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow, including the difficulty associated with using either as the sole measure to compare the results of one company to another, and the inability to analyze certain significant items that directly affect a company’s net income or loss or cash flows. In addition, our calculations of Adjusted EBITDA and Distributable Cash Flow may not be consistent with similarly titled measures of other companies and should be viewed in conjunction with measurements that are computed in accordance with GAAP, such as segment margin, operating income, net income, and cash flow from operating activities.
Definition of Adjusted EBITDA
We define Adjusted EBITDA as total partnership earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, depletion, amortization and other non-cash items, such as non-cash compensation expense, gains and losses on disposals of assets, the allowance for equity funds used during construction, unrealized gains and losses on commodity risk management activities, non-cash impairment charges, losses on extinguishments of debt and other non-operating income or expense items. Unrealized gains and losses on commodity risk management activities include unrealized gains and losses on commodity derivatives and inventory fair value adjustments. Adjusted EBITDA reflects amounts for less than wholly-owned subsidiaries based on 100% of the subsidiaries’ results of operations and for unconsolidated affiliates based on our proportionate ownership.
Adjusted EBITDA is used by management to determine our operating performance and, along with other financial and volumetric data, as internal measures for setting annual operating budgets, assessing financial performance of our numerous business locations, as a measure for evaluating targeted businesses for acquisition and as a measurement component of incentive compensation.