Kinder Morgan Earnings Preview

Midstream companies have grabbed investor attention recently, and for good reason. Oil and gas production volumes have increased across America, resulting in a massive build-out of midstream infrastructure and a ton of acquisitions.

Kinder Morgan  (NYSE: KMI  ) and Kinder Morgan Energy Partners (NYSE: KMP  ) are the first big-name American midstream companies to report earnings tomorrow afternoon. Kinder Morgan had a great third quarter, and investors hoping for the best will have plenty to process. Before the company reports, take a look at what may help or hurt Kinder Morgan this quarter.

Fourth-quarter moves
It was a relatively quiet quarter for Kinder Morgan, but the company did make two important announcements that will affect its asset footprint. First, it announced its deal to sell some of its western assets and corresponding debt to Tallgrass Energy Partners had officially closed. The deal was worth $3.3 billion, including $1.8 billion in cash, and the proceeds will be used to retire debt. The sale was necessary to gain approval from the U.S. Department of Justice for the company's El Paso acquisition.

In November, Kinder Morgan announced a deal to bring natural gas to the Mexican border for export. The project details include building 36-inch lateral pipeline from Tucson to the Mexican border at Sasabe, Ariz. The 60-mile line will have an initial capacity of 200 million cubic feet per day. Kinder Morgan is seeking FERC approval early this year, and expects the line to be in service by September 2014.

Potential good news/bad news
Many of the things that dragged down Kinder Morgan in the third quarter will persist in the fourth. For example, the company was hurt by decreasing domestic demand for coal, weak demand for refined products, and lower natural gas volumes. Nothing changed on a macro-level that would remedy the decline in those sectors.

On the flip side, revenue was up last quarter anyway. Much of that was because of high oil prices, which declined slightly in the third quarter. Otherwise, expect strong results from Kinder Morgan's CO2 business, as well as its NGL pipeline and production volumes. The company will also benefit from coal exports in its terminal business, though perhaps not as much as expected because of Hurricane Sandy-related issues in the Northeast.

Expectations
Analysts are expecting earnings per share of $0.35 and revenue of $3.03 billion for KMI, and earnings per share of $0.66 and revenue of $2.45 billion for KMP. Investors may not bother putting much stock in these estimates. KMI hasn't beat expectations since December of 2011, yet has returned 11.73% over the past 12 months.

Foolish bottom line
Kinder Morgan reports after the market close at 4:30 p.m. EST on Wednesday, Jan. 16, and interested investors can listen in here, or click here to add Kinder Morgan to My Watchlist.

For a detailed breakdown of the Kinder Morgan family of companies, check out the Motley Fool's new premium research report on Kinder Morgan. Our top energy analysts break down the company's growing opportunity, as well as the risks to watch out for, in order to uncover whether it's a buy or a sell. To determine whether this dividend giant is right for your portfolio, simply click here now to claim your copy of this invaluable investor's resource. As an added bonus, you'll receive a full year of key updates and guidance as news develops, so don't miss out!


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