Whenever buying stocks with sky-high yields of more than 6%, you have to assume that you are taking on a bit more risk than with some lower-yielding stocks. That doesn't mean, though, that investments with a yield that high are extremely speculative. Three companies with dividend yields in excess of 6% that are solid enough businesses that you might want to consider for your own portfolio are Cheniere Energy Partners (NYSEMKT:CQP), BP (NYSE:BP), and StoneMor Partners (NYSE:STON). Here's a quick look at why these companies look to be more solid than their high dividend yields suggest.
A payout protected by solid contracts
Cheniere Energy (NYSEMKT:LNG) has been a hot-button topic among investors. Some view it as a wildly overvalued company because the liquefied natural gas (LNG) market isn't as robust as it seems, and the estimates for profits might be a little inflated. While those could be concerns for the parent company, they are less of an issue with the subsidiary partnership Cheniere Energy Partners. What's more, owning the company at this point in the corporate structure yields a pretty impressive 6.3%.
One of the reasons that Cheniere Energy Partners is different from its parent company is that 89% of the production capacity of the Sabine Pass LNG facility currently in operation or under construction is sold through 20-year, fixed-fee contracts that eliminate much of the commodity risk. Also, its buyers have investment-grade credit ratings that ensure little risk that they don't pay up. This stable cash flow means that investors in this part of the business can be guaranteed a pretty steady stream of distributions and not worry about the ups and downs of the LNG market. Plus, under new management, the goal will be to bring the partnership to an investment-grade rating to lower capital costs and return more cash to shareholders.
The big question mark for Cheniere Energy Partners and its parent company will be if the company can be an efficient operator of the facility by keeping a high utilization rate and keep costs down. We will likely need more time to see if it is possible as the company completes construction of the faciltity. In the meantime, though, you can get a decent dividend while you wait.
Preserving its payout at all costs
For BP and other integrated oil and gas companies, the name of the game lately has been preserving capital and maintaining payout to shareholders. Just about every company in this industry has said on multiple occasions during investor conference calls that preserving dividend payments is paramount. BP has had an even more difficult time with this task because it has needed to deal with the remnants of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill
Despite these challenges, BP has actually shown signs that it can pull it off. This past quarter's earnings results weren't great by any means, but what was impressive is that management's plans going forward involve bringing on another 800,000 barrels per day by 2020, and becoming cash flow breakeven -- that's operational cash flow minus capital spending and dividends -- at $50-$55 per barrel of oil. It also helps that BP is seeing improved results from its petrochemical and lubricants business segments. These are parts of the business that are a little less cyclical and should provide a steadier stream of cash and earnings to help cushion the volatile nature of oil and gas exploration and production.
Having a slightly more diverse business, as well as driving home some major cost efficiencies on the production side, is a major improvement from previous projections and should put BP on track to keep paying its dividend, which currently yields 7.2%
An 11% yield that isn't extremely risky
It can sound a bit morbid to profit from death, but the truth of the matter is that there is a need for end-of-life services such as funeral home and cemetery services. From an investor standpoint, it is a very predictable business that mostly varies with GDP and population growth. With a steady stream of cash supporting a 11% distribution yield, there isn't a whole lot of incentive for StoneMor to be too aggressive with growth, but the market for end-of-life services is a very fragmented one, which gives the company opportunities to make small acquisitions from time to time.
StoneMor has been dealing with some short-term issues such as an underperforming sales team and a decrease in trust investment income, but these are the kinds of issues that should correct over time as the company has made some adjustments to its sales staff. Despite these headwinds, the company is generating more than enough cash to cover its current payout and anticipates that it will be able to continue its payout without much issue.
One thing to keep in mind with a yield as high as StoneMor's: Don't expect much in terms of share-price appreciation. Over the past five years, the company's shares have actually declined 13%. However, that high yield should more than make up for the lack of share increase. If yield is the only thing you want, then StoneMor is worth a look.
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