One of investing legend Peter Lynch's most famous quotes is that "the best stock to buy is one you already own." I recently followed that advice by adding to my position in Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (NYSE:BIP). While there are several things I like about the company, three factors played a role in my decision to buy more of a stock that I've held for years.
1. It pays an exceptional dividend
One reason I recently bolstered my position in Brookfield is that the company pays an attractive dividend, which currently yields just under 5%. Not only is that payout well above average but it's on rock-solid ground. Three factors drive that view.
First, long-term contracts and other stable sources back 95% of the company's earnings, enabling it to generate steady cash flow. Meanwhile, Brookfield only distributes about 60% to 70% of that money to investors each year, which is right in the sweet spot for the best high-yield stocks. Finally, it has a strong financial profile backed by an investment-grade credit rating and a cash-rich balance sheet. These factors increase the likelihood that Brookfield can sustain its payout over the long term.
2. It has ample growth on the horizon
Another factor driving my recent purchase of Brookfield Infrastructure Partners is the company's growth potential. Currently, the global infrastructure giant has about $2.5 billion of expansions projects underway, which will boost cash flow over the next two to three years as they come on line. Also, global economic growth will drive increased usage of is various infrastructure assets, boosting its volume-based earnings. Finally, the company will benefit as inflationary price increases on its contracts kick in over the next few years. With these three factors combined, they should support 6% to 9% annual growth in Brookfield's cash flow. That organic growth positions the company to increase its high-yielding distribution to investors at a 5% to 9% yearly pace.
In addition to the embedded growth of its existing portfolio of infrastructure businesses, Brookfield has a knack for acquiring needle-moving assets. The company currently has several deals in various stages of the pipeline. It recently bought an 11% stake in the second-largest gas distribution network in Colombia and is working on the second phase of that transaction. The company has partnered with AT&T to expand its data infrastructure business as well. Finally, it has a large set of opportunities in the North American energy infrastructure sector currently under review, which could yield additional transactions in the coming months. These deals have the potential to fuel distribution growth at or above the high end of Brookfield's target range in the coming years.
3. The recent sell-off only added to the attraction
What pushed Brookfield over the top for me was its sell-off in 2018. After delivering another year of market-crushing returns in 2017, the infrastructure company has given back some ground, falling about 15% this year. That decline not only pushed the dividend yield up to 5% but lowered its valuation to around 11.5 times cash flow. That's an attractive level for a company with such a sound financial profile and visible earnings growth on the horizon.
It seemed like an excellent time to add
Brookfield Infrastructure Partners has been a solid performer for me over the years, beating the market by a nice margin since my initial purchase. That's not a surprise considering that dividend growth stocks like Brookfield have historically outperformed their stingier peers. That's why when this top-notch income growth stock went on sale, I felt it was too good of an opportunity to pass up.