A return of volatility jolted the market this month. In the past three weeks alone, stocks have tumbled about 5%, which has many investors unnerved.
But sell-offs like this are often excellent times to buy great stocks for the long haul. One top option to consider amid the current turbulence is Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP 2.09%), which has lost more than 5% of its value in the past few weeks. Because of that, investors can get an even better starting price on one of the top master limited partnerships (MLPs), potentially setting themselves up to earn market-beating returns in the coming years.
A great business for a lower price
Magellan Midstream Partners has one of the strongest financial profiles in the midstream sector. The company boasts one of the top credit ratings among MLPs thanks in part to its low leverage ratio, which at 3.4 times is well below the roughly 4.0 comfort level of most of its peers.
Meanwhile, the company operates a solid portfolio of midstream assets, including the country's longest pipeline system for refined petroleum products, which moves 1.4 million barrels of gasoline and diesel per day to keep our economy running. These assets provide the company with steady cash flow because it has secured long-term contracts with customers for the capacity it owns. This ensures that it gets paid in good times and bad. Because of that, Magellan Midstream has high confidence that it will be able to generate $1.05 billion in cash flow this year.
That's more than enough money to continue paying its lucrative distribution to investors, which now yields 5.9% after the recent sell-off. Overall, the company covers that payout with cash flow by a comfortable 1.2 times. This leaves Magellan with enough excess cash that, when combined with its strong balance sheet, gives it the funds to continue expanding its portfolio of midstream assets.
Ample upside ahead
Magellan Midstream Partners is investing $2.5 billion on a variety of projects to expand its footprint. One of the largest is a joint venture with refiner Valero Energy (VLO 3.15%) to build a new marine terminal in Pasadena, Texas. The partners are investing $410 million on a two-phase project to construct storage and dock capacity at the site, as well as connect it to a couple of Valero's refineries in the area. The first phase should come on line this January, while the second should follow a year later.
Magellan and Valero are working on another project to boost the flow of refined products in the central part of the country. The $425 million expansion project should be in service by the middle of next year.
Meanwhile, Magellan, Energy Transfer Partners (ETP), MPLX, and Delek US Holdings are moving forward with a large-scale oil pipeline out of the Permian Basin. The 600-mile pipeline will flow into both Energy Transfer's Nederland, Texas, terminal as well as Magellan's East Houston terminal. The pipeline will help solve that region's current pipeline issues when it comes on line in the middle of 2020.
These projects give Magellan the confidence that it can grow its high-yielding distribution to investors by 5% to 8% in 2019 and 2020, which is on top of this year's anticipated 8% increase. Meanwhile, the company has more than $500 million of additional expansion projects under development that it could build in the future, including the potential to more than double the size of its Pasadena Marine Terminal joint venture with Valero. Those future additions should give the company the fuel needed to continue growing its payout in the coming years.
Solid income and growth prospects for a lower price
Thanks to the market's recent turbulence, investors now have the opportunity to buy Magellan Midstream at a lower price and lock in an even higher yield. That increases the odds that they can earn market-beating returns since the combination of the company's near-6% yield and a high-single-digit growth rate suggests investors could make a total annual return in the low teens from here. That high return potential from such a low-risk investment makes it a top option to consider amid the current turmoil.