Brookfield Infrastructure Partners' (NYSE:BIP) growth engine ran out of gas in the second quarter. Not only did the fuel from the company's Brazilian acquisition run dry, but a recent asset sale sapped some energy.
While those dual headwinds will likely keep the downward pressure on the company's third-quarter results, it has several acquisitions in the pipeline to reaccelerate its growth rate in the coming months. Because of that, the third quarter will be a transitional one for the company. Here are a few things investors should keep an eye on when that report hits the wire later this week.
Check if its underlying profitability remained strong
Brookfield Infrastructure's funds from operations (FFO) dipped slightly in the second quarter, falling $1 million from the year-ago period to $294 million. That dip, which was due to the sale of its Chilean electricity transmission business earlier in the year and a nationwide trucker strike in Brazil, masked the fact that the company's underlying earnings were solid. Profitability in the company's energy segment, for example, rocketed 26% thanks to improvements in its U.S. natural gas transmission business, while FFO in its utilities segment would have increased 6% if it wasn't for the sale of its Chilean business.
With many of those same temporary issues likely weighing on the company's third-quarter results, investors will once again need to look past the headline numbers and see if underlying profitability remained strong. One area to watch is if volumes and earnings in the transportation segment reaccelerated after the trucker strike in Brazil ended.
See if it remains on track to close its energy transactions
Brookfield Infrastructure had six acquisitions in the pipeline when it last updated its investors at its analyst day in late September. Some of those transactions recently closed. On Oct. 1, the company and its partners closed phase one of the acquisition of Enbridge's (NYSE:ENB) natural gas gathering and processing business in western Canada. The Brookfield-led partnership paid Enbridge 2.5 billion Canadian dollars ($1.9 billion) for the recently acquired assets, giving the Canadian pipeline giant funds to pay down debt. In addition to that deal, Brookfield and its partners closed their CA$4.3 billion ($3.3 billion) acquisition of Enercare in the middle of October.
With those deals now in the books, they should provide a boost to Brookfield's fourth-quarter results. However, the company still has several transactions left to close, which is why investors should check the company's progress to see if it remains on track to wrap up each of its remaining deals. Brookfield has already stated that it expects to close the second phase of its Enbridge transaction, totaling CA$1.81 billion ($1.4 billion), by the middle of next year. Meanwhile, the company recently won approval from regulators to buy a natural gas pipeline in India, putting it another step closer to closing that deal.
Look if it's still on pace to close its data deals
In addition to looking for updates on the status of its remaining energy infrastructure transactions, investors should also monitor the progress of the company's two data infrastructure deals. In late June, the company announced a partnership with AT&T (NYSE:T) to acquire several of the communication and media giant's data centers for $1.1 billion. AT&T estimated that the transaction would close within six to eight months.
Meanwhile, in September, Brookfield announced a partnership with Digital Realty (NYSE:DLR) to acquire Ascenty, which is a leading data center provider in Latin America. Brookfield and its partners plan to fund half of the equity in exchange for a 49% interest in the joint venture, which Digital Realty will manage. Digital Realty expects the deal to close by the end of 2018.
Brookfield anticipates that these transactions, when combined with its organic expansion projects, will boost its FFO per unit by 20% from its current run rate. That's why it's important that the company close these deals and quickly integrate the new additions into its operations.
A quick pause before reaccelerating
Brookfield's third-quarter results will likely remain muted due to the impact of the sale of its Chilean electricity transmission business earlier this year. However, that should only be a temporary issue since the company recently closed a couple of acquisitions and had several more in the pipeline. Those deals should move the needle over the coming year, making now a great time to consider buying this beaten-down income stock.