Brookfield Infrastructure Partners ( BIP 0.73% ) has been aggressively reshaping its portfolio over the past year and a half. The company has been cashing in on its mature assets and using the proceeds to invest in higher-return opportunities. While this transition has weighed on its near-term results, it positions the infrastructure company to grow at a faster rate over the next several years.
Given all the company's recent wheeling and dealing, the second quarter will likely be a busy one. Here are three things to watch.
1. See if its cash flow growth rate accelerated
Brookfield was able to overcome the dual headwinds from asset sales and foreign exchange rate fluctuations to continue growing cash flow during the first quarter. That trend should have become even more noticeable during the second quarter as the company completed several acquisitions over the past few months. These deals included its investment in a data center joint venture in South America and the acquisition of a gas pipeline in India, both of which closed during the first quarter.
Those transactions add to a slew of acquisitions closed last year, and should provide a boost to its second-quarter results. In addition, the headwinds the company had been facing from asset sales will start to die down. While the company recently cashed in on its European bulk port operations and an interest in its Chilean toll road business, the sale of a Chilean electricity transmission business will no longer sting: Because that deal closed in the first quarter of 2018, it will no longer affect comparable results.
2. Check its progress on completing its next wave of deals
Brookfield has already launched the next phase of its capital recycling program. As mentioned, it recently sold stakes in two assets, which gave it some cash to make acquisitions. It has already found places for that money. First, it's investing about $500 million in the effort to take regional railroad operator Genesee & Wyoming private. Brookfield and its partners expect to close this deal by year-end or early next year. Ideally, the company will have remained on track with that timeline.
Brookfield Infrastructure also plans to invest $200 million to acquire Vodafone's data distribution business in New Zealand. The company and its partners expect to close this deal by the end of August. Again, investors should see if it remains on track with that transaction.
3. Look if it has any more deals in the pipeline
Brookfield will likely continue making transactions, both selling and buying businesses. The company currently expects to sell between $1.5 billion and $2 billion of assets by the end of next year as part of its capital recycling program. It has already announced two transactions worth $475 million, which leaves room for more. Investors should see if the company has any additional asset sales lined up.
Meanwhile, the company could have more acquisitions to announce this quarter. Despite having $1.9 billion in liquidity at the end of the first quarter, and more cash on the way from its recent asset sales, the company recently issued $750 million in stock to help fund its investment opportunities.
One of them is the potential acquisition of a tower business in India. According to media reports, the company has an agreement in place to invest in an infrastructure trust that owns a tower company. The deal would eventually give Brookfield and its partners full control over India's largest tower company, which has 170,000 sites.
The company has also publicly stated that it's interested in making deals for water infrastructure and boosting its presence in the U.S. midstream space. Given its recent capital raise, investors should see if Brookfield has more deals in the works.
Shifting gears again
Brookfield Infrastructure has been revamping its portfolio over the past year to accelerate its growth rate. With its first phase nearly complete, the company's growth rate should have started picking up the pace in the second quarter. The company has already started phase two, which should provide a further jolt to its cash flow in the coming quarters as it closes these deals.