On Monday, I wrote an article called Don't Be a Yield Pig, which discussed some information that investors seeking dividends should know before they plow into the highest-yielding companies they can find.
In doing so, I mentioned a Canadian oil and gas royalty trust called Enerplus
Enerplus, a Canadian trust, is not such a good example. Though my article wasn't supposed to be a treatise on Enerplus in any way, its inclusion in a warning section on dividends implied something about Enerplus that I didn't intend. I'm perfectly happy taking a bite out of a company, but it's only worthwhile when the company actually deserves it. Enerplus does not. So, rather than make a change in the original article and slink off into the dusk, I thought I'd cover it in a new article.
Under Canadian law, royalty trusts such as Enerplus do not have sunset dates. Further, they can continue to acquire additional assets. To wit, late last year Enerplus purchased Ice Energy in its entirety. Enerplus pays out 75%-90% of its cash flows in monthly distributions, with the remaining free cash getting plowed back into the company's asset base. Part of those distributions is a return of capital (my botched point in the original article). The company currently pays a dividend of 10.4%, and it's been doing so for nearly two decades.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention that my income-investing guru, Mathew Emmert, Motley Fool Income Investor author, owns Enerplus. I'm not sure what nicer thing I can say about the company than that.
So, trusts, including Canadian ones, have special elements and some additional taxation complications for American investors. But one needn't fear that the company will dwindle off into oblivion in the next few years, because north of the border they work on a whole different set of rules.
Bill Mann owns none of the companies mentioned in this story.