Invest Better With Plains All American Pipeline

A key player in a booming industry.

Aimee Duffy
Aimee Duffy
Sep 16, 2012 at 12:00AM
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The Motley Fool has helped ordinary people become better investors for nearly two decades. This month, we're reaching out to millions of investors to help guide them in their quest toward financial knowledge and independence.

Along those lines, I'm planning to take a look at a few of the most popular midstream stocks in the market today. The midstream industry is growing at a rapid clip, and there are many potential investments to choose from. Today, I'd like to focus on Plains All American Pipeline (NYSE: PAA).

Why buy Plains?
Headquartered in Houston, Plains All American Pipeline operates close to 19,000 miles of pipeline and numerous trucks, trailers, and barges. The partnership also owns storage facilities, fractionation plants, and processing centers across the U.S. and Canada. Plains is a master limited partnership that currently sports a 4.9% yield and an annualized distribution payment of $4.26 per unit. Over the past five years, shares of the MLP have grown by more than 60%.

MLPs are common in the midstream industry. As the pipelines and processing centers generate cash flow, the partnership structure allows profit to flow straight through to unitholders untaxed as distributions. Unitholders are then responsible for paying taxes on their share of the MLP's income. It means a little extra paperwork come tax time, and again when you decide to sell the MLP, but is often times quite worth it. Check out this article for a more detailed breakdown of the benefits of MLPs.

While its peer Enterprise Products Partners (NYSE: EPD) focuses on organic growth, Plains is pursuing a long-term growth strategy of "bolt-on" acquisitions in key markets where it already has assets. The company has proved adept at staying on the pulse of the industry, striking a key deal to pick up BP's (NYSE: BP) Canadian natural gas liquids assets right before many producers announced they were ditching dry gas production to focus on NGLs.

Learn more
Plains All American has spent roughly $3 billion on strategic acquisitions since the beginning of 2011 -- all the while staying committed to increasing its payout to unitholders. To learn more about the future at Plains, use this link to the partnership's investor page and keep up with the Fool's coverage of the MLP using our My Watchlist feature.

Stay tuned to the Fool all month for other informative articles covering a wide range of investing topics. On Sept. 25, we're taking a day to celebrate the art of investing and we encourage your participation. Take a look at InvestBetterDay.com now and get started on the path to personal prosperity.