"El paso" means "the pass" in Spanish, but you shouldn't pass on El Paso Pipeline Partners LP (UNKNOWN:EPB.DL).
El Paso Pipeline Partners, a master limited partnership (MLP) acquired by Kinder Morgan (UNKNOWN:KMP.DL) in 2011, owns and operates natural gas storage facilities and pipelines to transport natural gas. The company's pipeline and storage assets span 12 states in the central, southwest, and southeast United States.
Natural gas is booming in the United States as upstream companies tap previously unreachable sources of gas using techniques such as hydraulic fracturing. The Bakken, Niobrara, Permian, Eagle Ford, and Haynesville fields are all located in the central or southwest United States. Upstream companies can vaunt some impressive capabilities, but none of them have developed a method of teleporting gas at no cost -- that we know of, at least. This is all great news for El Paso Pipeline Partners, as these upstream companies will need El Paso's infrastructure for storage or to move their gas along.
The macroeconomic and geographic factors are favorable for El Paso Pipeline Partners. They are well-positioned to take advantage of the American natural gas boom. Let's take a look at the company's performance to see how you too can be well-positioned to take advantage of the boom by investing in the company.
A pass at the stock
El Paso's pays a quarterly distribution of $0.65 ($2.60 annualized). With a 7.80% distribution yield, El Paso offers a higher yield than any of the other companies in the Kinder Morgan family. Investors can rake in a nice amount of income from the stock. Since 2010, distributions have increased by 3% to 7% year-to-year. The distributions are likely to be sustainable over time. For 2011, 2012, and 2013, El Paso's distribution coverage has been 1.036, 1.158, and 0.915, respectively . 2013's low distribution coverage is no need to panic, however. For Q1 2014, the company's distribution coverage again rose above 1, coming in at 1.056 .
El Paso is also stable and "cheap" compared to its MLP and energy peers. It carries a price-to-distributable cash flow ratio of 9.22 . Like the price-to-earnings ratio, price-to-DCF is a relative metric. MLPs have an average price-to-DCF ratio of about 13, so El Paso's price-to-DCF ratio suggests that its shares are inexpensive given its level of distributable cash flows.
The stock seems primed to give those who are already invested or invest now the chance to reap capital gain and income benefits in the months and years to come.
Although fools tend to not consider a company's financials when they are investing, we Fools always do.
Let's begin with El Paso's income statements, comparing December 2013 to December 2012. Sales decreased from $1.515 billion in 2012 to $1.505 billion in 2013. While a drop in sales is never desirable, El Paso was able to cushion the blow with a $60 million decrease in cost of sales.
Looking at El Paso's balance sheet, we can see that the company was sitting on $78 million in cash at the end of 2013. Although this decreased from $114 million in 2012, the company made investments in property, plant, and equipment to support expansion. Further, its total liabilities fell by $38 million. Most significant, here, are the investments in expansion. These expansion projects are what will allow El Paso to grow in the future and take fuller advantage of the American gas boom.
And the verdict is...
Moving forward, El Paso Pipeline Partners looks to be a good investment. The company is positioned to take advantage of American natural gas energy trends. It is on solid financial footing and offers great distribution income and room for capital appreciation, while the stock is significantly less volatile than the overall market.
Dajahi owns no shares of El Paso Pipeline Partners LP. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.