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Latest Valuentum Commentary

Apr 30, 2024
Enterprise Products Offers Investors Key Midstream Exposure
Image: Enterprise Products Partners has come back nicely since the doldrums of the COVID-19 meltdown. We’ve never been huge fans of pipeline master limited partnerships [MLPs], but Enterprise Products Partners has been executing well. We also like the transparency it provides with respect to adjusted cash flow from operations and adjusted free cash flow, the latter coming in at $1.08 billion for the three months ended March 31. Units yield ~7.2% at the time of this writing and remain key exposure to the midstream space within the High Yield Dividend Newsletter portfolio.
Feb 4, 2024
Earnings Roundup: MO, EPD, SBUX, CLX, HON
Image: Starbucks’ international store growth potential remains robust. Image Source: Starbucks. High-yielding tobacco giant Altria offered an outlook through 2028 that spoke to continued robust earnings and dividend-per-share expansion. Enterprise Products Partners, now a Dividend Aristocrat, is handling record volumes through its pipeline network, and the firm is investing heavily to drive improved long-term cash flow trends. Starbucks recently disappointed on a number of metrics, but the company's margin and earnings performance remains excellent, as is its international store growth opportunities. Clorox has recovered nicely from a recent cyberattack, and the firm is now forecasting adjusted earnings per share growth in fiscal 2024. We're monitoring its cash flow trends closely, however. Honeywell is targeting tremendous free cash flow growth in 2024 thanks to continued strength in its commercial aerospace operations.
Jan 28, 2024
Energy Transfer Making a Comeback, Shares Yield ~8.7%
Image: Energy Transfer is working its way back after a long stretch of underperformance. On January 25, Energy Transfer raised its dividend modestly, by 0.8%, to $0.315 per share on a quarterly basis, and while Energy Transfer still has a massive net debt position to the tune of ~$47.6 billion, the firm’s traditional free cash flow of the payout suggests sustainability, absent any exogenous shocks. Standard & Poor’s recently upgraded its unsecured debt rating to BBB with a Stable outlook, and the firm’s capital spending guidance for 2023 was recently lowered, further helping free cash flow. Energy Transfer is staging a comeback, and for risk-seeking income investors, its ~8.7% dividend yield is worth a look.
Dec 29, 2023
Kinder Morgan’s ~6.4% Dividend Yield Is Much Stronger These Days
Image: Kinder Morgan is back on track. Image Source: Kinder Morgan. Early in December, Kinder Morgan released financial expectations for 2024 that showed the midstream energy giant is back on track. Excluding its recent purchase of NextEra Energy Partners’ STX Midstream assets, Kinder Morgan expects 5% expansion in adjusted EBITDA and distributable cash flow [DCF] in 2024 thanks to growth in its Natural Gas Pipelines and Energy Transition Ventures segments coupled with rate escalations across its operations. For 2024, management is targeting its 7th consecutive year of dividend increases with a projected annualized dividend of $1.15 in 2024. Net debt-to-Adjusted EBITDA is targeted at 3.8x at the end of 2024, a level that is materially lower than its long-term target of 4.5x. We're liking the continued improvements at Kinder Morgan in recent years.
Dec 27, 2023
Dividend Aristocrat Enterprise Products Partners Boasts 7%+ Yield, Investment-Grade Marks
Image: Enterprise Products Partners continues to raise its distribution year after year. Source: Enterprise Products Partners. Though, in general, we’re not too excited by the midstream pipeline space given their capital-intensive nature and hefty net debt positions, Enterprise Products Partners has a lot of things going for it. The company boasts investment-grade credit ratings (A-/A-/A3), has strong and consistent returns on invested capital, and has put up 25 years of consecutive distribution increases. In addition to growing its payout in each year for more than two decades, management has done a great job reducing its leverage ratio (net debt adjusted for equity credit in its junior subordinated notes divided by adjusted EBITDA). For the trailing twelve months ended in the third quarter, its leverage ratio has fallen to 3.0x from 4.1x in 2017. All told, we think Enterprise Products Partners’ growth initiatives will help to solve revenue pressures, and we expect the company to continue to drive distribution growth in the coming years as it keeps its leverage in check.
Oct 23, 2023
Kinder Morgan Now Covers Cash Dividends with Traditional Free Cash Flow
On October 18, Kinder Morgan reported third-quarter results that came in lower than expectations, but we’ve taken note of the company’s improved free cash flow generation that now runs in excess of its cash dividends paid, a huge change from a decade ago, where capital spending and cash dividends paid far outweighed its operating cash flow capacity. The company’s dividend stands at $1.13 per share on an annualized basis, and Kinder Morgan now has an forward estimated dividend yield of ~6.7%, which is quite attractive. Shares are trading meaningfully below our estimate of their intrinsic value, too, and we’re warming up to the company’s financials. Its net debt position likely precludes it from being added to any simulated newsletter portfolio at this time, however. Our $21 per-share fair value estimate remains unchanged.
Oct 3, 2023
We Like NextEra Energy’s ESG Focus But Capital Market Conditions Now Showing Cracks
Image Source: NextEra Energy. NextEra Energy operates a complex business structure, and the firm’s equity is facing pressure on news that its subsidiary NextEra Energy Partners is cutting its distribution per unit growth rate to the range of 5%-8% annually through 2026, which is materially below its prior expectations of growth in the 12%-15%. Since most partnerships are owned primarily for their distribution yields, the revision has sent units of NextEra Energy Partners tumbling, hurting its partner along the way. The news, while not tragic, wasn't very welcoming, and reading between the lines, it appears that we’re starting to see some cracks in the capital markets, as most partnerships are debt-heavy, relying on continuous, affordable access to the capital markets to fund and grow their operations (distributions), which isn’t guaranteed.
Aug 17, 2023
3 High Dividend Yielders for Consideration
Image: Entities with large net cash positions and substantial free cash flow generation have outperformed not only the broader stock market, but also key high yield areas, including REITs, mortgage REITs and master limited partnerships during the past 10 years. Source: The respective ETF sponsors. The skills to successfully invest for long-term capital gains or long-term dividend growth are much different than those required for generating high yield dividend income. Income investing is a much different proposition. However, the skills do center on a similar equity evaluation process, but one that requires an acknowledgement and heightened awareness of considerably greater downside risks. Income investing, or high yield dividend income investing, should at times be considered among the riskiest forms of investing, as many high dividend-yielding securities tend to trade closer to the characteristics of junk-rated bonds than they do most net cash rich and free cash flow generating powerhouses that we like so much in the Best Ideas Newsletter portfolio and Dividend Growth Newsletter portfolio.
Jul 11, 2023
An Important Measure of Leverage for Dividend-Growth and Income-Oriented Shareholders, One That Is Dividend-Adjusted
As more and more investors rely on company dividends for income, dividends, in our view, have become more debt-like commitments in nature, especially from the perspective of dividend-growth or income-oriented shareholders. Years ago, we rolled out a measure of financial leverage that considers both the company’s debt and the present value of its future expected cash dividend obligations, which, in the eyes of die-hard dividend-growth or income-oriented shareholders, may be implicitly assumed to be debt-like commitments in substance. We think this leverage ratio can be used in conjunction with the Dividend Cushion ratio to gain additional insight into the dividend-paying financial health of an entity.
May 17, 2023
Magellan Midstream Soars on Takeout Deal
Image: Magellan Midstream Partners soars on a takeout offer from ONEOK, Inc. We’re as happy as we can be to see a midstream energy master limited partnership (MLP) takeout. On Sunday, May 14, it was publicly announced that Magellan Midstream would be bought by ONEOK, Inc. in a cash and stock deal worth ~$18.8 billion including assumed debt. According to the deal terms, the transaction would give $25 per share in cash and 0.667 common share of ONEOK for each MMP common unit. Though many are questioning the rationale behind the deal, energy infrastructure rollups continue to reduce the number of energy MLPs trading on public markets, as we predicted years ago.

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