A Number Of Catalysts To Keep In Mind When Considering These Higher-Yielding MLPs

Includes: BBEPQ, CVRR
by: Heather Ingrassia

As an income-driven investor with an aggressive appetite for higher-yielding stocks, there are several criteria I like to establish before narrowing down my search for what I consider to be a sustainable play. In this article I wanted to examine two MLPs which yield at least 10.00%, possess a forward P/E ratio at-or-under 17, and have a market cap under $5.0 billion.

#1 BreitBurn Energy Partners LP (BBEP) - On Thursday shares of BBEP, which currently possess a market cap of $1.72 billion, a forward P/E ratio of 16.58, and a forward yield of 10.43% ($1.90), settled at $18.22. Based on Thursday's closing price, shares of BBEP are trading 3.93% above their 20-day simple moving average, 0.97% above their 50-day simple moving average, and 2.14% below their 200-day simple moving average. These numbers indicate a very slight short and mid-term uptrend and long-term downtrend for the stock, which generally translates into a near-term buying mode and a long-term selling mode for most traders.

BreitBurn's Recent Asset-Based Acquisition from Whiting (NYSE:WLL)

On July 15th it was announced that BreitBurn Energy Partners had closed on the acquisition of Whiting's Enhanced Oil Recovery Projects located in the Postle and NE Hardesty Fields which are both based in Texas County Oklahoma.

According to the press release discussing the closing of this transaction, "The sale includes the related Dry Trail plant gathering and processing facilities, oil delivery pipeline, 60% interest in the 120-mile Transpetco CO2 pipeline, CO2 supply contracts and certain crude oil swaps. The all cash purchase price was $859.8 million, subject to closing and post-closing adjustments. Whiting expects the net proceeds from the sale to be approximately $850 million after estimated expenses and $836 million after adjustment primarily for two months of net revenues received by Whiting between the effective date and the closing date. Whiting will operate the properties under a transition services agreement until October 31, 2013."

There are two key reasons why I happen to be very bullish on this particular transaction. First is the fact that the acquisition will be immediately accretive to distributable cash flow ("DCF") per unit. The Partnership expects second half 2013 total DCF to range between approximately $135 million and $145 million, and my expectations are for second half total DCF to range between $140 million and $150 million. Second is the fact that this transaction only strengthens the company's potential of meeting and/or exceeding its goal of increasing its distribution by at least 5% over the next several years due in large part to the direct effect this transaction has on the company's total DCF. If the company can meet and/or exceed my second half DCF expectations, I strongly believe we could see a distribution increase of at least 6% if not more before the first half of 2014.

#2 CVR Refining LP (NYSE:CVRR) - On Thursday shares of CVRR, which currently possess a market cap of $4.25 billion, a forward P/E ratio of 6.95, and a forward yield of 21.96% ($6.32), settled at $28.78. Based on Friday's closing price, shares of CVRR are trading 3.01% above their 20-day simple moving average, 1.65% below their 50-day simple moving average, and 2.73% below their 200-day simple moving average. These numbers indicate short-term uptrend and a mid-to-long-term downtrend for the stock, which generally translates into a near-term buying mode and mid-to-longer term seller mode for most traders.

A Monster Quarter from CVR Refining

On Friday, August 1st, CVR Refining reported the results of what I believe to be an exceptionally strong second quarter. The company's Q1 EPS of $2.30/share beat Street estimates by $0.64/share, and its revenue of $2.14 billion surpassed Street estimates by a minimal margin of just $0.04 billion. During the first half of the year CVR's adjusted EBITDA grew an impressive $28.8 million when compared to the first half of 2012 ($560.5 million vs. $531.7 million). Contributing to the company's quarterly performance were a number of ancillary catalysts which included but were not limited to a 53.57% increase in YTD operating income when compared to the first six months of 2012, and a record crude oil throughput of 75,936 bpd at the company's Wynnewood Refinery during the second quarter.

Should Investors Be Concerned About The Brent-WTI Spread Affecting Distribution Behavior?

I personally believe the Brent-WTI spread is something of a near term concern, especially since a narrowing spread affects both profits and upcoming distributions. That being said, I don't think the near 'dead spread' is here to stay and in a series of recent comments by CEO Jack Lipinski, it seems as though CVR management agrees. Mr. Lipinski recently noted that "the company believes we are seeing the trough in the Brent-WTI spread as additional Midcontinent pipelines come into operation. Our view is the Brent-WTI spread will once again widen as additional shale-based crude is produced."

When it comes to the behavior of the Brent-WTI spread, my near-term position is cautious one, and although CVR had a phenomenal second quarter, I worry that narrowing spreads will affect both the profits and future distribution growth of the company. If at any point, there may a significant widening in the Brent-WTI spread, only then would I begin to consider a larger-sized long-term position in the company.

Disclosure: I am long BBEP. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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