2 High-Yield Plays Receive Upgrades

Includes: GLP, TLLP
by: Bret Jensen

I believe it is time to continue to revisit some of the high yield sectors that have underperformed the market since the Federal Reserve started to talk about the "taper" in May when 10-year Treasury yields were ~1.6%.

This especially seems relevant now that the Fed has officially announced it will start to withdraw liquidity in the market starting in January. Surprisingly 10-year yields have not moved much since the announcement which seems to indicate most of the taper was already priced into the market.

One of these high yield sectors that I think is attractive on a long-term basis is energy partnerships given the country is in the early innings of a huge energy boom and infrastructure build out. I was pleasantly surprised to see this morning that Merrill Lynch upgraded two of the high-yield energy partnerships I hold in my income portfolio with "Buy" ratings. Both are good values for income investors on a long-term basis.

Tesoro Logistics LP (NYSE:TLLP) assets consist of a crude oil gathering system in the Bakken Shale/Williston Basin area of North Dakota and Montana, eight refined products terminals in the Midwestern and western United States, a crude oil and refined products storage facility, and five related short-haul pipelines.

The partnership also just acquired two marine terminals, a marine storage terminal, a products terminal, a petroleum coke handling and storage facility, more than 100 miles of active crude oil and refined products pipelines, and other related properties, for $650M from its previous parent Tesoro (NYSE:TSO).

Tesoro Logistics pays a dividend around four percent (3.9%) and has raised its payout by more than 50% since coming public in 2011. Revenue growth is outstanding as the company continues to get "drop down" assets from its previous parent.

Sales are tracking to an almost 90% gain this fiscal year and analysts believe another 50% plus increase is in the cards for FY2014. Earnings should increase some 25% in the New Year as well. The median price target by the 10 analysts that cover the stock is $61.50 a share on TLLP, more than 15% above the current price level. Finally, insiders have been net buyers of the stock and have made a few small purchases over the last six months.

Global Partners (NYSE:GLP) is a midstream logistics and marketing company organized as a limited partnership. The company transports Bakken and Canadian crude oil and other energy products via rail from the mid-continent region of the U.S. and Canada to refiners and other customers on the East and West coasts.

The stock has behaved much better recently after plummeting in late summer on net margin concerns in August. The general partner took the opportunity to buy millions of dollars of new shares on the decline.

The shares yield a healthy 6.6% with the partnership continually to make incrementally and consistent payout increases. Operating cash flow has improved greatly over the last few years as well. It was a negative ~$87mm in FY2010 but over the past twelve months the partnership has shown almost $300mm in positive operating cash flow. GLP sells for less than 4x operating cash flow. Revenue growth is tracking to better than 15% year-over-year gains this fiscal year and another ~10% increase looks probable in FY2014.

Neither of these two selections is likely to set the world on fire in 2014. However, for income investors they both provide healthy yields, good payout growth and some capital appreciation potential.

Disclosure: I am long GLP, TLLP. 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.