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Williams Partners L.P. (WPZ)

  • Yesterday, 12:52 PM
    • This year's recently concluded conference of the leading MLP association enjoyed higher overall attendance, but some analysts say the sentiment was not as positive as prior years.
    • Deutsche Bank's Kristina Kazarian says some notable absences - including Williams (WMB, WPZ), Kinder Morgan (NYSE:KMI), Energy Transfer Partners (NYSE:ETP) and MLPX - affected the overall tone of the meeting.
    • Wunderlich's Jeffrey Birnbaum says he came away from the conference with the sense that companies are broadly feeling that macro conditions are stabilizing but doubts remain on the sustainability of the recovery in crude prices.
    • Deutsche Bank's favorite MLPs (and former MLPs) following the conference are KMI, Energy Transfer Equity (NYSE:ETE), MarkWest Energy (NYSE:MWE) and Phillips 66 Partners (NYSE:PSXP).
    • Birnbaum’s top picks are Western Gas Partners (NYSE:WES) and EnLink Midstream (NYSE:ENLC).
  • Wed, May 13, 7:45 PM
    • Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) move to acquire Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ), the MLP that holds its natural gas infrastructure assets, echoes last year's Kinder Morgan consolidation - and could bring similar headaches for some of its investors.
    • The success of the KMI deal in raising valuations likely is a major reason WMB followed suit, says a portfolio manager: "That deal validated the thesis that a larger more liquid company would trade better than the limited partners plus a general partner."
    • The deal will provide powerful tax benefits for the company: By buying its partnership’s assets, WMB says it can reset the clock on depreciation of assets, translating into $2B in tax savings over 15 years.
    • But for individual investors who have held the partnership units over the long term, the tax consequences and a lower yield on the resulting investment may be bitter pills to swallow, explains MarketWatch's Philip Van Doorn.
    • Analysts - and most investors, based on today's respective 6.2% and 22.7% respective gains for WMB and WPZ - applaud the move: “If you need to be more competitive, you need to be focused on lowering cost of capital,” says Raymond James energy analyst Darren Horowitz.
    • WMB "will be able to compete a lot better on future projects because their cost of capital will be lower. This extends their growth outlook," says portfolio manager Jay Rhame.
  • Wed, May 13, 3:49 PM
    • Energy MLPs are trading with mixed results, which is not in line with an analyst's expectation that several names in the space may be outperformers today after Williams Cos. (WMB +6.2%) agreed to buy Williams Partners (WPZ +22.7%).
    • In an earlier note to investors, Credit Suisse named Plains GP Holdings (PAGP +1%), Targa Resources (TRGP +1.1%), NuStar GP Holdings (NSH -0.1%) and Western Gas Equity (WGP -0.7%) as MLPs that could climb on the news.
    • Meanwhile, Wells Fargo says the deal is positive, since it reduces the WMB's cost of capital, will immediately increase its profits, and enhances its dividend growth outlook.
    • Among major energy MLPs: EPD -1.5%, ETP +0.9%, PAA +0.2%, EEP -0.2%, MWE +2.2%, MMP -0.3%.
  • Wed, May 13, 9:15 AM
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  • Wed, May 13, 7:37 AM
    • Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) +19.2% premarket after agreeing to be acquired by Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) in a stock deal valued at $13.8B, a move that will simplify the companies' corporate structure.
    • Under the deal terms, 1.115 shares of WMB will be exchanged for each WPZ unit; based on Tuesday's closing prices, WPZ is valued at $55.86/unit, or an 18% premium.
    • Upon completion of the proposed transaction, expected to occur in Q3, the combined entity is expected to be one of the largest and fastest-growing high-dividend paying C-Corps in the energy sector, with an industry-leading 10%-15% annual dividend growth rate through 2020.
    • The combined entity expects to pay a Q3 2015 dividend of $0.64/share, or $2.56/share on an annual basis, up 6.7% over WMB's previously planned Q3 dividend; 2016 dividends are expected to total $2.85/share, ~20% above WMB's previously guided 2015 dividend and 6.3% above its guided 2016 dividend.
    • WMB +3.7% premarket
  • Thu, Apr. 30, 6:45 PM
    • At least a few gas producers in the Marcellus shale will curtail production due to low prices, Williams Cos. (WMB, WPZ) CEO Alan Armstrong predicted during today's earnings conference call.
    • "We're seeing decisions to shut in production because of extremely low prices in some of the constrained areas in the far northeast part of the Marcellus," the CEO said, which will hurt some of the expected growth from the area.
    • Armstrong expects the production cuts to be short-lived, possibly lasting into Q2, and "feel(s) very strong about the overall health of the business, as demand for gas picks up and some of the extreme bottlenecks that exist in the northeast start to be relieved."
    • Separately, Williams says it expects a decision from New York environmental regulators in a few months that will clear it to build its proposed Constitution pipeline from Pennsylvania to New York; the pipeline would will allow producers such as Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG) - which said last week that it would curtail Marcellus production due to low gas prices - to sell more Marcellus gas to U.S. northeast markets.
  • Wed, Apr. 29, 5:46 PM
    • Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ): Q1 Net income of $89M vs. $312M prior.
    • Press Release
  • Mon, Apr. 20, 11:12 PM
    • Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) declares $0.85/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 6.75%
    • Payable May 14; for shareholders of record May 7; ex-div May 5.
  • Mon, Apr. 20, 6:21 PM
    • Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) declares $0.85/share quarterly dividend, in line with previous.
    • Forward yield 6.75%
    • Payable May 14; for shareholders of record May 7; ex-div May 5.
  • Mon, Apr. 6, 8:25 AM
    • Williams Partners (WPZ, WMB) agrees to acquire additional interest in Utica East Ohio Midstream Partnership from a subsidiary of EV Energy Partners (NASDAQ:EVEP) for ~$575M.
    • WPZ says the acquisition will increase its stake in the natural gas midstream business in the Utica Shale in eastern Ohio to 70%.
    • EVEP says the deal marks the completion of its divestiture of midstream investments in the Utica Shale.
  • Thu, Mar. 19, 8:28 PM
    • A U.S. district judge clears the way for construction of the 124-mile Constitution Pipeline across several Pennsylvania properties whose owners had not agreed to it, ruling that the project has the necessary permits and serves the public interest.
    • The lead partners in the project designed to ferry cheap Marcellus Shale natural gas to New York and New England are Williams Partners (WPZ, WMB) and Cabot Oil & Gas (NYSE:COG).
    • The group hopes to begin construction June 1 but still needs permits from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation.
  • Thu, Mar. 19, 4:43 PM
    • Williams Cos. (WMB, WPZ) says the FERC approved Transco’s application to expand its mainline pipeline system and construct an 11-mile pipeline lateral connecting Transco to an electric power generating facility in Maryland.
    • The Rock Springs expansion project is designed to transport 192K dkm/day of natural gas to the planned Wildcat Point Generation Facility, which is expected to generate ~1K mw, enough to power 390K homes in the region.
    • WMB also says Transco filed an application with the FERC for its Dalton expansion project, which would support providing Marcellus shale gas to the southeastern U.S. for electricity generation and local natural gas distribution.
  • Tue, Feb. 24, 3:43 PM
    • Morgan Stanley’s (NYSE:MS) infrastructure arm has begun seeking bids for natural gas pipeline operator Southern Star Central, Bloomberg reports.
    • MS reportedly has sent offering documents to potential bidders including Tallgrass Energy Partners (NYSE:TEP) and TransCanada (NYSE:TRP), and is said to be soliciting bids from operators of gas pipelines including Williams Cos. (WMB, WPZ), Spectra Energy (NYSE:SE) and Boardwalk Pipeline Partners (NYSE:BWP), as well as other infrastructure investors such as Macquarie (NYSE:MIC).
    • Southern Star operates 6K miles of natural gas pipelines in the midwestern U.S., and is valued at as much as $1.5B.
  • Fri, Feb. 20, 3:43 PM
    • Credit Suisse reiterates a Buy rating on Williams Cos. (WMB -0.9%) and a Neutral rating and $61 target on Williams Partners (WPZ +2.1%), following Q4 earnings reports that “cleared the deck with their guidance” in terms of dealing with the new normal of low oil prices.
    • The firm believes WMB is up to the task of executing well in the current environment, and foresees "decent" distribution growth prospects at WPZ and improving coverage, as well as "comfortable double-digit" dividend growth at WMB.
    • For the stocks, Credit Suisse thinks execution should drive towards a $60 stock which would outperform the broader group, and is "warming up" on WPZ despite its Neutral rating.
  • Wed, Feb. 18, 7:22 PM
    • Williams Cos. (NYSE:WMB) +0.6% AH after swinging to a Q4 profit, enjoying a lift from its recently merged MLPs even as its pipeline business lowered its 2015 outlook.
    • The new Williams Partners (NYSE:WPZ) - combined with Access Midstream Partners (NYSE:ACMP) - cut its guidance for 2015 EBITDA to $4.5B from its previous view of ~$5B, citing sharply lower assumptions for commodities prices.
    • WPZ says its fee-based revenues continued to grow and it began commissioning major new assets including Gulfstar One, Keathley Canyon Connector and its expanded Geismar plant, but the sharp decline in commodity prices, the delay in the startup of Geismar and higher costs associated with the commissioning of the assets reduced overall results.
    • Guidance for WMB's 2015 cash dividend is $2.38/share with an annual growth rate of 10%-15% through 2017; guidance for WPZ's 2015 common unit cash distributions is $3.40 with an annual growth rate of 7%-11% through 2017.
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  • Wed, Feb. 18, 5:54 PM
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Company Description
Williams Partners LP is an energy infrastructure company. Itowns and operates midstream gathering and processing assets, and interstate natural gas pipelines.