Inergy: An Excellent Stock for Long Term Growing Income

| About: Crestwood Midstream (CMLP)
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Inergy, L.P. (NRGY) has released its 4th quarter and year end results. The company had a nice year and was able to increase distributions by 7% over 2007. Inergy has increased the distribution for 28 consecutive quarters. The company has two main business lines: Retail propane distribution and midstream natural gas processing. I found several items in the press release linked above to be of special interest:

The midstream business is entirely fee based. This allow them to avoid the fate of the product sales based midstream companies like Atlas Pipeline Partners (NYSE:APL). For the year, Inergy’s gross profit on midstream operations increased 59% to $92 million.

Annual propane sales of 331.9 million gallons were 30.3 million gallons less than in 2007. The primary cause was customer energy conservation due to significantly higher prices. In spite of the lower volume sales, Inergy still generated propane sales and service profits of $410.3 million was $11.7 million higher than for 2007.

The most interesting revelation in the press release was the reiteration of 2009 EBITA guidance of $277 to $294 million. This is a very nice increase over the $239 million earned in 2008. The low end of the 2009 projection is a 15% improvement over 2008 and the high end represents a 23% bump.

It appears Inergy will be able to continue its streak of growing distributions for the foreseeable future. The current distribution at the current share price gives a better than 15% yield. I would consider this stock an excellent value for those looking for long term growing income. When the market realizes after a couple of more dividends that the growth will continue, this will be a $25 stock again.

Disclosure: NRGY is a component of my site’s hypothetical Income Portfolio.