How Kinder Morgan Raises Its Dividend on Lower Earnings

July 16, 2015 by Paul Ausick

Kinder Morgan
Source: Wikimedia Commons
Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) reported second-quarter 2015 results after markets closed Wednesday. The midstream giant posted earnings per Class P share (EPS) of $0.15 on revenues of $3.46 billion. In the same period a year ago, KMI posted EPS of $0.27 on revenues of $3.94 billion. Consensus estimates called for earnings of $0.22 per share of $0.23 on revenues of $4.07 billion.

Distributable cash flow (DCF) is a non-GAAP measure that is roughly comparable to net income and is KMI’s preferred way of comparing basic cash flows to the cash dividends it expects to pay shareholders. Another way of looking at DCF is as coverage in excess of dividends. DCF for the second quarter totaled $0.50 per share, up from $0.32 in the year-ago quarter.

Kinder Morgan will pay a dividend of $0.49 per share to shareholders of record on July 31, up from $0.43 in the first quarter of last year and up from $0.48 sequentially. Before the dividend increase, the yield was 5.1%.

DCF is higher year-over-year primarily due to the merger transactions Kinder Morgan completed late last year. DCF for the quarter totaled $1.1 billion, compared to $332 million in the second quarter last year. Net income for the second quarter totaled $365 million, compared with $515 million in the year-ago quarter. The decline was driven by higher DD&A expenses, book taxes and interest expense.

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Chairman and CEO Richard Kinder had this to say about KMI:

While commodity prices continued to pressure the industry this quarter, we continued to produce strong results due mainly to our large, diversified asset portfolio and fee-based cash flows predominantly supported by take-or-pay contracts. … Our five business segments produced $1.827 billion in segment earnings before DD&A and certain items, up 2 percent from the second quarter 2014, primarily driven by increases in our Products Pipelines and Terminals segments offsetting a decline in our CO2 segment.

In its outlook discussion, KMI said it continues to expect to pay a total fiscal year dividend of $2.00 per share this year, a 15% increase compared with the 2014 dividend of $1.74. The company no longer expects to meet its budgeted cash coverage in excess of declared dividends target of $654 million. That total was based on an assumed average WTI crude oil price of about $70 a barrel and a Henry Hub natural gas price of $3.80 per million BTUs. Kinder Morgan’s realized average weighted price per barrel of oil in the first half of the year was $72.72. The realized average weighted price per barrel of natural gas liquids for the same period was $20.36. Last year Kinder Morgan realized a price of $90.35 per barrel of oil and $47.56 per barrel of natural gas liquids.

The company also announced on Wednesday that it has reached an agreement to acquire Shell’s 49% equity interest in the Elba Liquefaction Company for approximately $630 million, bringing Kinder Morgan’s investment in the natural gas export facility to $2.1 billion. Construction is expected to begin in the fourth quarter of this year, subject to regulatory approvals, and first production is due in late 2017.

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Shares of KMI traded up about 0.5% Thursday morning, at $37.78 in a 52-week range of $33.25 to $44.71. The consensus price target on the stock was $47.17 before this earnings announcement.