Kinder Morgan Maintains 2015 Dividend Outlook Despite Lower Energy Prices

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Kinder Morgan Inc. (NYSE: KMI) has now announced its post-merger 2015 financial expectations. The news looks great on the surface, in that the post-merger company still expects to declare dividends of $2.00 per share for 2015 with over $500 million of excess coverage. This would be a 16% higher payout than the $1.72 per share budgeted for 2014. Still, the major difference we see here in Wednesday’s post-merger outlook versus the pre-merger outlook is that there is not the stated commitment of 10% dividend growth guidance out to 2020, and the next assumption is that the West Texas Intermediate (WTI) oil price average is now being put at $70.

Kinder Morgan’s pre-merger forecast included a note that the combined KMI structure would grow that dividend payout by about 10% a year from 2015 to 2020. All in all, it should not be surprising that the longer-term outlook was not included in Wednesday’s forecast, and the wording of a 2015 outlook may simply not be an apples-to-apples assumption change just because the outlook did not mention excess coverage and dividend growth rates out to 2020. Still, it may not go unnoticed by some investors. The August 10 merger announcement had said:

We expect to grow the dividend by approximately 10 percent each year from 2015 through 2020, with excess coverage anticipated to be greater than $2 billion over that same period.

Kinder Morgan’s 2015 growth plan is expected to be driven by continued high demand for North American energy infrastructure. The company said that this includes the transportation and storage of natural gas, natural gas liquids, crude oil and refined products. Growth is also expected to be driven by contributions from the company’s expansion projects across its business units.

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