Is The Midstream Sector A Source Of Stable Dividends?

Over the past few years, the midstream space has witnessed tremendous change. About a year after the oil price collapse in 2014, oil production in the US began to decline. As both volumes and commodity prices went down, midstream companies that had pursued growth at all costs, levered up the balance sheet in pursuit of that growth, and those companies that added significant commodity price exposure in their agreements with producers, found themselves in a very precarious financial situation. Not a small number of midstream companies eventually cut their distributions/dividends in order to shore up the balance sheet and fund growth obligations.

However, there are were also many midstream companies with management teams who were disciplined capital allocators, adept in avoiding agreements that would introduce additional volatility from direct commodity exposure, and ultimately made all the right decisions for their business and shareholders. It’s my personal view that an investor needs to learn about, and get comfortable with, a management team before investing in their company’s shares. For that reason, I started a podcast called Investing with the Buyside, which aims to provide corporate access to all investors.

Before starting the IwtB Podcast, my job was to perform equity research for a large mutual fund company based out of Denver. My sector focus was energy, utilities, and a few industrial subsectors. My decision to leave the buyside and start the IwtB Podcast was primarily because I believe all investors should have the opportunity to hear management talk about their business, industry outlook, capital allocation philosophy, as well as hear management’s perspective on the value of their stock.

Another, more minor, reason I wanted to leave the buyside was that many of the companies and some of the subsectors I covered appeared significantly undervalued – midstream being one of them. There are a lot of trading restrictions for someone working for a large money management firm and if there was ever a good time to leave the industry and try something new, it was then.

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This is a guest post by Nate Abercrombie, the founder and host of Investing with the Buyside and more

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