One stock I like is
Niska Gas Storage Partners
(NKA - Get Report)
. Niska is the largest independent owner and operator of natural-gas storage in North America. In total, the company has about 185.5 billion cubic feet of storage capacity. It's only using 55% of that.
Needless to say, the stock's fundamentals aren't the greatest. But the story behind owning this stock is the valuation. Units trade around $9.37 and yield better than 14%. They're also priced at a 27% discount to their book value.
Analysts estimate the market has placed a value on Niska's storage at just $7 million per billion cubic feet, which is less than half of the current market cost to build new storage. The biggest concern surrounding the company was that due to the soft operating environment, the dividend distribution was at risk.
However, the company has taken necessary steps to protect the payout to common unit holders by repurchasing $62 million of debt this year. The company is also in the process of monetizing $200 million worth of its current natural-gas inventory. Thanks to these maneuvers, Credit Suisse analyst Yves Siegel projects Niska will have enough cash to cover the current distribution to common unit holders for the next year and a half. When the operating environment improves, the company will be well positioned due to its size.
nit holders shouldn't expect distribution increases any time soon, but a 14% yield and a unit price below tangible value is a decent-enough incentive.
Risks to consider: In researching this article, this five-year chart of the Alerian index concerned me.
While I'm not a wiggle reader by trade, this is self explanatory, thus confirming why the energy MLP space made me nervous in the first place. Focusing on names that have already been beaten down is a good way to play defense.
Another risk consideration is uncertainty concerning U.S. tax policy. The potential change in the tax treatment of pass-through entities such as MLPs could negatively affect distributions available to unitholders. Widespread economic slowdown would also compound the pullback in commodity prices, which in turn would affect energy MLP prices.