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The MLP IPO Class of 2014, Part 1

By Elliott H. Gue on Jul. 18, 2014

Energy-related master limited partnerships (MLP) have completed seven initial public offerings (IPO) thus far in 2014, bringing the universe of publicly traded partnerships to an all-time high.

Although some of these fledgling partnerships operate assets familiar to most investors, the class of 2014 also continues the expansion of this security class to several niche industries, including renewable energy, wastewater management and pipeline inspection.

Meanwhile, recent IPOs have included Foresight Energy Partners LP (NYSE: FELP), the first coal producer to debt as a publicly traded partnership since 2010, and Viper Energy Partners LP (NSDQ: VNOM), a spin-off of Diamondback Energy (NSDQ: FANG), which has reignited investors’ interest in mineral rights.

In the past, investing in fledgling publicly traded partnerships has proved to be a winning proposition and an opportunity to find value. However, investors should be forewarned selectivity is critical to this strategy’s success.

MLPs often grow their distributions at an accelerated rate in their first two years as a publicly traded entity. These rising quarterly payouts, coupled with a raft of positive research reports from Wall Street analysts, tend to attract investors’ attention and drive the stock price higher.

At the same time, brokerage and financial websites often misreport recently listed MLPs’ yield until the firm has paid a full year’s worth of distributions. This quirk gives investors an opportunity to buy these stocks before the herd realizes how much the units yield.

We expect the pipeline of prospective publicly traded partnerships to remain robust, as companies–and investment banks–seek to take advantage of the market’s demand for securities that offer an above-average yield.

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