Entries by Simon Lack

Lower Spending Cheers Pipeline Investors

In February, following our criticism of Kinder Morgan’s (KMI) return on invested capital (see Kinder Morgan’s Slick Numeracy) the company, to their credit, reached out to us so as to better present their perspective. Our point was that capital allocation decisions in recent years had not always been accretive to equity. We offered the company […]

Pipelines Are Becoming Less Risky

Before the Shale Revolution, midstream energy infrastructure was a boringly stable sector. MLPs, which predominated versus corporations back then, paid out most of the cash they generated and grew distributions through price escalators and improved operating efficiencies. Volatility was low, and attractive yields drew income-seeking investors. This happy marriage started to fall apart in 2015, […]

Covid By The Numbers

The recent news on Covid-19 has been mostly bad. Infections are increasing sharply in sunbelt states, where Florida now holds the record for two worst days’ new infections – 15,300 and 13,965, both reached last week. Reopening plans are being halted. Even the Republican convention scheduled for late August, which was moved from Charlotte, NC […]

Installed Pipelines Are Worth More

Sunday’s blog (see Pipeline Opponents Help Free Cash Flow) drew some interesting feedback. It seems odd to favor constrained growth opportunities, and it’s contrary to how most management teams will assess their outlook. But for many pipeline investors, including your blogger, the pre-Shale years of steady returns were what made the sector attractive. Anti-fossil fuel […]

The Stock Market’s Heartless Optimism

Last week in our local paper, the Obituaries section ran to three pages. 17 people were listed. 14 of them were over 80, and three were in their 60s. The steady drumbeat of death, economic destruction and lockdown is why the stock market looks as if it’s divorced from reality. The S&P500 is only down […]

The Upside Case for Pipelines

Client interaction has been overwhelmingly constructive – we haven’t had a single call from anyone wanting to “sell everything.” Our fund has seen very modest net outflows, and new money has been coming in every day. One investor said on the weekend that we need to present the positive case more forcefully. So, here it […]

Coronavirus Makes Market History

Thursday’s fall in equity markets was the worst since the October 19th, 1987 stock market crash. I was a young interest rate trader then, and that evening I warned my wife that we should stock up on canned food while we prepared for another 1930s Depression. She scoffed that only Wall Street had a problem, […]

Update Thursday, March 12th, 10:30am

Bankruptcy risk is the topic investors want to discuss in calls this week. Within the American Energy Independence Index, the pipeline industry is 80% investment grade companies. We estimate that around 20% of it is direct exposure to crude oil pipelines. 80% of their customers are themselves investment grade. During the 2008 financial crisis, crude […]

Quick Update After OPEC+ Collapse

Yesterday’s blog on the positive free cash flow story was largely written before Saturday’s news that precipitated today’s sharp sell off. It’s doubtful any company would reaffirm prior guidance if asked right now. Investment grade names are better to own than high yield issuers; exposure to natural gas infrastructure is better than crude oil pipelines; […]

Where America Gets its Power

One of the challenges facing solar energy in providing electricity is that demand often peaks at the beginning and end of the workday. When people are preparing to head to work or school, electricity demand rises. The second peak occurs during early evening during dinner. Solar output peaks around midday, inconveniently between the twin household […]

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