While not many utilities companies come close to being as solid and dependable as Enbridge (TSX:ENB)(NYSE:ENB), there are a few stocks out there to that could compete for a space in your income portfolio. Take a company that often gets mentioned in the same breath as Enbridge, such as Inter Pipeline (TSX:IPL).
Stock pundits like Inter Pipeline for its plump dividend yield, currently up at a seriously tempting 8.3%. Though Inter Pipeline underperformed the market in terms of year-on-year returns, coming in negative by 16.5%, its size, diversified nature, and stability of its payments make it a strong buy for any utilities investor looking to cash in on positive developments in the oil patch.
Perhaps one of the most interesting areas of business for Inter Pipeline will be its recyclable plastics operations. Pumping $3.5 billion into its petrochemical plant, Inter Pipeline will turn propane into polypropylene plastic. A highly recyclable material with many industrial uses, this segment of operations is likely to introduce a lucrative new stream of revenue for the company, which can only mean good things for its dividend.
Enbridge is still the main player on the pipeline stage
A diversified energy company and a giant in the pipeline landscape, Enbridge is currently paying out a chunky dividend yield of 6.1%. Enbridge has not only improved its balance sheet, bringing its debt down over the last five years, but it’s also outperformed the Canadian oil and gas industry over the last 12 months, which saw an average drop in returns of 14.2%.
What oil investors need to keep an eye on over the next few days is the contentious Bill C-69 debate. With a decision due to be passed June 18, a potential sea change in the way Ottawa makes its mind up about major energy projects is imminent. Oil-heavy stocks like Enbridge and Inter Pipeline are on the front line here, with pundits split as to which way the cookie will crumble.
“The topic of the day is whether we can build pipelines in this country,” Enbridge head Al Monaco stated at the company’s recent annual meeting. However, while he went on to add that the company would pursue energy exports while working on cutting global emissions, he added the caveat, “We are squandering this opportunity.”
That the oil patch has seen a fall-off in investment during the course of the last two years should be no great surprise to any market observer who knows a thing or two about the hold-up in pipeline developments. It’s also no secret that Canada is facing a problem with oil takeaway capacity and the inability to build basic energy infrastructure is dampening the sector.
The bottom line
Pending developments in the pipeline debate, Inter Pipeline and Enbridge’s commitments to expanding their natural gas transmission operations and command of the market make them strong choices for an investor bullish on oil-heavy utilities. Positive developments in government-level pipeline discussions are likely to see both stocks climb, with improvements in energy infrastructure serving only to strengthen their dividends.