Bear markets are an inevitable part of investing, but that doesn’t make them any easier to live through. What you need to do is focus on something other than stock prices, which is why a dividend stock like Enbridge (ENB -0.70%) is a good option now that the Dow Jones, S&P 500, and Nasdaq have all officially gotten mauled by bears. Here’s why you might want to add Enbridge to your portfolio today.
Large, diversified energy business
Enbridge is one of the largest midstream companies in North America, with a market cap of around $75 billion. That means it owns the pipelines, storage, and transportation assets that help to move energy sources like oil and natural gas from where it is drilled to where it eventually gets consumed. The bulk of Enbridge’s business is fee-based, so it gets paid for the use of its assets. That results in fairly reliable cash flows despite the volatile nature of energy prices.
Roughly 58% of the company’s earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization (EBITDA) comes from oil assets while 26% is derived from natural gas infrastructure. This is the core of the company’s business, adding up to a combined 84% or so of EBITDA. As long as oil and natural gas remain important energy sources, Enbridge’s dividend should have plenty to support it.
However, there’s another 16% of EBITDA for which to account. The biggest piece at 12% is a natural gas utility operation, which is a regulated business that provides reliable cash flows. The last 4% is tied to the company’s renewables portfolio, which is backed by long-term contracts. So, just like its primary energy transmission operations, Enbridge is focused on generating reliable cash flows in these segments, too. All in, Enbridge is one of the largest and most diversified energy infrastructure companies you can buy stock in.
Rewarding investors today and for years to come
This brings the story to the generous 6.8% dividend yield. That’s attractive relative to the market and, frankly, on an absolute basis. The dividend has also been increased annually for over 25 years, putting the Calgary, Canada-based Enbridge in the same sphere as Dividend Aristocrats. Clearly, management places a high value on rewarding investors for sticking around through good markets and bad ones.
But here’s an even more interesting stat: Management expects to produce $2 billion Canadian dollars in excess cash flow over the next few years. So it not only expects to cover its current capital spending plans, operating costs, and dividend, but it anticipates having a whole lot of cash left over after all of that.
That’s a safety cushion for the dividend and an opportunity for management to put more cash to work for investors. Recently management has been using that cash to buy back stock, which increases earnings per share and reduces the absolute cost of the dividend. But if the right opportunities arise it could use that excess cash flow to fund debt reduction, acquisitions, or ground-up construction. In other words, management has a lot of shareholder-friendly options.
Getting through to the other side
So, while you are trying to muddle through the bear market, you can own Enbridge and focus on collecting fat dividend checks, the reliable performance of a fee-based diversified business, and the opportunities opened up by having excess cash flow. That should soften the emotional blow of a market downturn and make it much easier to hold on while you await the next bull market.