Pembina Pipeline Sees More Growth Ahead in 2019

Pembina Pipeline (NYSE: PBA) recently outlined its 2019 capital plans and earnings forecast. That outlook has the Canadian midstream company on track for continued growth in the coming year. Add that to the company's 5.4%-yielding dividend -- which it pays monthly -- and Pembina Pipeline is an intriguing stock for income-seeking investors.

Drilling down into Pembina Pipeline's budget for 2019

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Pembina Pipeline expects to invest 1.6 billion Canadian dollars ($1.2 billion) on expansion projects in the coming year. About 53% of those funds will go toward projects in its pipeline division, including the phase VI and VII expansions of its Peace Pipeline system, which should enter service in the second half of 2019 and the first half of 2021, respectively. In addition to that, Pembina will invest funds to complete two other projects that should both start up in the second half of next year.

Meanwhile, a quarter of the company's budget will fund projects in its facilities division, including the development of Duvernay II and III, which are gas-processing plants supported by 20-year contracts with Chevron (NYSE: CVX). Those projects should start up at the end of 2019 and in mid to late 2020 and will enable Chevron to ramp up its activities in Canada's Duvernay shale play.

Most of the rest of Pembina's spending will go toward longer-term capital projects. These investments include funds to progress its proposed Jordan Cove LNG project on the coast of Oregon and to further advance a major petrochemical joint venture in Canada. Pembina currently believes it will receive approval to build Jordan Cove by the end of next year, which puts it on track to begin exporting LNG by 2024. Meanwhile, the company and its Kuwaiti joint venture partner are working toward making a final investment decision on their petrochemical project by early next year.

The fuel to continue growing

Pembina Pipeline is currently working on starting up 750 million Canadian dollars ($560 million) of expansion projects. Those new additions, when combined with the ones it expects to finish in the second half of 2019, have the company on pace to generate CA$2.8 billion to CA$3 billion ($2.1 billion to $2.2 billion) of adjusted EBITDA next year. At the midpoint, that forecast implies about 4% growth from the middle of this year's guidance range, which should provide the company with enough fuel to increase its dividend by a similar pace in 2019. While that's a much slower pace than the 14% earnings increase the company expects on a per-share basis in 2018, that's because Pembina closed its acquisition of Veresen near the end of 2017 and had completed a large slate of expansions in the past year to fuel accelerated growth in 2018.

Meanwhile, with several long-term projects either under way or in development, Pembina Pipeline should continue growing for the next several years. In the company's view, the secured capital projects it has under way, which currently total CA$3.1 billion ($2.3 billion), should provide it with CA$300 million to CA$400 million ($224 million to $298 million) of incremental EBITDA as they come online through 2021. Meanwhile, the company has another CA$4.5 billion ($3.4 billion) of other expansion projects in development and could invest more than CA$10 billion ($7.5 billion) building Jordan Cove and the petrochemical complex. Those opportunities could give Pembina the fuel to grow earnings and its dividend at a healthy rate for the next several years.

Another step forward 2019, with even more upside ahead

Pembina Pipeline's earnings growth rate will slow down in 2019 as it has fewer expansion projects entering service. However, that still positions the company to continue increasing its dividend in the coming year. Meanwhile, Pembina has several large-scale projects in development, which could fuel faster growth in the future. That upside potential makes it an interesting pipeline stock for income investors to at least put on their watchlists.

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Matthew DiLallo has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.