Why Enable Midstream Partners LP Was Up 14% in August

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What happened

Units of midstream MLP Enable Midstream Partners (NYSE: ENBL) were up 13.9% last month, mainly due to the company's second-quarter report and a potential change in its ownership structure.

So what

Enable Midstream Partners reported $144 million in distributable cash flow last quarter, which was $5 million, or 4%, higher than the second quarter of last year. The primary driver of that improvement was lower maintenance capex. That stable cash flow enabled the company to maintain its quarterly distribution while achieving an average distribution coverage ratio of 1.18 times. As a result of that solid showing, the company remains on pace to hit its full-year guidance.

Also during the month, Enable Midstream Partners' controlling investor CenterPoint Energy (NYSE: CNP) said it was considering selling its stake in the company to fellow controlling investor OGE Energy (NYSE: OGE). CenterPoint Energy currently owns a 50% GP interest and a 54.4% LP interest, which it previously said it was considering selling or spinning off. However, OGE Energy, which owns the other 50% GP interest and a 26.3% LP interest, said that CenterPoint Energy had offered it the opportunity to buy its stake in Enable Midstream Partners. While it did not tip its hand, the fact that it did not dismiss the notion seems to indicate its interest in acquiring full control. If such a transaction were to occur, it could drive Enable's unit price even higher depending on the value the two companies place on the stake.

Now what

Enable is weathering the challenges in the oil market quite admirably, evidenced by its ability to generate stable cash flow and maintain its distribution. That said, its future is a bit unclear at the moment because one of its controlling investors is seeking to sell its stake. If it sells the stake to the company's other leading investor, then not much will likely change in the future. However, if that stake ends up in the hands of another owner it could lead to changes down the road. That uncertainty might be reason enough for some investors to decide to stay on the sidelines for now.

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