Buckeye Partners, L.P. (BPL): Has This Explosive MLP Overextended Itself in 2013?

One of the largest independent US pipeline carriers of refined petroleum products, Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE:BPL) has vastly outperformed the overall market in 2013, rising 46.66% year to date compared to the 12.93% return offered by the blue chip average.

Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE:BPL)

Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE:BPL) is one of the largest independent US pipeline carriers of refined petroleum products, with over 6,000 miles of pipelines. Based on market capitalization, the company is valued at $7.03 billion. Presently, Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE:BPL) possesses a TTM profit margin of 5.94%.

With the company trading within $5 of all-time highs, has this explosive MLP overextended itself in 2013 or should investors flee into this company as a safe haven from the incredibly volatile market?


  • Institutional Vote of Confidence: 43% of shares outstanding are held by institutional investors, representing over $3 billion in investment, displaying the confidence some of largest investors in the world have in the company and its future
  • Relatively Low Volatility: Currently, Buckeye withholds a beta ratio of 0.30, representing a company trading with considerably less volatility than the overall market, a strength for long-term investors
  • Dividend: At the moment, the company pays out quarterly dividends of $1.05, which annualized gives a yield of 6.31%, a major strength for long-term investors
  • Historic Revenue Growth: In 2002, Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE:BPL) reported revenue of $247 million; in 2012, the company announced revenue of $4.36 billion, representing year over year annual growth of 33.09%, an explosive growth trend which is anticipated to sustain into the future with projections placing 2015 revenue at $5.20 billion (this growth has been a result of aggressive expansion projects by the company)
  • Reasonable Valuation: Presently, the company possesses a price to earnings ratio of 25.25 and a price to sales ratio of 1.63; both of which indicate a company trading with a fairly reasonable valuation
  • Diversified & Predictable Business Model: Buckeye owns 6,000 miles of pipeline, which the company utilizes to ship refined petroleum products, and because of this the company’s fees are regulated and based on the volume of product transported, not by the price of the commodity they are shipping; with this diversified and predictable business model comes a greater level of security for investors


  • Net Debt: The company’s $6.78 million in cash and cash equivalents is outweighed by its $2.74 billion debt load, resulting in a net debt of roughly $2.7 billion, accounting for 38.40% of total market capitalization, a major financial weakness of the company


  • Dividend Growth: Since implementing their dividend program in 1990, Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE:BPL) has consistently raised their dividend payouts and is widely anticipated to sustain this trend well into the future
  • Acquisitions: In July 2012, the company acquired a Marine terminal facility for liquid petroleum products in New York Harbor from Chevron Incorporated; further acquisitions could add to the company’s asset base and fuel growth
  • Growth in Volume: The most important metric for Buckeye is the volume of petroleum products it ships through its pipelines every day, which increased from an average of 1,304,500 barrels of petroleum products per day in 2010 to 1,347,500 barrels per day in 2011; further growth in shipment volume is projected and will fuel growth
  • Growth in Average Tariff Rate: The average tariff rate the company charges has increased from 64.7 cents per barrel in 2007 to 76.8 cents per barrel in 2011, with further growth projected
  • Refined Product Sales: Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE:BPL) has increased its refined product sales from 435.2 million gallons in 2008 to 1,337.8 million gallons in 2011, representing 207.39% growth over three years, with extensive further growth projected in this key metric
  • Growth in US Oil Production: The more oil that is produced in the United States, the more oil that will have to be shipped by companies such as Buckeye, increasing pipeline volumes and fueling overall company growth


  • Falter in Oil Prices: While oil prices do not affect the rate Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE:BPL) charges, weakness in oil prices result in the production companies possessing less conviction as at a certain point the endeavor simply is not profitable; major weakness in oil prices could threaten overall business


Major publicly traded competitors of Buckeye Partners, L.P. (NYSE:BPL) include Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE:EPD), Kinder Morgan Inc (NYSE:KMI), Energy Transfer Partners LP (NYSE:ETP), and Enbridge Inc (NYSE:ENB). All of these companies have a presence in the pipeline industry and compete directly against Buckeye.

Enterprise Products Partners L.P. (NYSE:EPD) is valued at $54.03 billion, pays out a dividend yielding 4.56%, and carries a price to earnings ratio of 20.95. Enterprise carries a 4.14 price to book ratio, however the company possesses an increased level of stability as a result of its massive presence across the continent. Fundamentally, Enterprise’s business model is profitable, with a TTM profit margin of 5.90%. Enterprise is anticipated to experience mid-single digit growth in terms of revenue and earnings.