2023 List of MLP Stocks: All 40 Ranked & Analyzed

The table below contains a complete list of MLP stocks (master limited partnerships) that issue K-1s with up-to-date dividend yields and Dividend Safety Scores™

Below our MLP list you'll find analysis on five of the best MLP stocks for high dividends, as well our take on all 40 tax-advantaged MLPs by industry (ranked from our most to least favorite MLP stocks).

We regularly monitor our master limited partnerships list for mergers and corporate conversions that would result in a stock losing its favorable MLP tax status. These pending cases are noted below the table.

2023 MLP List by Yield

MLP List Notes:

  • MLPs which are taxed as corporations rather than partnerships and do not issue K-1s are excluded from our MLP list.
  • MLPs traded over-the-counter have been excluded given their generally poor trading liquidity.
  • Magellan Midstream (MMP) is being acquired and will drop from our list of all MLPs when the transaction closes.
  • Six MLPs on the list do not currently pay a distribution on their common units: NGL Energy Partners (NGL), Summit Midstream Partners (SMLP), Evolve Transition Infrastructure (SNMP), Calumet Specialty Products Partners (CLMT), Steel Partners Holdings (SPLP), and USD Partners (USDP).

5 Best MLP Stocks for High Dividends

The 5 best MLP stocks analyzed below yield as much as 10%. Each business has durable qualities that can help support its distribution going forward, and some of them are included in our favorite highest-paying dividend stocks list.

Best MLPs #1: Enterprise Products Partners

Sector: Energy – Oil and Gas Pipelines
Dividend Yield: 7.5%
Dividend Safety Score: Safe
Uninterrupted Dividend Streak: 23 years

Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) is one of the best MLP stocks for dividends, boasting a track record of uninterrupted payouts since going public in 1998.

One of America's largest providers of midstream services, Enterprise's operations span everything from gathering and processing to transportation and storage for natural gas liquids, natural gas, crude oil, refined products, and petrochemicals.
Source: Enterprise Investor Presentation
Most of the partnership's cash flow is backed by long-term, fixed-fee contracts with minimum volume guarantees, insulating Enterprise from volatile oil and gas prices.

Along with a BBB+ credit rating, a self-funded business model, and a diversified customer base spread across every major U.S. shale basin, the MLP appears set to remain a reliable income investment with modest payout growth over time.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

Best MLPs #2: Brookfield Infrastructure Partners

Sector: Utilities – Multi-Utilities
Dividend Yield: 4.7%
Dividend Safety Score: Safe
Uninterrupted Dividend Streak: 15 years

Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP) was spun off in 2008 from Brookfield Asset Management, which acts as the partnership's general manager and has a roughly 30% ownership interest.

BIP initially owned interests in five electricity transmission and timber businesses, but today its diversified portfolio includes more than 30 infrastructure assets, including electrical transmission lines, railroads, ports, natural gas pipelines, toll roads, telecom towers, and data centers.
Source: BIP Investor Presentation

Management focuses on operating durable businesses that deliver predictable results. This approach has resulted in about 95% of BIP's cash flows being either regulated or derived from long-term contracts, approximately 75% indexed to inflation, and around 60% having no volume risk.

BIP's steady cash flow and investment grade credit rating have helped the firm pay uninterrupted distributions since 2008. Management also targets 5% to 9% annual distribution raises, giving BIP an appealing mix of income and growth.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

Best MLPs #3: Cheniere Energy Partners

Sector: Energy – Other Midstream
Dividend Yield: 6.2%
Dividend Safety Score: Borderline Safe
Uninterrupted Dividend Streak: 14 years

Cheniere Energy Partners (CQP) was formed in 2006 and owns the Sabine Pass liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal located in Louisiana. The LNG produced by the MLP's infrastructure gets shipped globally and is then turned back into natural gas before moving via pipelines to homes and businesses to be used as an energy source.
Source: Cheniere Website

CQP's assets are supported by long-term, fixed fee contracts with take-or-pay provisions. This protection has helped the large-cap MLP manage periods of unfavorable weather or low commodity prices, enabling uninterrupted distributions since 2007.

With an array of creditworthy customers and rising demand for LNG as a cleaner energy source than coal and oil, BBB rated CQP seems likely to continue generating reliable cash flow to support its distribution.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

Best MLPs #4: Plains All American Pipeline

Sector: Energy – Oil and Gas Pipelines
Dividend Yield: 7.2%
Dividend Safety Score: Borderline Safe
Uninterrupted Dividend Streak: 1 year

Plains All American Pipeline (PAA) owns pipelines, terminals, storage facilities, and gathering assets across all major U.S. oil basins. But the Permian, America's largest and most productive oil basin, drives around half of Plains' cash flow.

Increasing oil production activity in the Permian provides growth opportunities for the large-cap MLP's gathering business. And Plains' long-haul pipelines provide a stable base of cash flow thanks to their fee-based contracts with minimum volume commitments.
Source: Plains Investor Presentation

The firm's integrated infrastructure, scale, self-funded capital program, BBB- credit rating, and conservative payout ratio should support its distribution, which has been reduced three times since 2016 to reach a more sustainable level.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

Best MLPs #5: CrossAmerica Partners

Sector: Energy – Fuel Distribution
Dividend Yield: 11.1%
Dividend Safety Score: Borderline Safe
Uninterrupted Dividend Streak: 3 years

CrossAmerica Partners (CAPL) distributes over 1 billion gallons of motor fuel annually to more than 1,700 gas stations and other locations. The small-cap MLP stock also derives income from leasing convenience stores to tenants and operating some of its own retail locations.
Source: CrossAmerica Partners Investor Presentation

While the wholesale fuel distribution business has little volume protection, demand for gasoline is usually stable. And if volumes decline due to an economic slowdown, CrossAmerica's margins can rise since part of the business has variable fuel margins which increase when the price of oil falls faster than retail fuel prices adjust.

This helped preserve CrossAmerica's distribution during the pandemic. With a reasonable payout ratio, consistent cash flow from diversified sources, and an aligned general partner owned by the firm's founder and Chairman Joe Topper, the MLP's high distribution has a shot at being maintained over a full cycle.
Source: Simply Safe Dividends

List of Oil and Gas Gathering and Processing MLPs

Gathering and processing (G&P) MLPs mark the beginning of the midstream process. Their pipelines primarily gather natural gas produced from wells, helping bring this raw commodity to their processing and treatment plants, which remove contaminants. 

To recoup their extensive infrastructure investments, most G&P MLPs maintain contracts with energy producers giving them fixed fees tied to production from dedicated wells or acreage. However, these businesses can have high volumetric risk if producers drill and complete fewer wells during downturns, reducing throughput across G&P systems.

The end result is less reliable cash flow and distributions. Of the nine G&P MLPs, only two (Hess Midstream Partners and USA Compression Partners) have never cut their distributions. This is not a great industry for conservative dividend investors.

Here is our analysis of each G&P MLP, ranked from our most to least favorite business: 

  • Western Midstream Partners (WES) generates around 60% of its revenue from Occidental Petroleum (OXY), which also owns about 50% of Western's units. The firm's gas-focused G&P assets are located primarily in west Texas's Delaware Basin and the DJ Basin in Colorado. Western Midstream earns a BBB- credit rating for its debt reduction activities in recent years and maintains a conservative payout ratio. These qualities, along with mostly fee-based contracts that often have minimum volume commitments, make the MLP one of the stronger options in the G&P industry.

  • Crestwood Equity Partners (CEQP) formed in 2001 and generates balanced cash flow from gas, oil, produced water, and natural gas liquids mostly in the Williston Basin across North Dakota and the Delaware Basin in west Texas. The BB rated firm has maintained a conservative payout ratio after cutting its distribution in half in 2016. This supports self-funded growth and deleveraging. While no upstream producer exceeds 10% of sales, Crestwood's lack of basin diversification and G&P volumetric risk can create volatility.

  • USA Compression Partners (USAC) has defended its distribution since 2018, all while boasting a double-digit yield. Management has prioritized the firm's distribution at the expense of USAC's balance sheet, earning the large provider of gas compression services a B+ credit rating. While USAC is diversified across five production basins, no customer tops 10% of sales, and the business has some volume protection, its many month-to-month contracts can result in cash flow volatility when production declines. USAC's general partner, owned by Energy Transfer (ET), also holds around half of its common units, exerting meaningful control over the MLP. Conservative income investors are better served elsewhere.

  • Summit Midstream Partners (SMLP) suspended its distribution at the onset of Covid and has not brought its payout back yet. The B rated, micro-cap provider of gas, oil, and produced water gathering services continues working to improve its bloated balance sheet. Given the firm's small size, weak financial health, and lack of a distribution for potentially a couple more years, Summit does not appeal to income investors despite its diversification across seven basins, high mix of fee-based contracts, and minimum volume commitments which account for nearly half of output.

  • CSI Compressco (CCLP) provides gas compression and treatment services for energy producers primarily in Texas (around 65% of sales). The micro-cap stock sports a weak B- credit rating, reflecting its small scale, historically bloated balance sheet, short-term contracts, and cyclical cash flow. These factors drove several major distribution cuts since the MLP went public in 2011. Conservative income investors should avoid the stock.

  • NGL Energy Partners (NGL) earns a B- credit rating, reflecting the micro-cap stock's challenges getting its financial house in order. NGL's distribution has remained suspended since February 2021 after the firm's lenders required it to halt payouts until leverage reached a safer level. With sizable debt maturities in the years ahead, NGL's solvency could become a concern, especially if oil production in west Texas's Delaware Basin weakens and weighs on the MLP's core water transportation and treatment business.

  • Evolve Transition Infrastructure (SNMP) has yet to reinstate its distribution following a suspension announced in mid-2019. The micro-cap stock formed in 2005 owns gas gathering systems, pipelines, and processing facilities in south Texas. With a highly levered balance sheet, nearly complete dependence on a single customer (Mesquite) that declared bankruptcy in 2019, and a majority of units owned by a private equity sponsor, Evolve Transition is a speculative investment.

  • DCP Midstream (DCP) began in 2005 and owns integrated pipelines, processing plants, fractionators, and storage facilities spanning nine states across major producing regions. The MLP makes most of its money gathering and processing raw natural gas, making it marketable and moving it to other pipelines for further delivery to end users. While DCP was one of the more attractive MLPs in this space, in August 2022 the firm received an offer to be acquired by Phillips 66.

List of Oil and Gas Pipeline MLPs

Most of the oil and gas MLPs on this list own integrated energy infrastructure focused on transportation pipelines, terminals, and storage facilities. Compared to gathering and processing assets, long-haul pipelines can generate steadier cash flow with long-term, fixed-fee contracts backed by minimum volume commitments from energy producers. 

Here is our analysis of pipeline MLPs, ordered from our most to least favorite business: 

  • Enterprise Products Partners (EPD) arguably represents the highest-quality midstream MLP. As one of the largest firms, Enterprise has a network of assets connected to nearly every U.S. shale basin and throughout the Gulf Coast. The firm's diversified operations span almost every midstream activity, touch a variety of energy commodities, and serve a well-diversified customer group. Coupled with a self-funded business model, BBB+ credit rating, and high mix of long-term, fixed-fee contracts with minimum volume guarantees, Enterprise should extend its streak of paying uninterrupted distributions since going public in 1998.

  • Magellan Midstream Partners (MMP) owns the longest refined products pipeline system in America, helping transport gasoline and other fuels from refineries to end users such as gas stations and truck stops. Magellan also owns some oil pipelines that help move crude to various market hubs. While the refined products business has little contract protection, this is not a concern because most of its products are non-discretionary in nature, making for predictable demand patterns. Coupled with a BBB+ credit rating, modest capital spending needs, and a reasonable payout ratio policy, Magellan has paid uninterrupted distributions since 2001. Note Magellan is being acquired in 2023.

  • Energy Transfer (ET) began in 1996 and is one of the largest providers of midstream energy services. The firm has a presence in every major U.S. production basin with a vast network of pipelines, storage facilities, and terminals. Cash flow is supported by fee-based activities and balanced across oil, gas, natural gas liquids, and refined products. With a self-funded business model, conservative payout ratio, and reinforced BBB- credit rating following its 50% distribution cut during the pandemic, Energy Transfer should be a more reliable pipeline MLP for income going forward.

  • Plains All American Pipeline (PAA) owns pipelines, terminals, storage facilities, and gathering assets across all major U.S. oil basins, with a focus on the Permian. The firm's integrated infrastructure provides multiple touch points to gain business with energy producers. While Plains' long-haul pipelines enjoy minimum volume commitments, the MLP has a sizable oil gathering business that is sensitive to changes in production levels. Overall, the firm's large size, self-funded capital program, BBB- credit rating, and conservative payout ratio should support its distribution, which has been cut three times since 2016 to reach a more sustainable level.

  • Holly Energy Partners (HEP) owns petroleum and crude pipelines, storage tanks, and terminals that support parent HF Sinclair's refining assets. With nearly 100% fee-based revenue and around 75% of sales supported by minimum volume commitments, HEP generates stable cash flow. However, the BB+ rated MLP cut its distribution by 48% at the onset of the pandemic, marking HEP's only payout reduction since its 2004 formation. This enabled HEP to self-fund its business model, have a more sustainable payout ratio, and reduce debt. HEP remains dependent on HF Sinclair and has a concentrated operating footprint but otherwise has mostly attractive qualities. 

  • MPLX (MPLX) was formed in 2012 by Marathon Petroleum, the largest crude oil refiner in America. MPLX derives around half of its revenue from oil and refined products pipelines serving Marathon, with most of the remainder from gas gathering and processing. Long-term, fee-based contracts that typically include minimum volume commitments provide steady cash flow from its business with Marathon, though the gas side has some volumetric risk tied to drilling activity. Marathon owns over 60% of the MLP's units and has previously explored strategic alternatives for MPLX. This uncertainty could lead investors to consider other MLPs, despite MPLX's BBB credit rating and streak of uninterrupted distributions since 2013.

  • Delek Logistics Partners (DKL) has raised its distribution every quarter since going public in 2012. This partially reflects minimum volume commitments that back around 60% of the B+ rated firm's profits and are tied to the essential pipelines, tanks, and terminals DKL provides for its sponsor's refining operations. However, sponsor Derek Holdings accounts for around 60% of the MLP's revenue, owns over 75% of its units, and concentrates DKL's operations in a single basin. This dependence, plus DKL's higher volumetric risk, make the firm less attractive compared to other pipeline MLPs.

  • NuStar Energy (NS) owns crude and refined products pipelines throughout the Midwest and Texas. This infrastructure transports oil to refineries and moves gasoline and other fuels from refineries to terminals and other connecting pipelines. Only around one-third of the business is protected by take-or-pay contracts, but demand for refined products has remained steady over time, reducing some of the risk that throughput drops across NuStar's systems. NuStar has axed its payout twice since initiating distributions in 2001. This has helped improve its BB- rated balance sheet and achieve self-funded growth, but investors may prefer owning larger, financially stronger MLPs with less volumetric risk.

  • Genesis Energy (GEL) has cut its distribution twice since the B rated provider of offshore oil pipeline transportation services (half of profits) and producer of soda ash (one-third of profits) was formed in 1996. Unlike most of its peers, Genesis' contracts with oil producers have little volume protection, making the MLP's cash flow more sensitive to changes in drilling activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Producing soda ash, which is used in glass manufacturing and many other applications, provides some diversification but can also be cyclical. These factors combine with Genesis' high leverage to make the MLP a more speculative investment.

List of Other Midstream MLPs

The following midstream MLPs are involved in the energy sector but have operations outside of more traditional areas such as gathering and processing and pipeline transportation.

  • Cheniere Energy Partners (CQP) produces liquefied natural gas (LNG) that gets shipped worldwide and used as an energy source. The large-cap MLP has paid uninterrupted distributions since inception in 2007, reflecting the stable cash flow it generates. Long-term, fixed fee contracts with take-or-pay provisions back most of the firm's assets, helping CQP manage periods of unfavorable weather or low commodity prices. Coupled with a base of investment-grade customers and growing demand for LNG as a cleaner energy source than coal and oil, BB+ rated CQP seems like a decent bet to maintain its distribution.

  • USD Partners (USDP) owns a network of terminals involved with oil storage, blending, and railcar loading and unloading. This infrastructure is connected with third-party pipelines and other logistics assets to help energy producers move their heavy crude oil from Western Canada to demand centers across North America. While nearly all of the micro-cap MLP's cash flows are supported by multi-year, take-or-pay contracts with investment-grade customers, USD Partners slashed its distribution by 70% during the 2020 pandemic and suspended its payout in 2023 as management wanted to protect the balance sheet. Conservative investors may prefer to stick with larger, more diversified MLPs.

  • Martin Midstream Partners (MMLP) has reduced its distribution to next to nothing since 2015, reflecting historical challenges managing a bloated balance sheet and unsustainable payout ratio in the face of volatile commodity prices. The micro-cap MLP's diversified cash flow spans terminalling and storage services for petroleum products, sulfur storage, tank truck transportation for the refining and chemical industries, and natural gas liquids storage and transportation. But with little volume protection, small scale, and a poor operational track record, the MLP should be avoided by most investors.

List of Non-Oil and Gas Commodity MLPs 

The following MLPs are involved with the production of non-oil and gas commodities. These tend to be more volatile businesses with high sensitivity to the underlying prices of the commodities they sell, making for less reliable distributions.

  • Westlake Chemical Partners (WLKP) generates virtually all of its revenue from Westlake Chemical (WLK) under an ethylene supply deal with an initial term running through 2026. WLKP's cash flow should remain secure over this period as the MLP's contract allows it to pass through most of its costs and requires WLK to purchase WLKP's planned production each year. However, investors considering the stock need to be comfortable with WLKP's concentrated operations and the amount of influence WLK has over WLKP, including a 40% limited partner interest and ownership of incentive distribution rights.

  • Alliance Resource Partners (ARLP) is a mid-sized coal producer that began mining operations in 1971. Most of its coal is sold to U.S. utilities and industrial utilities. The shift to cleaner energy will hurt coal sooner than oil and gas. Coupled with Alliance's B+ credit rating, high cash flow sensitivity to the volatile price of coal, and history of distribution cuts, investors should look elsewhere for safe income and long-term stability.

  • Sisecam Resources (SIRE) was formed in 2013 and owns a 51% stake in Sisecam Wyoming, one of the world's largest and lowest cost producers of soda ash. This small-cap business is volatile. Management suspended the distribution during the pandemic as demand for soda ash, a raw material used in glass, detergents, chemicals, and other applications, plunged. Sisecam, then known as Ciner Resources, was losing money and faced rising leverage. This MLP seems like a less reliable source of income due to its cyclical profits.

  • CVR Partners (UAN) was formed in 2011 by CVR Energy to own its nitrogen fertilizer business. The small-cap MLP produces fertilizer products at two manufacturing facilities located in Kansas and Illinois, with their products used by farmers to improve the yield and quality of their corn and wheat crops. Fertilizer prices are highly volatile and driven by weather conditions, crop prices, feedstock costs, changes in global supply, and other factors outside of UAN's control. With a B+ credit rating and variable distribution policy that pays out all available cash generated each quarter, UAN does not offer predictability for income investors.

  • Calumet Specialty Products Partners (CLMT) manufactures over 3,000 petroleum-based products such as base oils and solvents used in a variety of commercial, industrial, and consumer applications. The small-cap MLP has a shaky financial profile, with a B- credit rating and a distribution that has remained suspended since 2016 when management wisely decided to direct more cash flow towards debt reduction. With the distribution unlikely to be restored for the foreseeable future, Calumet has little appeal for MLP income investors.

List of Fuel Distribution MLPs

Gas stations across the company depend on a constant source of motor fuel to run their businesses. Most fuel distribution MLPs fulfill this essential need by distributing gasoline on a wholesale basis to gas stations.

That said, certain factors can make this business more volatile than it sounds. And continued adoption of electric vehicles makes the long-term outlook a bit fuzzy for the industry.

  • CrossAmerica Partners (CAPL) purchases motor fuel from Exxon Mobil, BP, Shell, and other producers and distributes the fuel on a wholesale basis to gas stations. The small-cap firm also derives income from leasing convenience stores to tenants and operating some of its own retail locations. CrossAmerica has exclusive distribution contracts with many customers, but the business has minimal volume protection. Fortunately, demand for fuel is generally stable. And if volumes decline due to a slump in the economy, the MLP's margins can expand since part of its business has variable fuel margins which rise when the price of oil falls faster than retail fuel prices adjust. With a reasonable payout ratio and solid cash flow, CrossAmerica has a decent shot of maintaining its distribution.

  • Sunoco (SUN) is the largest independent distributor of motor fuels with a distribution network reaching around 40 states. The mid-cap MLP has paid uninterrupted distributions since going public in 2012, reflecting the mostly stable cash flow it generates. This profile is aided by a long-term, take-or-pay contract with 7-Eleven, which accounts for roughly 30% of Sunoco's annual gallons distributed. The main risks are the MLP's BB credit rating, though deleveraging is expected, and the Energy Transfer-owned general partner, which owns incentive distribution rights that may eventually need to be bought out.

  • Global Partners (GLP) is one of the Northeast's largest owners of gas stations, operators of terminal networks of petroleum products, and wholesale distributors of fuel products. This integrated model provides nice cash flow diversification, but the firm's B+ credit rating and oil-price sensitive logistics assets have forced two distribution cuts since the MLP's IPO in 2005, with both reductions occurring after the price of oil plunged (2016 and 2020). Global Partners is a business with staying power, but income investors should understand that the small-cap firm's cash flow can be more adversely impacted by low oil prices than other fuel distribution MLPs, which often see an overall margin benefit.

  • Suburban Propane Partners (SPH) distributes propane, a gas used primarily for home heating, water heating, and cooking purposes. This business can experience volatility due to changes in weather (colder temperatures are better) and economic activity. Each of these risk factors, coupled with SPH's high debt load and BB- credit rating, drove one of the MLP's two distribution cuts since the small-cap firm began making payouts in 2017. Conservative income investors may prefer owning an MLP stock with lower leverage and more stable cash flow.

List of Royalty MLPs

Rather than own infrastructure or operate a business, royalty MLPs own interests in mineral-rich land and receive payments as commodity producers extract resources from their properties. 

This is a high-margin, generally debt-free business model but one that also has high sensitivity to underlying commodity prices, which directly impact a royalty MLP's cash flow and influence the future level of activity in the basins where they own mineral interests.

Royalty MLPs are best for income investors seeking commodity price-linked distributions and can tolerate the inherent distribution volatility that accompanies such a strategy.

  • Dorchester Minerals (DMLP) started in 2003 and owns royalty interests tied primarily to oil and liquids sales, with natural gas accounting for a relatively small piece of the business. The small-cap, debt-free firm has a variable distribution policy in which it pays out all cash available to the partnership each quarter. Falling oil prices and production activity can result in steep distribution drawdowns, with the payout historically recovering in full whenever the energy market rebounds. For investors comfortable with this volatility, Dorchester's diversified geographic footprint, which spans nearly every major U.S. basin, and solid track record of replacing reserves may be appealing.

  • Black Stone Minerals (BSM) is one of the largest oil and gas mineral and royalty owners in America with interests in over 20 million acres focused in the Permian, Haynesville, and Bakken basins. With a tilt towards natural gas located along the Gulf Coast, Black Stone should benefit from increased liquefied natural gas (LNG) exports. However, the mid-sized MLP's cash flow is driven by prices realized from the sale of natural gas and oil. This led management to slash the distribution by more than 50% during the 2020 pandemic when energy prices and drilling activity plunged. Investors should expect similar payout volatility during periods of depressed oil and gas prices.

  • Natural Resource Partners (NRP) generates most of its cash flow from royalty payments tied to coal production across its 13 million acres of mineral interests. Demand for coal faces secular decline as the world shifts to cleaner energy, clouding the long-term outlook for NRP. Until then, the small-cap MLP's cash flow and distribution will remain highly sensitive to swings in the price of coal since the firm receives a cut of gross revenue received by the producers it works with. This results in less secure income over a full cycle, though NRP at least runs its business with much less debt now compared to a decade ago. 

List of Investment Company MLPs

With funds invested in many different types of securities, investment company MLPs are sensitive to the performance of financial markets. These stocks can be more volatile investments as a result but have generally delivered solid long-term total returns over time while providing high yields.

  • Icahn Enterprises (IEP) formed in 1987 and is run by billionaire investor Carl Icahn, who owns the vast majority of IEP's units. The holding company's portfolio is concentrated in the energy and automotive sectors but has flexibility to shift anywhere. IEP targets undervalued firms and becomes actively involved with influencing their management decisions in an effort to close their perceived valuation gaps. While volatile, IEP has historically outperformed the S&P 500 over time, giving income investors a unique combination of high distributions and competitive long-term total returns.

  • AllianceBernstein (AB) earns fees mostly from providing equity and fixed income investment management services to institutional investors globally. Most of the A rated firm's strategies have solid long-term investment track records, but fees earned fluctuate as assets under management move in tandem with financial markets. AllianceBernstein has responded to this volatility with a variable payout policy in which it distributes 100% of earnings each quarter. Income investors considering AB must be comfortable with unpredictable swings in the publicly traded partnership's distribution any given period.

  • Brookfield Business Partners (BBU) was spun off in 2016 from Brookfield Asset Management, which acts as the MLP's general manager and has a roughly 65% ownership interest. BBU operates like a private equity firm, taking majority investment stakes in companies across various industries with a focus on the business services, construction, energy, and industrials sectors. While this appears to be a well-managed business with a unique strategy, BBU's low single-digit yield won't appeal to many income investors.

  • America First Multifamily Investors (ATAX) was formed in 1998 to own a portfolio of mortgage revenue bonds (MRBs) primarily issued by governments to fund the construction or acquisition and rehab of multifamily rental properties. MRBs generally have long contractual terms and fixed interest rates, and they are backed by the owner of the secured property rather than the government. ATAX uses leverage to boost the size of its portfolio, which increases risk and contributed to the firm's 52% distribution cut during the 2020 pandemic. Overall, ATAX has some similarities to mortgage REITs, a complex and interest rate-sensitive space that we prefer to avoid.

  • Steel Partners Holdings (SPLP) is a small-cap holding company conglomerate with operations spanning industrial products, energy, defense, supply chain logistics, banking, and youth sports. While the partnership pays distributions on its preferred units, distributions have yet to be declared on its common units.

List of Other Business MLPs

These misfit partnerships run businesses in a variety of niches, providing investors with the ability to gain exposure to specific themes outside of the traditional energy sector which drives most MLP stocks.

  • Brookfield Infrastructure Partners (BIP) was spun off in 2008 from Brookfield Asset Management, which acts as the MLP's general manager and has a roughly 30% ownership interest. BIP owns a portfolio of more than 30 infrastructure assets, such as power transmission lines, railroads, ports, pipelines, toll roads, and data centers. The vast majority of BIP's annuity-like cash flows are either regulated or derived from long-term contracts. Coupled with a healthy payout ratio and BBB+ credit rating, BIP is positioned to support its distribution and continue delivering mid-single-digit annual income growth.

  • Brookfield Renewable Partners (BEP) was established in 2011 by Brookfield Asset Management, which acts as the MLP's general manager and has a roughly 48% ownership interest. BEP owns a diversified portfolio of hydro, wind, solar, and storage assets located around the world. These power generation assets are generally backed by long-term contracts with creditworthy customers, providing steady cash flow. Decarbonization should provide plenty of long-term growth opportunities for BBB+ rate BEP, helping management deliver on their goal to continue raising the partnership's distribution by 5% to 9% annually.

  • New England Realty Associates (NEN) is a micro-cap MLP that looks more like a REIT with ownership of a couple dozen apartment complexes in the metropolitan Boston area of Massachusetts. The firm has paid uninterrupted distributions since 1988, reflecting its steady cash flow, but the MLP's low single-digit dividend yield and small size are unlikely to interest traditional MLP investors seeking high income.

  • Cedar Fair (FUN) began in 1987 and operates around a dozen amusement and water parks across America. This cyclical, capital-intensive business struggles during recessions, when consumers reduce spending on discretionary purchases. Cedar Fair slashed its distribution during 2008-09 financial crisis, and the B+ rated firm suspended its payout for more than two years during pandemic. Management reinstated the distribution in September 2022 at a modest level, reflecting the firm's need to continue restoring its balance sheet. The stock provides too much excitement for conservative income investors over a full cycle.

Closing Thoughts on the List of MLP Stocks

Our MLP list contains a wide variety of businesses, spanning everything from oil pipelines to fuel distributors, theme parks, and investment managers.

With varying degrees of cash flow cyclicality, financial leverage, distribution coverage, scale, and management structures, MLPs should be studied closely to determine their suitability for an income portfolio.

Pipeline MLPs can pay some of the safest distributions, but opportunities for high yields with moderate risk exist with select partnerships in other industries, too.

For more on MLP stocks, you might be interested in the following articles we've published:

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