What you say is true. But remember - during the time that the 3/4 cent raises were a bigger piece of each unit's pie, they were also doing regular secondary offerings to fund growth. The recent strategy appears to be fund growth with higher DCF retention, filling the gaps with debt (easily retired) instead of equity (more risky to retire). Not necessarily a bad tradeoff as it seems to me like a more sustainable method to grow.
I was just looking at some of EPDs #s for last Q... DCF was 1.6 xs the distribution... that means they are holding on to 37.5% of distributable cash
They have retained close to $500 million in DCF for the 6 months of 2011 so far..
Yet to increase the distribution by another $.0025 to 1 full cent that would result in just $2 million more being distributed to unit holders
EPD is being rather cheap with us limited partners... they may be forgetting that it is our money..... and I don't see how retaining that kind of cash is in anyone's interests
One could easily argue that if the distribution was growing at a faster clip... share price would be higher... which would mean less dilution when they do the next secondary to finance expansion
There is really no excuse for them to keep pumping it by just $.0075... the time has come to grow the increases by at least $.01... (mathematically DCF would still be at 1.6 Xs DCF)
And while I'm not gonna do the math there is no reason that DCF shouldn't be distributed at a rate that would bring it down to 1.25 Xs DCF which would probably pump the share price by 25-30% to keep the distribution yield rate at 5.7% or so