It helps to look at projected returns over the long term. I'm not sure I care about how fast they ramp the distribution as long as they have high return internal projects, you get it now or later. I as well have owned EPD for over a decade. In '14, they could be paying $3+, at a 4% yield, that's $75, 50% appreciation and a 5+% yield. If the market did as well, it would be well over 20,000. Looks like a good investment to me, and it is probably going to do better than the most of the other large diversified MLPs. And with a zero tax basis, I don't have much incentive to trade out of it even if it underperforms some of the other companies. I do think ETE/ETP could surprise in a few years with the new assets.
The smaller companies could do better than EPD. MWE could be distributing $4.25 in '14, at 4% that's $105 vs $55 today. The one I think could continue to outperform is ATLS/APL. APL could pay $3.30 in '14, at 5% yield is $66, current price is $33. ATLS could be $75 in '14, $35 now. Also think ETE could be in the $70s by '14. EPD is a good investment but there appear to be others that might perform better. I did buy ATLS in the low single digits, and at $35, it still looks like a great investment. But there were a bunch of great buys in the '09 downdraft.
Another large cap, a C corp, that could provide good returns is WMB, they have already said that they will pay a $1.75 dividend by '14. At a 3% div yield, the stock would be $58, $32 now. And you don't have to mess with the K1s.
One other, CHKM, they have been battered with CHK's troubles, selling at $24, could be paying over $2 in '14, low $40s price. CPNO just sold off and could double in three years if they get their act together.
You'll get several answers, I'm sure, but here's my take on it.
If you don't tell your broker which shares to sell, then you'll take your cue from the sales schedule which will come with next year's K-1. That's just the beginning however, and you'll have to deal with the issue of partial sales. You won't be able to use any of the deferred expenses you've been accumulating because you can use them only on a complete sale. You can still carry them forward.
I agree except for being the eternal pessimist and historian I think at some point when interest rates move upward a couple % that we will get unit price pressure.
The other thing that has not been discussed about EPD was that in the last two years the bought out their GP in a deal that was about 5% dilutive and hurt them significantly in 2010 and the DEP last year in a similar deal done to facilitate financing when things were tight, but a deal that was dilutive in the short term.
Today EPD has literally billions in cpaital out the at about a 6X EBITDA in construction. A bit of pain today but bigger gains down the road. No having a GP suggests to me that EPD and the others that are LLC, C corps or have no GP will prosper with the lower cost of capital.