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What does Enbridge Energy Partners LP’s (EEP) Balance Sheet Tell Us Abouts Its Future?

Liliana Gabriel

Mid-caps stocks, like Enbridge Energy Partners LP (NYSE:EEP) with a market capitalization of USD $5.54B, aren’t the focus of most investors who prefer to direct their investments towards either large-cap or small-cap stocks. However, generally ignored mid-caps have historically delivered better risk adjusted returns than both of those groups, primarily due to seasoned executives running a lean corporate structure. I’ve put together a small checklist, which I believe provides a ballpark estimate of their financial health status. Check out our latest analysis for Enbridge Energy Partners

Does EEP face the risk of succumbing to its debt-load?

NYSE:EEP Historical Debt Nov 28th 17

A substantially higher debt poses a significant threat to a company’s profitability during a downturn. In the case of EEP, the debt-to-equity ratio is over 100%, which indicates that the company is holding a high level of debt relative to its net worth. In the event of financial turmoil, the company may experience difficulty meeting interest and other debt obligations. We can test if EEP’s debt levels are sustainable by measuring interest payments against earnings of a company. Ideally, earnings should cover interest by at least three times, therefore reducing concerns when profit is highly volatile. EEP’s profits only covers interest 2.08 times, which is deemed as inadequate. Debtors may be less inclined to loan the company more money, giving EEP less headroom for growth through debt.

Can EEP meet its short-term obligations with the cash in hand?

NYSE:EEP Net Worth Nov 28th 17

A different measure of financial health is measured by its short-term obligations, which is known as liquidity. These include payments to suppliers, employees and other stakeholders. If an adverse event occurs, the company may be forced to pay these immediate expenses with its liquid assets. In order to measure liquidity, we must compare EEP’s current assets with its upcoming liabilities. Our analysis shows that EEP does not have enough liquid assets on hand to meet its upcoming liabilities. Though this is a common practice, since cash is better utilized invested in the business or returned to shareholders, it does raise some concerns for investors should adverse events arise.

Next Steps:

Are you a shareholder? With a high level of debt on its balance sheet, EEP could still be in a financially strong position if its cash flow also stacked up. However, this isn’t the case so investors should ask themselves if they believe EEP can sustainably increase its operational efficiency going forward. Since EEP’s capital structure could change, You should continue exploring market expectations for EEP’s future growth on our free analysis platform.

Are you a potential investor? Although investors should analyse the serviceability of debt, it shouldn’t be viewed in isolation of other factors. Ultimately, debt is often used to fund or accelerate new projects that are expected to improve a company’s growth trajectory in the longer term. EEP’s Return on Capital Employed (ROCE) in order to see management’s track record at deploying funds in high-returning projects.

To help readers see pass the short term volatility of the financial market, we aim to bring you a long-term focused research analysis purely driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis does not factor in the latest price sensitive company announcements.

The author is an independent contributor and at the time of publication had no position in the stocks mentioned.