Related Definitions

Master Limited Partnership

What is master limited partnership?

A master limited partnership (MLP) is a type of publicly traded corporate venture that combines the characteristics of a firm with those of a partnership and exists as a publicly traded limited partnership. Such businesses are not subject to corporate income tax. It combines the tax advantages of a private partnership with the liquidity of a publicly traded corporation.

A master limited partnership can also trade on national exchanges. Because MLPs are mandated to release all available cash to investors, they maximise cash flow benefits. They may also assist in the reduction of capital costs in capital-intensive industries like the energy sector.

The MLP is a distinctive hybrid legal entity that combines two business structures: a corporation and a partnership. It is first treated as a collection of its partners rather than a separate legal organisation. Second, it is technically devoid of personnel. The general partners will offer all necessary business services and usually hold a 2% share in the venture and can boost their ownership.

An MLP, like a partnership, issues units rather than stocks. These units are, nonetheless, regularly traded on national stock exchanges. Traditional partnerships will not be able to supply this level of liquidity due to the lack of liquidity offered by exchanges. As these publicly traded units are not stock shares, investors in MLPs are commonly referred to as unitholders instead of shareholders. Limited partners are individuals who invest in a master limited partnership. The deductions, revenue, credits, and losses of the MLP have been allocated to these unitholders.

MLPs have more money to give to investors since they are not compelled to pay corporate taxes. MLPs must earn at least 90% of their revenue from eligible operations, such as those related to products, natural resources, or real estate, to qualify for these tax incentives.

The MLP model is typically used by firms that operate in stable, slow-growing industrial sectors. As a result, MLP cash pay-outs are more likely to remain relatively consistent over time. Furthermore, unlike firms that issue stock, MLPs do not keep profits for economic growth. Instead, when they become available, they distribute them to the investors.

A solid balance sheet is another essential aspect to consider when making an MLP investment. An investor could make an informed decision about investing in MLPs if the balance sheet has an investment-grade credit rating. Unfortunately, for a straightforward assessment by the investor, the credit score of an MLP investment is often assessed as any standard or bad.

Most MLPs presently operate in the energy sector. Therefore, an energy master limited partnership will usually offer and handle resources for the other current energy-based firms. Pipeline transport, refinery services, distribution, and logistics support services for oil corporations are examples.


MLPs have two types of partners:

  1. Limited partners - Silent partners are another term for limited partners. They are investors who buy MLP stock and contribute capital to the entity's operations. They've been getting distributions regularly from the MLP, usually every quarter.
  2. General partners - The owners in charge of the MLP's day-to-day activities are general partners. They were paid a salary based on the partnership's financial performance.

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  • It combines the tax advantages of a private partnership with the liquidity of a publicly traded corporation.
  • MLPs have more money to give to investors since they are not compelled to pay corporate taxes.
  • MLPs are low risk because of their moderate and steady expansion.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What are the characteristics of a master limited partnership?

  • A master limited partnership is not treated as a separate legal body like a firm but as a collection of present partners.
  • In every such corporate enterprise, there are two kinds of partners: limited partners and general partners.
  • The general partners have overseen the firm's day-to-day activities. Limited partners, often referred to as unitholders, are individuals who have invested in business operations.
  • Limited partners get cash distributions that are considered capital returns. General partners are compensated based on the firm's overall business performance.

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What benefits do master limited partnership offer? 

MLPs are renowned for their slow investment opportunities. MLPs are frequently in slow-growing industrial sectors, like pipeline building, which explains the low profits. However, MLPs are low risk because of their moderate and steady expansion. In addition, long-term service contracts offer them a steady source of revenue. As a result, MLPs generate consistent cash distributions and reliable cash flows.

MLP cash pay-outs often grow at a slightly quicker rate than inflation. Typically, 80%-90% of distributions are tax-deferred for limited partners. As a result, MLPs could offer appealing income yields that are much greater than the average dividend yield of stocks. Furthermore, as a flow-through company, more capital is available for future developments. The availability of finance aids the MLP firm's capacity to compete in its industry.

MLPs could be beneficial in estate planning. When unitholders give or otherwise transfer MLP units to beneficiaries, neither the unitholders nor the beneficiaries pay taxes during the transfer period. During the transfer period, the cost basis will be adjusted based on the market price. If a unitholder expires and the investment transfers to heirs, the fair market value of the investment is determined as of the date of death. Earlier distributions are also exempted from paying taxes.

What are some of the drawbacks of master limited partnership?

  • Master limited partnerships have a poor return on investment since they are in a slow-growing industry, like exploration.
  • The investors will be given the corporate tax liability that might hurt their return.
  • If the limited partners possess units in many states where the partnership does business, the entire tax filing process could become complex.
  • Because institutional investors bear tax charges when making investments in units, master limited partnerships have a small pool of investors.

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