DEFINITION of 'Royalty Units'

An ownership unit in a royalty trust. A royalty unit gives the unit holder a stake in the income generated by the holdings of the trust. A royalty trust takes ownership stakes in operating companies or in their cash flows. The royalty trust owns the income or cash flow that the company generates and passes this income on to the royalty unit holders of that trust. Royalty units are seen as an attractive investment because the income generated by the assets is subject to taxes at the individual level, rather than the double taxation which is seen with dividends on common stock.

BREAKING DOWN 'Royalty Units'

For example, let's say that an investor holds a royalty unit in ABC Oil & Gas Royalty Trust, which owns several oil-producing operations. The investor in the royalty trust will receive income distributions as the underlying oil-producing operations generate income for the trust. If the trust's assets generate $1 million dollars and there are 100,000 royalty units, each unit will receive $10.

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