Income-seeking investors naturally gravitate towards dividend-paying stocks .
When comparing businesses that pay out dividends, you should be looking at the dividend yield rather than the absolute level of dividends paid.
The dividend yield is obtained by dividing the dividend per share by the current share price.
A higher dividend yield is always sought after by investors as it provides a better return on one’s investment as compared to the dismal interest rates that banks are paying.
However, there are two main aspects that you should look out for when it comes to companies that pay dividends.
First off, is the company increasing or decreasing its overall dividends?
Dividend champions are examples of companies that have consistently increased their dividends over time. The second aspect is the sustainability of the dividend.
As business and economic conditions change, could these factors impact the ability of the business to continue paying out the same level of dividends? We profile two stocks that sport double-digit dividend yields to assess if these yields are sustainable.
Hutchison Port Holdings Trust
Hutchison Port Holdings Trust, or HPH Trust, is a business trust that owns deep-water container terminals in the Pearl River Delta of South China.
In Hong Kong, HPH Trust operates three terminals — Hong Kong International Terminals, Cosco-HIT Terminals and Asia Container Terminals, while in China, the Trust operates Yantian International Container Terminals and Huizhou International Container Terminals.
These ports have a total of 38 berths and handled a total throughput of 23.3 million twenty-foot equivalent units (TEUs) in 2019.
HPH Trust’s shares have fallen by 41.2 per cent year to date and are currently trading at an all-time low.
In 2019, the Trust declared a total distribution per unit (DPU) of HK$0.11 (S$0.020), which translates to a DPU of around US$0.0142 (S$0.020).
At the last traded share price of US$0.10, the trailing dividend yield stood at 14.2 per cent.
However, 2019’s throughput for HPH Trust’s ports was 3 per cent lower than 2018’s level, with the overall trend in outbound cargo to the US being weak due to the imposition of trade tariffs.
Global trade uncertainties, coupled with the severe adverse impact of Covid-19, will continue to weigh on the Trust’s performance moving into 2020.
Investors should note that the DPU was already slashed by 35 per cent year on year from HK$0.17 to HK$0.11.
Back in 2014, DPU was as high as HK$0.41 but has steadily declined every year since to the current HK$0.11.
With the pandemic still raging on, it is highly likely that the Trust will experience severe financial stress, forcing it to slash its DPU once again this year.
Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust
Lippo Malls Indonesia Retail Trust, or LMIRT, is a REIT that invests in a portfolio of retail properties in Indonesia.
LMIRT’s portfolio consists of 23 retail malls and seven retail spaces with a total net lettable area of around 914,000 square metres.
Year to date, shares of the REIT have fallen by 39 per cent.
Due to the Covid-19 situation, all of LMIRT’s retail malls were closed in April as part of measures implemented by the Indonesian government.
As a result, the REIT announced the retention of the bulk of its first-quarter 2020 distributable income for expected expenses relating to the coronavirus.
DPU for the quarter plunged by 78.2 per cent year on year to $0.0012 from $0.0055.
The trailing 12-month DPU was $0.018, translating to a dividend yield of 13.8 per cent at the last traded price of $0.13.
Although the initial closure was supposed to last till mid-April, this was extended till mid-June due to the evolving nature of the pandemic.
On June 15, the REIT announced that 21 of its retail malls and six retail spaces have resumed operations with social distancing measures in place.
The remaining two retail malls are scheduled to open on July 3, while one retail space was slated to reopen on June 16.
Although there have been no further updates from the REIT manager, we can safely assume that the re-openings have been carried out as announced and that some rental income can start flowing to the REIT during the current quarter (i.e. 3Q 2020).
Investors should expect the second-quarter results to look even worse than the first quarter’s, due to the almost complete closure of all of the REIT’s properties.
However, it seems like the worst may have passed, and the shares could present an opportunity for investors to enjoy a double-digit dividend yield.
This article was first published in The Smart Invester. Disclaimer: Royston Yang does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.