Dubai: Dewa's dividends will be consistent on strong cash flows

The utility company expects to pay a minimum annual dividend of Dh6.2 billion over the next five years



by

Muzaffar Rizvi

Published: Wed 30 Mar 2022, 7:53 PM

Last updated: Wed 30 Mar 2022, 10:39 PM

Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (Dewa) has a solid balance sheet and ability to generate strong cash flows from its operations to ensure dividends for next five years, experts say.

Andrew Tarbuck, partner, head of Capital Markets at Al Tamimi & Company, said Dewa’s dividend plans for next five years are an attractive aspect to its IPO and there is every optimism that dividend flow will be consistent year on year but, as always, this will depend on the distributable profits at each year end.

Dewa expects to pay a minimum annual dividend of Dh6.2 billion ($1.69 billion) over the next five years, starting in October 2022. Earlier this month, the power utility said dividends would be shared with the shareholders twice a year in April and October.

“The group had a net income of Dh6.6 billion ($1.8 billion) in 2021 with a net income margin of 27.5 per cent, which is stellar for a utility company,” according to an analyst.

“Dewa is the sole provider of electricity, water and the leading provider of district cooling in Dubai, with strong top-line revenues of Dh23.8 billion last year, reflecting a CAGR (2019-2021) of two per cent,” he said.

Dividend policy to benefit shareholders

Sajeer Babu, portfolio manager at Entrust Capital, said Dewa has a solid balance sheet and the ability to generate strong cash flows from its operations, and its dividend policy is designed after taking those factors into consideration, including its future earning potential of the company.

“The IPO price range implies a dividend yield of five per cent to 5.5 per cent based on the previously announced dividend policy of Dewa which, in our opinion, is very attractive to investors given that most of the listed securities on DFM, including banks and other blue-chip companies today offer a dividend yield much lower than that,” Babu told Khaleej Times.

“The company offers dividend income for investor for the next five years through its announced dividend policy which makes the IPO very attractive for investors those who are looking for steady and stable income from their investments,” he said.

Another analyst said guaranteed dividends are unlikely to impact the balance sheet since Dewa has strong pricing power, which gives it category-leading profit margins.

“The pricing power comes from the fact that it is a monopoly in Dubai, and it enjoys vast economies of scale. The median net profit margin for major American companies is 14 per cent, whereas for Dewa, it is 27.5 per cent. This number means Dewa will continue to have a rock-solid balance sheet,” he said.

Dewa ratings affirmed

Moody’s Investors Service affirmed Dewa ratings following the company’s IPO announcement on March 24 and said the outlook on all ratings remains stable.

The rating agency affirmed Dewa’s Baa2 long-term issuer ratings and baa2 Baseline Credit Assessment and said the listing will improve Dewa's disclosures and oversight and could lead to a more stable financial policy over time if the company adopts clear financial targets or commits to a given rating level.

“As a listed company, Dewa will also have readier access to the equity capital markets, should it require additional funding,” the rating agency said.

Moody's expects Dewa's financial profile to weaken, albeit from a strong base, following the IPO under Dewa's new dividend policy.

ALSO READ:

Dewa has committed to pay dividends of at least Dh6.2 billion per annum for the next five years, more than three times the average (Dh2 billion) amount distributed during the past five years, which is on top of an extraordinary dividend distribution of Dh10 billion in January 2022, that was fully funded through the issuance of an Dh10 billion five-year term loan,” Moody’s said.

“These distributions, coupled with Dewa's executing its material investment programme, will increase Dewa's leverage. We expect (cash flow from operations pre-working capital – dividends) debt to hover around the 10 per cent to 15 per cent range, in the next two to three years,” the rating agency said.

— muzaffarrizvi@khaleejtimes.com


More news from Markets