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Investing in Starhub at the right price?

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

My investment in Starhub has turned out to be a bad one.

However, I am not losing sleep over this.

Why? Is it because I am on anti-depressants?

Hey, don't be so like that lah.

I stop taking those pills a long time ago.

I am quite ZEN about the paper loss really because my investment in Starhub is very small especially in comparison to my investment in SingTel which has been, of course, my preferred local Telco to invest in for quite a while now.

To give you a rough idea, the market value of my investment in Starhub is less than 2% the market value of my investment in SingTel.

Although I have been adding to my investment in SingTel as its share price declined in recent months, I have not added to my investment in Starhub even as its share price plunged.

Why is this so?

SingTel has a stronger balance sheet, stronger free cash flow and it pays out a fraction of its earnings as dividends to shareholders.

Starhub, on the other hand, has seen its free cash flow declining in recent years and it pays out much more than its free cash flow as dividends to shareholders.

Although Starhub has cut DPS from 20c to 16c, I think, if the management is financially prudent or unless business improves dramatically however unlikely, DPS should be cut again.

I did the numbers some time back and again more recently. I now feel that a more sustainable DPS could be 10c, assuming things do not get much worse.

So, if we choose to invest in Starhub today for income, we should ask ourselves if a DPS of 10c would make us happy?

I received quite a few messages from readers regarding Starhub recently. Examples:

Assuming that Starhub pays all of its cash flow to shareholders as dividends, I feel that it behaves very much like S-REITs.

Hanging on to that idea, if we can get a dividend yield of 7% or more from Starhub which is probably comparable to what we can get from industrial S-REITs, it is not too bad a deal.

Assuming a lower 10c DPS, even at $1.70 a share, we are looking at a dividend yield of 5.88% which doesn't quite cut it for me even with this new perspective.

Investing in Starhub for income?

Closer to $1.40 a share could be a more reasonable price to pay, I feel.

At $1.40 a share and assuming a more sustainable DPS of 10c, dividend yield would be 7.14%.

What if $1.40 does not happen?

No problem because I would rather invest in SingTel at the current price than to invest in Starhub at the current price, everything taken into consideration.

Looking at the chart, the RSI shows that Starhub is very oversold but like the MACD, the momentum oscillator does not show any sign of a trend reversal.

Although Starhub's share price plunged 5% (- 9c) today to $1.67, we could see it going lower if Mr. Market shares my sentiments.

Things could get worse before they get better.

So, why have I not been adding to my investment in Starhub?

Alamak. I anyhow talk to myself only lah.

You blur? I also blur.

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