Does HP Dividend Leave Room for Buybacks?

Both HP Inc. (NYSE: HPQ) and Hewlett Packard Enterprise Co. (NYSE: HPE) declared dividends Thursday morning, the first since the former Hewlett-Packard split into two parts earlier this month.

The board of Hewlett Packard Enterprise authorized a cash dividend for the first quarter of the 2016 fiscal year of 5.5 cents per share. The board of HP authorized a common stock dividend of 12.4 cents. That implies a dividend yield of 1.6% for Hewlett Packard Enterprise and 3.6% for HP, as of Wednesday’s close. Both dividends are payable Jan. 6, 2016, to shareholders of record on Dec. 9.

Wells Fargo’s Maynard Um, has already weighed in and sees plenty of room for share buybacks given what the two companies have outlined for capital returns. He said:

If HPQ returns 75% of its free cash flow (FCF) to investors in F16 (HPQ committed 50-75% with FCF guidance of $2.5-$2.8B), this would imply a share repurchase of roughly $1.1B (79MM shares), all else equal, or $432MM at 50% (31MM shares). If HPE returns 50% of its free cash flow to investors in F16 (HPE committed at least 50% with FCF guidance of $2.0-$2.2B), this would imply a share repurchase of roughly $644MM (roughly 46MM shares), all else equal, though given where shares are currently, we believe a higher share repurchase could be warranted.

Wells Fargo has Outperform ratings on both companies.

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Before the dividend announcement, Barclays analyst Mark Moskowitz indicated that, of the two companies, he likes the printer business for its cash flow and prospective yields. There is no question that selling ink and toner is a high-margin business, yet it is declining (slowly), as are sales of PCs (not so slowly). But HP’s secret is its cash flow and the prospect of how much of that cash will be returned to investors. Moskowitz rates HP as Equal Weight and Hewlett Packard Enterprise as Underweight.

On the other hand, UBS analyst Steven Milunovich rated Hewlett Packard Enterprise a Buy and HP at Hold. Again, the low valuation was the most attractive feature. Hewlett Packard Enterprise, however, is playing in a sector that is expanding and, providing the new company can come up with a way to differentiate itself from IBM, Microsoft and Amazon Web Services, the new company has a good chance to be successful, as so do its investors.

HP shares were down about 2% at $13.63 in early trading Thursday. That is within a 52-week range of $11.04 to $18.66. The stock has a consensus analyst price target of $15.42.

Shares of Hewlett Packard Enterprise also traded down about 2%, at $13.81 in a post-split range of $13.12 to $18.50. The consensus target is $17.28.

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