2 Protest-Proof Hong Kong Dividend Stocks

The anti-government protests in Hong Kong have lasted a lot longer than many had originally thought. Although the government has made some concessions, including withdrawing the extradition bill that initially sparked the protests in June, the social unrest has continued on for several months.

Due to the protests and the slowing Chinese economy, some analysts worry that Hong Kong might enter a recession relatively soon. For the second quarter, Hong Kong’s GDP rose only 0.5% year-on-year, the lowest expansion in almost 10 years.

The social unrest has added to uncertainty in the local stock market. Naturally, worries abound that stocks with Hong Kong exposure could see their profits, and share prices, fall. In times of uncertainty, safe-haven stocks that have a history of strong cash flows and attractive dividends might be worth investigating further.

With that in mind, here are two great dividend shares for investors that could be immune from the fallout of the ongoing protests in Hong Kong; Guangdong Investment Ltd (SEHK: 270) and HKT Trust and HKT Ltd (SEHK: 6823).

1. Guangdong Investment

Guangdong Investment Group invests in and operates essential utilities such as the Dongshen Water Supply Project, which supplies most of Hong Kong’s water. The company also invests in other essential utilities such as sewage treatment, water distribution, toll roads, power plants, and bridges across mainland China in addition to property and department stores.

For the first half of 2019, Guangdong derived 64% of its adjusted operating profit from its water business and another 10% from its infrastructure investment business. Due to the essential nature of sewage and water distribution, Guangdong Investment’s cash flows are fairly steady and predictable, making them particularly attractive for investors in uncertain times.

Although the social unrest in Hong Kong might disrupt subways and the airport, everyone living within Hong Kong will still need water and sewage treatment no matter what.

In addition to having steady cash flows, Guangdong Investment’s dividend is attractive. The company’s dividend has increased every year in the last five years and for 2010-2018. The compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of its dividend was an impressive 17.2%. At its current stock price, the company has a trailing dividend yield of around 3.3%.

Guangdong Investment dividends

Source: Guangdong Investment’s H1 2019 results presentation

2. HKT Trust

HKT Trust is Hong Kong’s leading telecommunications provider. Through its operations, the company provides millions of Hong Kong citizens with broadband internet access, fixed-line, and mobile services. Given how many can’t go one day without internet access, HKT’s revenues are rather steady and predictable.

If anything, the social protests might increase revenue marginally for HKT given the increasing messaging and voice consumption from the protests. Meanwhile, the company’s rollout of 5G services in 2020 could also be a big growth driver in the future as 5G’s faster speeds could create more revenue opportunities for HKT.

In terms of its dividends, HKT Trust is attractive. The company’s dividend per share (DPS) has increased every year from 2014 to 2018, rising from HK$0.44 to HK$0.66. Although the company pays out nearly all of its earnings in dividends in the past (or in 2018’s case, slightly more than what it earned), the company’s growth has helped it raise its dividend pretty consistently.

With a dividend yield of around 5.4% at current prices and a stable operating cash stream, HKT is worthy of more investigation for investors looking for stability and income.

Foolish takeaway

Guangdong Investment and HKT Trust are two Hong Kong-listed companies with strong businesses, attractive yields, and a history of dividend growth. In times of uncertainty, the two stocks might prove to be better investments for those looking at a long-term investment horizon.



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