Last year HFC easily covered both kinds of dividends when EPS was more than $8 per share.
Estimated EPS for 2013 is projected to decrease to around $5.32 per share and even if HFC were to reduce the special dividend by 50% the yield would still be 4% based on a share price of $45.
message to shareholders on May 16
CEO Jennings said, "Our board of directors continues their commitment to deliver shareholder value through both regular and special dividends.
He commented further by saying, "Today's announcement represents our ninth special dividend paid since our merger. Including today's announced dividends, our last 12-month cash dividend yield stands at 7.1% relative to yesterday's closing price of $48.43."
Since then the oil spread almost disappeared and profit margins have been pinched. Yet, given HFC's good proximity to its sources of oil it will continue to enjoy access to less expensive supplies of crude. This should help drive profits and support the share price.
A recent assessment of the company by analyst Matt Murphy at Stelliam Investment Management in New York City would value its shares at somewhere between $55 and $60. This helps explain the recent 15% pop in the stock price.
With less than 10 days till its next earnings report, those who're interested in investing in HFC may want to do it incrementally. The earnings conference call on August 7th at 8 am EST will discuss the company's latest financial results and is likely to lead to more clues about its industry-leading dividend policies.
At the time of publication the author had no position in any of the stocks mentioned.
This article was written by an independent contributor, separate from TheStreet's regular news coverage.