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Belo Corp. Message Board

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  • belobuster belobuster Mar 2, 2012 9:49 AM Flag

    Dividend Increase

    Sorry, but I couldn't disagree more. This sector has been over-leveraged for the last several years and these companies have not been in a position to return capital to shareholders. Many companies canceled common stock dividends and stopped repurchasing shares as they focused on paying down debt. BLC was no exception and has been very successful in reducing total debt below 4x. Now that the capital structure has been fixed they are generating excess cash - more than they know what to do with. Potential TV station sellers are still looking for higher prices and all potential buyers have been extremely disciplined because the prices they would be forced to pay would be dilutive to their own stock prices and valuation multiples. Given the debt levels of BLC and the large amount of senior secured capacity, they could releverage the company for the right deal - at a very attractive cost of capital. Until then, I would prefer to see them support the stock with a solid dividend policy AND eventually repurchasing common shares on the open market. What better acquisition could they do then to repurchase their own shares at more attractive multiples then some of the properties on the market? And they don't have to take the acquisition risk by doing this.

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    • I agree with belobuster, although the increase is very good, it quite frankly is still too low. They will still generate over $120M in free cash flow this year (including dividend and pension payments). Pay out ~$32M a year is a low payout ratio. It should be higher, a lot higher. I hope they use the FCF for more share buybacks at the very least. They have over $100M of cash on the books now, why do they need $220M by the end of the year? Especially when the credit markets are giving away money for free. Return more to shareholders.