DBRS Upgrades PDV.PR.A To Pfd-3(high)

DBRS has announced that it:

has today upgraded the rating of the Preferred Shares issued by Prime Dividend Corp (the Company) to Pfd-3 (high) from Pfd-3.

In November 2005, the Company issued 2.2 million Preferred Shares (at $10 each) and an equal number of Class A Shares (at $15 each). The redemption date for both classes of shares issued was originally December 1, 2012, but was extended to December 1, 2018, after holders of 96.1% of Class A Shares and 90.2% of Preferred Shares voted in favour of the extension in November 2011.

On July 19, 2013, DBRS confirmed the rating of the Preferred Shares at Pfd-3 mainly based on the sufficient downside protection available to holders of the Preferred Shares. Since then, the NAV of the Company has increased, with downside protection increasing from 40% to 45% and remaining stable at that level over the past few months. The current dividend coverage ratio is approximately 0.8 times. As a result, the rating of the Preferred Shares has been upgraded to Pfd-3 (high) from Pfd-3.

Separately, the company has announced a change in Capital Unit dividend policy:

Prime Dividend Corp. (the “Company”) is pleased to announce a change in the distribution policy to the Class A shares that will result in an immediate increase to the July monthly dividend. Under the new policy the annualized rate will increase to 10% based on the current trading price. The Company believes the new policy will better reflect actual returns of the Company’s underlying portfolio and will allow further dividend increases as the Company’s trading price increases.

Under the new distribution policy, the monthly dividend payable on the Class A shares will be determined by applying a 10% annualized rate on the volume weighted average market price (VWAP) of the Class A shares over the last 5 trading days of the preceding month. As a result, Class A shareholders of record on July 31, 2014 will receive a dividend of $0.06458 per share based on the VWAP of $7.75 over the last 5 trading days in June, payable on August 8, 2014. Effectively, the actual amount of monthly distributions paid will vary with the market price, but the current yield will remain stable at 10% (based on the VWAP) under this new distribution policy.

In making this change, the Manager and the Board have considered the following in their analysis:
1. The net asset value per unit ($18.76 as at July 15, 2014) and the range over the previous years.
2. The amount of dividend income and additional income earned from the covered call writing program.
3. The resumption of dividend increases in many of the companies held in the portfolio, resulting in an increase in the average dividend rate.
4. The historically unprecedented low rate environment which has caused the distribution rate on the Class A shares to remain at the minimum level over the last 5 years under the previous floating rate distribution policy.
5. The net asset value attributable to the Class A shares which is approximately 10% higher than the trading price (as at July 15, 2014).

There will be no changes to the Preferred Share dividend policy or the Class A dividend threshold policy. Preferred shares will continue to receive prime plus 0.75% with a minimum rate of 5% annually.

This issue was last mentioned on PrefBlog when DBRS downgraded it to Pfd-3. PDV.PR.A is not tracked by HIMIPref™ as there are only about 1.4-million units outstanding … but I’ll bet a nickel the dividend policy change was made with an eye towards increasing that number!

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