Corporate Newsletter – October 2011

Downside of excess cash

This article appeared in the October 2011 ASX Investor Update email newsletter.

Learn about the dangers of holding too much cash in Self-Managed Super Funds.

Photo of Robin Bowerman By Robin Bowerman, Vanguard

Self-managed super funds (SMSFs) across Australia are manning the defensive portfolio parapets and their weapon of choice is cash. And this increase in cash holdings may be revealing considerably more than a simple lack of confidence in where the sharemarket is heading in the short term.

A recent research study by Vanguard/Investment Trends looking at the SMSF sector has shown that the so-called “wall of cash” in SMSFs has grown markedly as wary investors say they are waiting for the return of more favourable market conditions before reallocating funds to growth assets.

This may not be surprising but it is potentially a cause for concern if investors are trying to time markets rather than staying on course with a long-term asset allocation plan.

The nationwide survey of more than 3000 SMSF trustees shows that total cash and cash products held by SMSFs in Australia has grown by $40 billion since May 2009 to $113 billion in May 2011.

That is a dramatic increase in the headline numbers but the survey also identified the level of “excess cash” held by SMSFs – defined as funds that would normally have been invested in other investments/assets.

It is interesting that while overall cash holdings jumped significantly over the past couple of years, excess cash holdings have remained stable in terms of value at $39 billion, but now represents 35 per cent of SMSFs’ total cash holdings, down from 53 per cent in May 2009.

The research is suggesting that the role of cash within SMSF portfolios is undergoing a change in status, from parking place to permanent fixture.

The implications of this excess cash declining and overall cash levels rising may be that what investors once considered the “waiting to invest” portion of their portfolio has now been re-categorised to form part of the broader fixed-interest asset allocation. (Editor’s note: Do the ASX online interest rate securities course to learn more about the features, benefits and risks of fixed-interest products.)

That raises the bigger question of what is the role of fixed interest within a portfolio?

Potential risks

A larger cash allocation may appear an attractive option at the moment with bank term deposits providing rates of around 6 per cent per annum. US and European investors would look at those rates with envy.

However, over the long term, investors need to feel confident that their asset allocation is aligned to their risk/return profile and also their time horizon. Investors also need to understand the potential risks involved in having a portfolio that is overweight in cash.

Fixed interest is crucial to a well-diversified portfolio. In addition to providing regular income, it acts as a counterbalance to the inherent volatility of growth assets and also helps moderate a portfolio’s downside risk. The fixed-interest asset class also provides capital stability and lowers the variability of portfolio returns.

While these characteristics may sound a lot like term deposits, comparing the two side by side reveals some key differences, in particular, time and liquidity.

Beyond their initial similarities of regular income flow and limiting capital growth or loss, differences start to appear when we examine risk versus return. Cash has a low risk/return profile but is inherently short-term, at six to 12 months, whereas fixed interest offers a more medium risk/return profile with a typical investment horizon being three to five years.

An investor’s risk/return decision is heavily influenced by their time horizon. Cash in a term deposit usually requires a minimum timeframe of three, six or 12 months; fixed interest or bonds are more suited to those with at least a three-year outlook. So although a higher cash allocation may be appropriate for a retiree to cover a year or two of living expenses, for an investor with a decade or more to go to retirement, a broader exposure to fixed interest may be more appropriate.

Fixed-interest investing is also a lot broader than cash or term deposits and can span a wider risk spectrum. It could consist of highly defensive assets such as Australian or US government bonds, expand further to include semi-government bonds and supranational borrowers (i.e. The World Bank) or, moving along the credit risk curve, incorporate high-quality corporate bonds (think Toyota and BHP) all the way out to high-yielding so-called junk bonds.

The key point is that fixed-interest investing is broad; indeed, the fixed-interest markets globally are larger and more liquid than global sharemarkets. But in Australia our fixed-interest marketplace is relatively small, less visible and less understood – perhaps a positive, albeit unintended, consequence of having a Federal Government running budget surpluses for many years.

Indeed, one of the reasons SMSFs are retreating to term deposits as a quasi fixed-interest portfolio allocation – apart from the attractive short-term rates – is the lack of awareness and ability to access broader fixed-interest investments such as government bonds. Managed funds do offer broad fixed-interest products but they have not seen strong take-up among SMSFs.

SMSFs are often more likely to access investments directly. And while the Australian exchange-traded funds (ETFs) market in shares is growing strongly, fixed-interest ETFs are not yet able to be offered under the existing regulatory framework.

Benchmark portfolio

The asset allocation decision is most important for investors when it comes to their portfolio’s risk-and-return profile.

For anyone running their own SMSF, having a benchmark portfolio to measure yourself against can be a valuable, dispassionate tool. The Vanguard diversified funds are all index funds so they reflect market returns over the past eight years.

The portfolios range from conservative to high growth. In the conservative portfolio the cash allocation is 42 per cent while Australian and international fixed interest holdings are 11 per cent and 17 per cent respectively, giving a total allocation to income assets of 70 per cent. By contrast, the balanced portfolio has 50 per cent in cash and fixed interest, and 50 per cent in growth assets.

Another key consideration for someone running their own SMSF is the need to rebalance the portfolio. Periods of volatility can change the allocations, so it is important to monitor and rebalance periodically to keep the same risk profile.

The harsh reality is, being under or over-invested in different asset classes at the wrong time can have a significant impact on an investor’s return. Getting market timing right is an extremely difficult task that can often leave investable funds on the sidelines during periods of strong returns.

History has shown that allowing emotions to drive investment decisions – be it overconfidence in rising markets or fear in falling markets – rarely serves investors well; and that over the long term, investors have traditionally been rewarded for showing patience and discipline around their investment strategy and diligence in rebalancing portfolios back to target asset allocations.

No one can be certain of what sort of volatility to expect from markets. However, we do know that previous periods of excess volatility have clustered around global macro events; and that during those periods, well-diversified portfolios that included allocations to less risky assets such as fixed interest and/or cash tended to ride out the storm much more smoothly.

So, while times like these can be unsettling for investors, those who have determined an appropriate asset allocation and who rebalance as necessary, are in a better position to weather periods of uncertainty, as well as the inevitable market dislocations to come.

About the author

Robin Bowerman is Head of Corporate Affairs and Market Development at index fund manager Vanguard Investments Australia.

From ASX

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The modules are self-directed, meaning you can work through them sequentially or go from, say, domestic ETFs to international ETFs or exchange-traded commodities (ETCs). Each has summary slides and a quiz to help you be confident you have grasped the concepts.

Best of all, you can do the online course when and where you like, at your own pace, and print the notes. All you need is an internet connection and computer.

Blue-chip income stocks

This article appeared in the October 2011 ASX Investor Update email newsletter.

What the charts say about fully franked shares that yield at least 10%.

Photo of Alan Hull By Alan Hull, author

How does someone get their hands on double-digit returns in such a weak sharemarket? Until late 2007 it was as easy as falling off a log with the Australian sharemarket powering along at well in excess of 10 per cent annually. Below is a chart of the All Ordinaries index showing the market’s meteoric rise from early 2003 to late 2007.

All Ordinarires Index chart – 2000 to 2011

All Ordinaries Index chart - 2000 to 2011

Alas, these good times are behind us and the Australian sharemarket has been in the doldrums since 2008. In fact it is currently forming a major low, which can be seen in the following chart of the All Ords that goes back to the 1987 crash.

All Ords chart trendline – 1987 to 2010

All Ords ASX monthly chart trending downwards

The chart above shows how the market is trending downwards and that there is still, potentially, a little distance to go before we hit the long-term trendline.

I would hope this trendline provides some support, but it is actually more than 10 per cent away from where the market is trading at the time of writing. So if you were thinking of buying shares right now in the hope of realising some capital growth in the near future, I would think again. There is a danger of our market falling further in the short term.

Warren Buffett would probably be happy

In my view, this is not a time to be buying shares for capital growth but rather a time to be focusing on income shares that pay reliable dividend yields. In other words, this is Warren Buffett’s time and that is why we have been hearing and seeing so much of him in the financial news. Is it possible that, like him, we too can find shares yielding double-digit returns? The short answer is yes.

What is more, most of these high-yielding shares are to be found in the top 25 ASX-listed companies, based on market capitalisation at the time of writing. I’m not declaring that Buffett would be happy with the fundamentals of these companies, but he certainly has demonstrated through his own investment choices that he would be happy with their yields.

Let’s take a closer look at these high-yielding blue chips, starting with the Big Four banks. (Editor’s note: For a fundamental view on banks stocks, read the article by Clime’s Matthew Koroi in this issue.) I don’t think it is necessary, or helpful, to analyse them separately for the purpose of this exercise, so I’ll list their vital statistics together).

Code Price Div. yield Franking
ANZ $19.32 7.14% 100%
CBA $45.11 7.09% 100%
NAB $22.48 7.21% 100%
WBC $19.31 7.77% 100%

I have included franking (tax credits) because this must be taken into consideration when working out the true yield of these shares. For all the Big Four, the franking is 100 per cent, which means the banks have paid the full amount of company tax owing (at 30¢ in the dollar) on 100 per cent of their earnings.

To encourage investment in shares, the Federal Government many years ago decided that the tax paid by companies could be passed on to investors in the form of tax credits. So not only does ANZ Bank pay out an annual dividend yield of 7.14 per cent (at the time of writing) but it also comes with a tax credit of 30¢ in the dollar.

To compare apples with apples when it comes to dividend yields, it is necessary to “reverse out” the tax credits. In the case of 100 per cent franking this is achieved by simply dividing the dividend yield by 0.7.

Therefore ANZ’s grossed-up dividend yield = 7.14%/0.7 = 10.2%

And bingo, ANZ is yielding just over 10 per cent per annum when we take the tax credit into account. In fact, any dividend yield equal to or greater than 7 per cent that comes with a tax credit of 100 per cent will gross up to 10 per cent or more. Hence, all the Big Four banks at the time of writing are yielding just over 10 per cent per annum when their franking credits are taken into account.

I will include a small caveat here, because not everyone can make full use of the tax credits received because they do not pay that much tax in the first place. This is particularly relevant to superannuation funds, where the tax being paid can often be very low and in many cases is well below 30¢ in the dollar. To find out if you can make full use tax credits, speak to your accountant and/or financial planner.

I should mention that the forward projections by the Big Four are for an increase in their dividend payments over the next couple of years. I am fairly comfortable with the idea of buying and holding their shares for the long term, given that the banks’ long-term future prospects are generally very good, in my opinion. Our banks seem to have mastered the ability to prosper in both good times and bad, if the GFC is anything to go by.

If we take ANZ’s share price to be reasonably indicative of all of the Big Four, which I believe it is, then we can employ it as a sort of charting proxy for this group. The following chart shows ANZ (red line) overlayed with the All Ordinaries index (black line), demonstrating how similar the behaviour of the four banks has been to the All Ords over the past 10 years.

ANZ bank chart overlaid with All Ords – 2001 to 2011

Chart shows ANZ overlaid with All Ords over past 10 years

This is important, because it suggests the four banks will probably recover along with the broader share market. I’m not sure when that will happen, but it will. Therefore I believe these banks are currently an attractive proposition as income shares and their prices will ultimately recover from their current lows.


I’m not so sure about Telstra, another stock in the top 25, even though it is currently yielding a very attractive 9.33 per cent plus 100 per cent tax credits: a grossed-up dividend yield of 13.33 per cent.

Telstra monthly chart – 2000 to 2011

 Telstra monthly chart - 2000 to 2011

Investors have moved away from Telstra shares over time; a very attractive dividend yield has been offset by a falling share price.

QBE Insurance

To the last share in the top 25 that is yielding double-digit returns, QBE, which has a grossed-up dividend yield of 10.15 per cent annually. But again, here is another share price that has been constantly on the decline for the past several years and therefore it has me a bit spooked as well.

QBE monthly chart – 2006 to 2011

QBE monthly chart - 2000 to 2011

What is the point in chasing high yields if they are just going to be gobbled up by a constantly falling share price? Mind you, I don’t think QBE is in the same boat as Telstra in terms of its business model, but right now its share price is clearly in a very well-established downtrend.

I would be inclined to wait for signs of a reversal in QBE’s long-term downtrend and then take another look at it. Hence, even when assessing and acquiring income shares, I still bring every skill I have to the table: fundamental and technical analysis, an understanding of the broader economy, and my business acumen.

About the author

Alan Hull is a share trader, fund manager and author of the investment books Blue Chip Investing and Active Investing-A Complete Answer. More information is available at To request a copy of his PDF chapters on how to identify and manage asset class shares (income), emails to

From ASX

The ASX website has a wealth of free education material on charting. Visit the ASX Charting Library for stories that suit beginners through to advanced technical analysts.

The views, opinions or recommendations of the author in this article are solely those of the author and do not in any way reflect the views, opinions, recommendations, of ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691 and its related bodies corporate (“ASX”). ASX makes no representation or warranty with respect to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the content. The content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian financial services licensee before making investment decisions. To the extent permitted by law, ASX excludes all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way including by way of negligence.

Big banks offer value

This article appeared in the October 2011 ASX Investor Update email newsletter.

See why Clime believes the Big Four are trading at a discount to intrinsic value.

Photo of Matthew Koroi By Matthew Koroi, Clime

Although banks earn revenue in many ways, their main income comes by lending money at a higher rate than they pay for money deposited with them. This is referred to as the net interest margin. Over the past 15 years, banks have placed more emphasis on non-interest income, such as fees, to increase their profits, and today non-interest income represents between 30 per cent and 40 per cent of the major banks’ total revenue.

When analysing a bank, five financial metrics often referred to are:

  1. Return on equity: Clime likes to see a bank achieving a standard ROE of around 20 per cent.
  2. Return on assets: We like to see a bank achieving ROA of approximately 1 per cent.
  3. Cost-to-income ratio: A figure we would like to see declining over time and trending towards 40 per cent of net revenue.
  4. Net interest margin: The difference between average interest cost and average interest earned.
  5. Asset growth and a reduction in impaired assets (assets that have to be written down).

In determining the business risk of a bank, Clime focuses on five areas:

  1. Liability risk: The risk of depositors’ requests for withdrawals being in excess of a bank’s available cash. This is well regulated by the Australian Prudential Regulation Authority, which monitors banks’ capital adequacy and liquidity.
  2. Credit risk: The chance that those who owe money to the bank will not repay it.
  3. Interest rate risk: “Margin squeeze”, the situation where rising interest rates force a bank to pay more on its deposits than it receives on its loans.
  4. Derivative books: In the modern banking world, banks earn revenue from derivative books and proprietary trading. This is a higher-risk way to generate returns, and an example of when things can go wrong was highlighted in 2003 when National Australia Bank lost about $360 million in a foreign exchange “rogue trading” incident.
  5. Credit growth: Savings rates in Australia are the highest they have been in 15 years and credit growth across all sectors – housing, business and personal – continues to fall. The combination of this reflects growing conservatism since the GFC. Although this is a negative for banks’ shareholders, when credit demand picks up it will result in more loans being written and will drive up net income. This should lead to improved profits and profitability.

Investing for yield

Given the volatility of financial markets over the past four years, many retail investors perceive a higher level of risk in the sharemarket. Reserve Bank data shows the percentage of total household assets being allocated to the sharemarket is the lowest it has been since the early 1990s, at around 4 per cent.

If you look through the current share price action of banks, with a long-term focus on wealth creation, the recent market volatility need not turn you off shares. By identifying profitable businesses that reward shareholders with consistent and sustainable dividends, you are able to ensure a steady income stream despite erratic short-term price movements.

In a general sense, when analysing companies for yield, Clime tends to find the best businesses display the following five characteristics:

  1. Dividends are consistent and sustainable
  2. Dividends are franked
  3. Dividends are paid from the business earnings and supported by real cash flows, not recent capital raisings
  4. Yield is in excess of 6 per cent
  5. The business has a record of growth in dividends per share.

In relating these characteristics to the banks, we can tick off each one of them.

Over the past two decades the average dividend yield of the Big Four banks has been roughly 5.8 per cent.

At an average of 7.5 per cent (based on prices at September 20, 2011), the yield currently available on the Big Four banks is high in a historical context. Including the benefit of franking, this figure is around 10.7 per cent.

The yield available on bank shares is also attractive in a relative sense when compared to other asset classes, such as interest-bearing bank accounts and investment property.

Using Clime data, the following tables compare a range of financial figures of the various types of banks in Australia.

The majors

Bank Market Cap* FY11 ROE FY11 ROA FY11 net interest margin Grossed up yield (for franking credits)*
ANZ^ $50.8bn 14.74% 0.95% 2.51% 10.00%
CBA $68.7bn 18.60% 1.02% 2.11% 9.70%
NAB^ $48.4bn 11.76% 0.67% 2.40% 10.30%
WBC^ $58.3bn 15.42% 0.95% 2.15% 11.00%

* Current at close Sept 20, 2011
^ FY2010
Regional banks

Bank Market Cap* FY11 ROE FY11 ROA FY11 net interest margin Grossed up yield
BEN $2.9bn 8.73% 0.63% 1.78% 10.5%
BOQ^ $1.5bn 8.56% 0.53% 1.49% 11.1%

* Current at close Sept 20, 2011
^ FY2010
Investment banks

Bank Market Cap* FY11 ROE FY11 ROA FY11 net interest margin Grossed up yield
MQG $7.4bn 8.41% 0.613% 1.15% 8.7%

* Current at close Sept 20, 2011(Editor’s note: Do not read the commentary as share recommendations. Do further research of your own or talk to your financial adviser before acting on themes in this article).

From our perspective, the majors are the safest and best performing of Australian listed banks, with each displaying stronger balance sheets, return on equity, return on assets and net interest margins. To whittle that list down further, Clime’s favoured banks are CBA and ANZ.

The Asian growth strategy of ANZ is positive from an investment perspective, because Asia offers the best economic growth profile globally at present (although not without higher risk and potential capital raisings for acquisitions). The recent financial performance of CBA is excellent and its strong metrics and clear strategy suggest it is the best-performing locally focused bank.

Westpac is interesting and may surprise, with increasing synergies from the St George acquisition driving further cost reductions, a multi-branded strategy with a high-quality lending book, and potential wealth-management leverage should equity markets remain sound.

A further indication of the strength of Australian banks is that of the 10 AA-rated banks in the world, Australia’s Big Four are all represented. Only one bank in the world, Rabobank, is rated AAA. This is not to say there is absolutely no chance of the big Australian banks ever failing, but it does mean the risk is somewhat lower in a relative sense.

Investing in shares always carries higher risk than investing in other asset classes such as property or interest-bearing securities. The trade-off, however, is the potential for higher returns. By investing in Australian banks at current levels with a longer-term view, not only are investors able to achieve above-average yields but they are leveraged to the future growth of the economy when favorable business conditions return.

At the time of writing this report, Clime finds each of the Big Four banks to be trading at discounts to their intrinsic value.

About the author

Matthew Koroi is a senior analyst at Clime Asset Management.

From ASX

Use the Search Dividends function on the ASX website to find dividend information.

Boring is beautiful

This article appeared in the October 2011 ASX Investor Update email newsletter.

Why reliable, higher-yielding utility stocks appeal in volatile markets.

Photo of Nathan Bell By Nathan Bell, Intelligent Investor

Europe, we are told, is on the brink of financial disaster. The brink happens to be a crowded place right now, with America and Japan nestled comfortably on the same precipice. With markets swinging wildly, utility and essential infrastructure investments have seldom been more attractive.

Whether its gas pipelines, electricity networks, toll roads, airports, or power stations, a combination of monopolistic assets, regulated returns and stable cash flows are supposed to offer conservatism and stability. An antidote, in other words, to the chaos. However, like most conventional wisdom, those truths need to be tested.

The good and the bad

Because of deregulation, a distinction has emerged between what constitutes a utility, such as energy giants AGL and Origin Energy, and what are more accurately termed essential infrastructure businesses, such as Spark Infrastructure and SP AusNet. But what you really need to know is that both categories have attractive characteristics; many assets are natural monopolies so they face limited competition. It only makes sense, for example, to build one set of pipelines and power grids. Cash flows are predictable, too.

These companies own a mix of regulated and unregulated assets. Spark Infrastructure and SP AusNet operate the “poles and wires” of the electricity grid – a natural monopoly. Because their prices are regulated and there is no competitive pressure, returns are predictable and stable. A large lick of debt in such instances is bearable. Origin Energy and AGL, however, are retailers of electricity, an unregulated activity subject to fierce competition. Too much debt in this scenario could be dangerous.

In the past, Intelligent Investor has been wary of the utility sector because of its excessive debt and unsustainable dividends. These remain key areas of concern, although predictable cash flows mean infrastructure assets can often carry higher-than-average levels of debt. Investors need to be judicious in deciding when debt is OK and when it’s not.

Dividends also deserve attention; higher is not necessarily better. It is important to measure dividends paid against cash the business generates. Energy and infrastructure assets have a habit of generating profits without generating cash. This neat trick is done by revaluing assets as a profit, an activity that does not add to the business cash pile. Be sure to check cash flow and profits to see if one is turning into the other.

A dividend that is too high could also signal a future capital raising. Take Spark and SP AusNet as an example. Both need to reinvest in their distribution networks to increase regulated returns, so require heavy doses of cash. Spark pays only about half its cash flow as dividends, leaving cash to reinvest. Spark’s dividends may be lower than SP AusNet’s, but they are also more sustainable and will grow, in Intelligent Investor’s opinion.

Three of the best

(Editor’s note: Do not read the following ideas as share recommendations. Do further research of your own or talk to your financial adviser before acting on themes in this article.)

Selecting the business in which to invest is the next step. Predictable cash flows and high yields have traditionally attracted income investors to infrastructure companies. There are, however, some utility and infrastructure businesses that can potentially grow, too. Spark Infrastructure, MAp Group and Origin Energy fall into this category, according to Intelligent Investor’s research.

1. Origin Energy

Origin operates in the non-regulated parts of the electricity sector. Although retail prices are regulated, there is a twist. Regulatory bodies, such as IPART in NSW, set the maximum price that retailers such as Origin and AGL can charge customers. But in urban markets, for example, where the cost of supply is low, price competition means Origin can fight for customers and charge less than the regulated tariff, yet earn higher returns than most regulated businesses.

Origin’s real competitive advantage, though, lies in an area where there is no regulation at all: power generation. Under the intelligent stewardship of chief executive Grant King, who realised early that energy assets would become more valuable; Origin assembled some of the biggest and best gas and electricity generation assets in the industry at a fraction of what they would cost today. With a massive pool of cheap production and generation capacity, price regulation is not a big deal. Origin’s growth has come not from the largely regulated price at which it sells energy, but from the low costs of producing it. As a low-cost producer of power, it is well placed to compete aggressively.

Although the largest portion of profits comes from retailing energy, Origin also has a significant oil and gas production business that it intends to grow. A large coal seam gas-to-LNG project in Queensland could well transform the company, making the production side of the business far more important. Although Origin is morphing into more than a simple utility, its prospects are attractive.

2. Spark Infrastructure

Spark owns essential infrastructure and charges other companies a fee to access it. The business model appears simple enough but understanding what fees the companies are allowed to charge is more complicated.

Spark owns stakes in energy distributors ETSA, Powercor and Citipower, which have monopoly control over the electricity network in their respective geographic regions. As a result, the government-sanctioned Australian Energy Regulator (AER) controls how much they can charge their customers. Crucially, the return Spark is allowed to earn depends on how valuable its asset base is, which is determined by the value of its assets in the prior year, less depreciation plus fresh capital expenditures. The more money Spark spends on capital expenditure, the more the regulator allows it to earn.

Because Spark is in the midst of a major expenditure cycle (which, incidentally, is the reason everyone’s electricity bills are rising), returns from the three underlying assets are forecast to grow 8 per cent a year over the next four years. And thanks to the diligent use of debt, Spark’s interest in those assets will increase by 14 per cent a year over that time. A reasonable yield of more than 7 per cent (unfranked) will continue to be paid, but with plenty of cash to fund expenditure, Spark is one infrastructure business with genuine growth prospects.

3. MAp Group

MAp Group is not an energy utility, but it will own 85 per cent of Sydney Airport and, if you have used it, you will instantly understand why airports make wonderful businesses. Park your car in the one of the most expensive airport parking lots in the world, and then venture into the terminal itself and you notice that Sydney Airport has been transformed into a mini-Westfield, complete with captive shoppers and lucrative rents. From parking charges to rents and aircraft charges, Sydney Airport is a fee-fest. As a customer, it’s annoying. As an investor, it’s a goldmine; the closest thing to an unregulated monopoly.

MAp is in the happy position of being able to charge what it likes for most of its services and not having to worry about competition. But having so much power also brings risk. If MAp gouges profits too fiercely, the risk of government intervention and reregulation is ever present. The company runs a fine balance between maximising returns without putting off regulators.

The company will soon pay a special distribution of 80¢ per security, and generally offers a distribution yield of about 6 per cent. Although MAp is an attractive business, it is exposed to some specific risks; any event that would severely cut travel volumes through Sydney Airport, such as industrial action, or a weather or health scare, would have a big impact. Keep this in mind when allocating capital.

Utility and essential infrastructure companies such as these may seem a little boring but many investors will happily welcome a little less excitement right now.

About the author

Nathan Bell is research director of Intelligent Investor. Access a free trial.

From ASX

ASX Infrastructure Funds has information on the features, benefits and risks of investing in listed infrastructure funds.

The views, opinions or recommendations of the author in this article are solely those of the author and do not in any way reflect the views, opinions, recommendations, of ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691 and its related bodies corporate (“ASX”). ASX makes no representation or warranty with respect to the accuracy, completeness or currency of the content. The content is for educational purposes only and does not constitute financial advice. Independent advice should be obtained from an Australian financial services licensee before making investment decisions. To the extent permitted by law, ASX excludes all liability for any loss or damage arising in any way including by way of negligence.

© Copyright 2011 ASX Limited ABN 98 008 624 691. All rights reserved 2011.

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