Woodside reveals a strong result: Reporting season
Senior equity analyst Mark Taylor talks about Woodside's highlights this reporting season.
Mentioned: Woodside Energy Group Ltd (WDS)
Mark Taylor: It was a very, very strong result, up 400% plus to US$1.8 billion, which was even better than we were expecting. We haven't changed our long-term fair value estimate. The dividend was up about 270%, close to our expectations and annualized equating to 8% plus yield at the current share price, and our full year dividend forecast for both 2022 and 2023 is equivalent to a yield of in excess of 10% fully franked. So, very, very strong dividend paying stock.
Net operating cash flow was extremely strong, which allowed them to pay down quite a bit of debt. So, their balance sheet for all intents and purposes is ungeared at the moment. So, not much risk on that front. And really, the result was just struck on very, very strong commodity prices, and timing was great because they just completed the construction of the interconnect pipeline between Pluto and the North West Shelf, which meant that they could produce extra gas and allow them to sell extra gas into very high spot prices. So, that really helped the revenue and the profit along as well.
For a long time now they've been paying an 80% payout ratio on the dividend. But more recently, they've said that the payout ratio expectations have been set between 50% and 80%. This time around, they kept it at 80%. But the mere fact that they've introduced that lower bar on the range suggests that in future there is a potential for them to pay out a lower proportion of earnings. So, that is a risk. That may be made up for in terms of share buybacks or a special dividend or they may just choose to squirrel some cash away for some CapEx or acquisitions or that sort of thing. But in our base case, we're still forecasting 80% payout ratio going forward.