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Is Power Corporation (TSE:POW) Canada’s Best Insurance Play?

Posted in on January 25, 2021 by Dylan Callaghan

Disclaimer: The writer of this article may have positions in securities listed below. Stocktrades may also be compensated via affiliate links in the post below

Power Corp stock

Although financials have started to rebound, many are still trading below pre-pandemic levels. One among the Canadian stocks is Power Corp of Canada (TSX:POW) and investors should pay close attention to this leading asset management company.

First, it is important to note that Power Corp has a complicated structure. Although it made steps to simplify its structure by buying out and integrating Power Financial Corp last year, there are still several layers to this holding company.

Power Corp owns a controlling interest in Great-West Lifeco (TSX:GWO), IGM Financial (TSX:IGM) and Paregesa, a holding company with interests in European companies.  

A value stock

As of writing, Power Corp is trading at a 15% discount to its pre-pandemic 52-week highs and at a 6% discount to analysts’ one-year average estimate of $31.60 per share. Finally, it is trading at a steep discount (25%) to net asset value (NAV) of $40.07 per share.

It is also trading near industry lows of 0.99 book value and 9.06 times forward earnings. If that wasn’t enough, the company has a P/E to earnings (PEG) ratio of only 0.70 – the lowest in the industry.

A PEG under 1 is a sign that the company’s growth rate is not keeping up with expected growth rates and is thus considered undervalued.

Outside of valuations, there are other reasons to like the company.

A reliable dividend stock

First, it is a reliable dividend payer. It has paid out uninterrupted dividends since 1987 and has never cut the dividend – that includes the 2008 Financial Crisis. Although it had kept the dividend steady for a number of years after the Crisis, it has since resumed dividend growth.

Power Corp is once again a Canadian Dividend Aristocrat having put together a six-year dividend growth streak. Over this period, it has raised the dividends by an average of ~8% annually. It pays an attractive dividend (5.98% yield) that is well covered by earnings and cash flows.

Market Cap: $18.61 billion
Forward P/E: 9.50
Yield: 5.71%
Dividend Growth Streak: 6 years
Payout Ratio (Earnings): 67.80%
Payout Ratio (Free Cash Flows): Premium Members Only
Payout Ratio (Operating Cash Flows): Premium Members Only
1 Yr Div Growth Rate: 10.50%
5 Yr Div Growth Rate: Premium Members Only
Stocktrades Growth Score: Premium Members Only
Stocktrades Dividend Safety Score: Premium Members Only

A strong capital allocator

Secondly, Power Corp has made some notable investments that it doesn’t get nearly enough credit for and this is one of the main reasons why the company’s share price is undervalued.

Case in point, the company was an early investor in the Lion Electric Company. Lion Electric is an innovative manufacturer of zero-emission vehicles. It is one of the few within this industry that has a proven revenue model, and recently Lion Electric announced plans to go public via Northern Genesis SPAC (NYSE:NGA).

As Lion Electric’s largest indirect shareholder, POW stands to benefit a great deal. The implied market cap of Lion is estimated to be ~$1.9 Billion and the proposed transaction is estimated to include a $US200M bought deal offering as part of the merger with Northern Genesis.

Power Corp intends on participating in the offering to the tune of $US17 million and once fully executed, Power Corp will own 31.4% of the common equity of Lion Electric which is expected to trade on the NYSE under the ticker LEV. Once completed, it will increase Power Corp’s net asset value by $1.09 per share or 2.7%.

This is a great example of how the company’s early stage investments can pay big dividends. It is also how the company can unlock value.

Controlling interest in Wealthsimple

Another early stage investment that can pay big dividends? Wealthsimple.

In October, Canada’s leading robo-advisor completed a round of financing that valued the company at more than $1.4 Billion.

Why is this important?

Power Corp owns a controlling interest in the company - $61.7% fully diluted. Since 2015, POW invested a total of $315M in the company. As of the last financing, the investment has a fair value of $934 million. Much like Lion Electric, should Wealthsimple go public (which seems like an inevitability), Power Corp will stand to benefit from this. While some investors are getting all wrapped up in severely injured companies such as Cineplex (TSE:CGX) that may never recover, there are alternatives that can be considered, such as Power Corp.