TerraForm Power (NASDAQ:TERP) and 8point3 Energy Partners (NASDAQ: CAFD) have been through a lot of turmoil over the past two years, resulting in a falling stock price for both companies. But after Brookfield Asset Management agreed to step in to take control of TerraForm Power and 8point3 Energy Partners' sponsors began a strategic review, both stocks recovered.
As it stands today, these yieldcos still present different risks and opportunities. Here's a look at which one is currently the better investment.
Where dividends stand today
8point3 Energy Partners' dividend stands at 7.1% as of Wednesday's market close. And management expects to grow the payout 3% per quarter through the end of 2017, at the very least.
TerraForm Power's dividend has been suspended after its sponsor, SunEdison, went bankrupt, and it won't resume in the near future. But the projected cash available for distribution of $120 million and implied future equity value of $1.7 billion implies a 7% dividend from TerraForm Power -- similar to 8point3 Energy Partners.
The difference between the dividends is that one is real and one is projected. And if you're an investor looking for a dividend the only choice is 8point3 Energy Partners.
Risk and reward are in the eye of the beholder
The risks of these two yieldcos are different as well. TerraForm Power is in default on some of its debt and has an uncertain cash flow and dividend profile in the future. But if Brookfield can lower borrowing costs and return the yieldco to more efficient operations, it could increase the payout substantially.
8point3 Energy Partners, on the other hand, is what it says it is. Management knows they can increase the dividend through the end of 2017, but after that dividend growth is uncertain. And at the current dividend yield, it's hard to see how the company could issue shares to fund acquisitions that would be accretive to earnings, long term.
If you're an investor willing to take the risk, TerraForm Power provides upside, but 8point3 Energy Partners is the steadier option of these two right now.
Could 8point3 Energy Partners get a buyout premium too?
If you look at TerraForm Power's recovery over the past year it was driven by Brookfield expressing interest and then agreeing to acquire a controlling stake in the company. Now that 8point3 Energy Partners is on the block, we could see a similar spike if a buyer emerges or if First Solar is replaced as a sponsor by a company with assets that can be dropped down and grow the dividend. There's no guarantee a deal is on the horizon, but there's a chance investors could see a short-term bump if one emerges.
8point3 Energy Partners is the better yieldco today
TerraForm Power may have more upside than 8point3 Energy Partners if Brookfield can lower borrowing costs and restore the dividend at a high yield. But those are unknowns and investors should steer toward 8point3 Energy Partners, who we know will pay at least an ongoing rate of $1.06, or a 7.1% dividend yield, in 2017 and has contracted cash flows for decades to come. And with the upside potential from a buyout on the horizon, 8point3 Energy Partners is the better of these two stocks today.