In the past couple of weeks, the silver market has slowly recovered, raising investor interest in silver-related assets such as the iShares Silver Trust (NYSEMKT:SLV). Silver Wheaton (NYSE: SLW), however, may offer several advantages over a direct investment in a silver ETF. Let's review three of these advantages.
1. It's not just about the price of silver
One advantage is that Silver Wheaton's valuation isn't solely based on the direction of precious metals prices. It also relies on the company's decisions, such as signing new streaming agreements with bullion miners. If Silver Wheaton continues to augment the amount of attributed silver produced (under its silver streaming contracts), this could raise its valuation. This year, it plans to moderately increase its silver equivalent ounces sales by roughly 0.5% to 36 million ounces. This growth rate isn't high, but it could pick up if the company were to enter into new streaming agreements. Back in 2013, the company's production guidance was 33.5 million ounces of silver equivalent ounces in sales, and it achieved 35.8 million ounces -- 6.8% higher than its annual expectations.
2. Not just silver
The company doesn't solely sell silver; it also sells gold. This year, gold is expected to account for 27% of its total revenue, and by 2018, it will account for 33%. Moreover, in the past year, gold has outperformed silver. This means investors considering adding a mixture of silver and gold to their portfolio could benefit from Silver Wheaton's diversity.
3. Dividend payment
Unlike silver ETFs or silver options, investors of Silver Wheaton also receive a dividend payment, which is based on a percentage (20%) of its average operating cash flow from the past several quarters. This kind of dividend payment also allows the company to reduce its payments when the price of silver comes down. In the past quarter, the company paid a quarterly cash dividend of $0.07. On an annual scale this comes to $0.28 or a 1.23% dividend yield. This yield isn't far off than other precious metals companies' yields: Royal Gold currently pays a 1.25% dividend yield. But these paychecks are better than none when investing in silver ETFs.
Silver Wheaton offers an interesting way to invest in silver and gold. Because of the company's business model, the risk associated with a potential rise in mining costs doesn't impact its profit margin. Finally, the dividend payment allows its investors to take some profits off the table without losing their position in the stock.