How TPG Telecom Ltd could torpedo Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd shares

Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL) is an iconic Australian company holding a diversified portfolio of investments.

Its largest position is a 25% stake in TPG Telecom Ltd (ASX: TPM) which was worth $2.7 billion at 31 July this year, representing around 45% of WHSP’s total assets.

TPG shares have since fallen over 35% – a decrease of nearly $1 billion in the value of WHSP’s investment.

Brickworks Limited (ASX: BKW), another core holding, is also down around 7%.

Some of the impact of these falls on WHSP has been offset by good performances in other holdings such as coal miner New Hope Corporation Limited (ASX: NHC), up 17%, and Australian Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd (ASX: API), up 11%.

However, it appears that the overall decrease in portfolio value has not been fully reflected in the WHSP share price, which is down only 7% over the same period.

WHSP typically trades at a discount to its underlying assets – the total value of WHSP’s investments was around $6 billion at 31 July, and is still likely to be well above $5 billion, compared to a current market capitalisation of $3.8 billion.

This may have created a buffer against the recent falls in TPG. However, I would not be surprised to see further falls in the WHSP share price if TPG shares remain weak.

WHSP’s returns in the coming years will be heavily influenced by the performance of TPG. Even after the large recent falls in the value of its position, its shares in TPG are currently still likely to represent around 35% of total assets.

For investors who feel there is value in TPG shares, it could be worth keeping an eye on WHSP for an opportunity to gain exposure to that business as part of a well-run diversified investment company.

WHSP paid dividends of 52 cents per share in 2016, representing a yield of 3.25% on the current share price.

There are clearly higher yields on offer from many companies on the ASX, however, very few have a long-term track record of generating returns and growing dividends like WHSP does.

WHSP has paid out dividends every year since 1903. Over the last 15 years, it outperformed the broader market by 4.5% a year with annual returns of 12.6% and dividend growth of an impressive 10.6% per annum.

WHSP is likely to be a rewarding long-term investment if things turn around for TPG.

If you are interested in quality dividend shares, then I would recommend this top dividend share instead. A strong yield and potential share price gains make this a great investment idea in my opinion.

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Motley Fool contributor Matthew Bugden has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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