9.1% dividend yield! Should I buy this FTSE 100 stock today

I’m searching for the best UK dividend stocks to buy for my shares portfolio today. The following FTSE 100 company has some of the biggest yields on Britain’s blue-chip index. But should  I add it today?

Huge FTSE 100 yields!

According to my research Imperial Brands (LSE: IMB) offers the sixth-largest forward dividend yield on the FTSE 100. It sits at an enormous 9.1% for the fiscal year ending September 2022. I actually used to own the tobacco titan but sold out several years ago. Does that monster yield give me an excuse to buy back in?

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Many investors like Imperial Brands a lot. They like the solid earnings visibility that the addictive nature of its products. It gives the business the confidence and the financial stability to pay big dividends to its investors year after year. The company’s fans also love the brilliant brand power of labels like Winston, West and John Player Special. Smokers famously stay loyal to a particular brand once they find what they like.

This stability is what attracted me to Imperial Brands several years ago. I was also drawn in by its investment in so-called Next Generation Products (or NGPs) like vaporisers and nicotine gum. At that time it seemed as if demand for vaping products like its blu range would explode as smokers sought a healthier alternative to traditional, combustible tobacco products.

Why I sold out

So what encouraged me to sell my Imperial Brands holdings? In a word, regulation. At the time I exited, emerging markets were really starting to embrace the severe restrictions slapped on the usage, the marketing and the sale of cigars and cigarettes across developed markets. This represents a problem for Big Tobacco as the lion’s share of smokers live in Asia, Africa and Latin America.

At the same time, regulators were paying increasing attention to the addictive qualities and health dangers of vapour-based products. This had the potential to cut off a critical growth avenue for the likes of Imperial Brands. Indeed, the company’s decision to stop selling its NGPs in Japan and Russia illustrates that such action could be having a significant impact already.

Can the share price recover?

These pressures have caused Imperial Brands’ share price to slump more than 60% over the past five years. The rising importance of living healthily in the minds of consumers following the Covid-19 crisis suggests to me that the FTSE 100 firm will have a tough time turning the ship around too.

For this reason I’m not attracted by Imperial Brands’ mighty 9%+ dividend yield. Nor am I encouraged by the company’s rock-bottom earnings multiple. Its price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio for fiscal 2022 sits well inside the bargain-basement benchmark of 10 times and below (at 6 times). I think the risk-to-reward profile of Imperial Brands remains far too scary for me. So I’d much rather invest my hard-earned cash in other big-yielding UK shares today.

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Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Imperial Brands. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.

This post was originally published on Motley Fool

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