Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Anheuser-Busch Dividend Analysis

Anheuser-Busch Companies, Inc., through its subsidiaries, engages in the production and distribution of beer. The company operates in four segments: Domestic Beer, International Beer, Packaging, and Entertainment.

It is a dividend aristocrat as well as a major component of the S&P 500 index. Over the past 10 years this dividend growth stock has delivered an annual average total return of 12.40% to its shareholders.

The company has managed to deliver an impressive 9.60% average annual increase in its EPS through organic growth and share buybacks. Management has consistently bought back 3% of outstanding shares each year for the past 10 years, spending a little over $12.5 billion in the process. Without the buybacks the growth in EPS would have been 6.60%

The ROE has been increasing steadily over our study period, rising from a 27% in 1998 to 67% by 2007.

Annual dividend payments have increased over the past 10 years by an average of 9.6% annually, which matches the growth in EPS. A 10% growth in dividends translates into the dividend payment doubling every 7 years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 1983, BUD has actually managed to double its dividend payments every six years.

If we invested $100,000 in BUD on December 31, 1997 we would have bought 4545 shares (Adjusted for 2:1 stock split in September 2000). Your first quarterly check would have provided you with $590.85 in dividend income in February 1998. If you kept reinvesting the dividends though instead of spending them, your quarterly dividend income would have risen to $1799.16 by November 2007. For a period of 10 years, your quarterly dividend payment has increased by 154 %. If you reinvested it though, your quarterly dividend income would have increased by 204%.

The dividend payout has remained below 50% over the past 10 years. This is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.

I think that BUD is attractively valued with its low price/earnings multiple of 16 and above-average yield at 2.86%.

Disclosure: I do own shares in BUD. This is my analysis of the stock and is not investment advice. Please consult with a licenced investment professional before investing.

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