Friday, September 10, 2010
Currently the company is trading at a low P/E of 13.60, yields 6.70% and has a dividend payout ratio of approximately 80%. The current annual dividend is $1.52/share, and has been raised twice this year. The company earned $1.54/share in 2009 and is expected to earn $1.90/share in 2010 and $2/share in 2011. Altria has a target dividend payout ratio of 80% of earnings per share. This means that the company can afford to pay a dividend of $1.60 by next year, and increase of about 5%. Since 2005, earnings per share from continuing operations attributable to Altria Group have increased by 6% annually.
The economics of the tobacco business are really interesting. Most of the revenue generated from sales go to Federal and State governments, while the cost of the actual product is very small relative to its sales price. The demand is inelastic. When prices for products increase, the increase more than offsets the decrease in consumption caused by the price. This leads to increase in revenues for the cigarette manufacturer.
Supposedly even Warren Buffett liked the economics of the tobacco business in the 1980’s when he said: "I'll tell you why I like the cigarette business. It costs a penny to make. Sell it for a dollar. It's addictive. And there's fantastic brand loyalty.” However the increased regulatory actions against tobacco companies have prevented him from investing in the industry since “investments in tobacco are fraught with questions that relate to societal attitudes and those of the present administration...I would not like to have a significant percentage of my net worth invested in tobacco businesses."
The company is a dominant player in the US tobacco market, with a 50% market share in 2009. This mature market is in decline however, and as a result future growth in earnings per share could be difficult to materialize. They would likely come from efficiencies related to restructuring, such as the closure of its Cabarrus facility as well as the integration of smokeless tobacco company UST, which Altria acquired in 2008. Altria expects the UST acquisition to be accretive in 2010. Altria also expects to generate an estimated $300 million in UST integration cost savings by the end of 2011. Altria also expects to achieve approximately $290 million in additional cost savings by the end of 2011 for total anticipated cost reductions of $1.5 billion versus 2006. (Source)
The issues that prevent some investors from purchasing Altria stock are potential liabilities related to possible unfavorable judgments against the company. There were 129 cases pending against the company at the end of 2009 for example. Back in the late 1990’s for example the company’s stock price was hammered on fears that lawsuits could potentially wipeout Altria. In reality it is doubtful that the company would go under, since its tax revenues are needed to fill the empty state and local coffers.
Altria Group, Inc. also held a 27.3% economic and voting interest in SABMiller plc at December 31, 2009. The stake in the company was worth $12.70 billion at year end, which was higher than the 5 billion the investment is recorded on Altria’s books.
I view Altria as a hold if held on its own. If investors also own a share of Phillip Morris International (PM) for every share of Altria (MO) that they own, I would only then view Altria as a buy. Phillip Morris International (PM) owns the international operations of Altria and was spun off in 2008 as an independent company. The reason for that is that the risk of potential ban on tobacco products in the US which might jeopardize US tobacco businesses, is higher for Altria than Phillip Morris International. In addition to that, PMI has much greater growth prospects than Altria.
Full Disclosure: Long KFT, MO and PM
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Friday, July 23, 2010
With growth slowing down, the price/earnings multiple could contract even lower. This being said I believe Wal-Mart is an excellent business, as it always investing in innovation that helps control inventory and focus on certain types of merchandise that offsets weaker demand in recessions. Despite the expected slow down in consumer spending, Wal Mart is well positioned with its diverse product mix of consumer staples and foods that it is offering on its shelves. It has lower prices in comparison to its competitors, which could drive more traffic for the retailer. Just like Walgreen (WAG), Wal-Mart Stores expects to slow down on the rate of opening new stores and instead would try to focus on developing the profitability of existing locations, without cannibalizing sales in its existing outlets. The lower capital spending has freed up enough cash flow to fund the company's agressive share buyback program.
Friday, July 2, 2010
Over the past decade this dividend stock has delivered an annual average total return of 8.70% to its shareholders.
At the same time company has managed to deliver an impressive 12.20% average annual increase in its EPS since 2000. Analysts are expecting MCD to grow EPS to $4.49 by 2010 and $4.87 in 2011.. The economic slowdown is making consumers to trade down and dine out at fast food places like the ones owned by the Golden Arches. Mcdonald’s has been focusing more on expanding the sales of existing restaurants since 2003 versus relying on new stores to be the driver for growth. Same store sales and profits have been driven by product innovation, and comparable-store sales growth, and are part of the company’s recent success. The constant innovations in the menu are indeed fueling strong same store sales volumes. The McCafe Offerings, in addition to the Dollar Breakfast Menu and Restaurant remodeling are further fuelling the growth in sales.
International operations, which accounted for almost half of operating profits in 2008, have been a major growth factor over the past two decades. This however exposes the company to fluctuations in exchange rates, which could add or detract from EPS performance. MCD's stated operating priorities include fixing operating inadequacies in existing restaurants; taking a more integrated and focused approach to growth, with an emphasis on increasing sales, margins and returns in existing restaurants; and ensuring the correct operating structure and resources, aligned behind focusing priorities that create benefits for its customers and restaurants.
The ROE has been increasing since it hit a low of 14 in 2002. Recently it hit 30%, and has stayed above that level for two consecutive years.
Full Disclosure: Long MCD
Friday, June 25, 2010
Over the past decade this dividend stock has delivered a 4.90% average annual total return to its shareholders.
At the same time company has managed to deliver a 11.10% average annual increase in its EPS since 2000. Analysis expect a 9.80% increase in EPS to $4.83 in 2010, follow by an 8% increase to $5.23 in 2011.
Johnson & Johnson is the first stock that comes to mind when illustrating the benefits of dividend investing. The company has been enormously successful, has a strong competitive advantage and as a result has managed to boost distributions for 48 consecutive years. It is no surprise that it is found in the portfolios of most dividend investors. The company’s sales and earnings growth would be driven by the company’s ongoing acquisition program, its pharmaceutical pipeline as well as expansion in emerging markets. Remicade and Stelara are two drugs which could fuel growth in sales, as is a new blood thinner drug under development, which would prevent strokes in patients. The company should do well due to its diversified revenues coming from drugs, consumer products and medical devices. Despite its size, Johnson & Johnson is highly innovative and aggressively funding new product development in order to maintain leadership positions.
The ROE has remained largely between 25% and 30%, with the exception of 2006 and 2007.
Annual dividend payments have increased by an average of 13.40% annually since 2000, which is much higher than the growth in EPS. A 14% growth in dividends translates into the dividend payment doubling almost every five years. Since 1971 JNJ has indeed managed to double its dividend payment every 5 years.
The dividend payout ratio has remained in a range between 36% and 45%. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
Friday, June 18, 2010
Over the past decade this dividend stock has delivered an average total return of 11.80% to its shareholders.
The company has managed to deliver a 20.20% average annual increase in its EPS over the past decade, largely due to low earnings in 2000. Analysts are expecting an increase in EPS to $4.98 for 2010 and $5.63 by 2011. This would be a nice increase from the 2009 earnings per share of $3.
The company is one of the largest producers of industrial gases and also owns a large specialty chemicals business. The potential areas of growth include growth in industrial gases, including electronics, hydrogen for petroleum refining, health care and Asian operations. The market for industrial gases gas increased at double the rate of the economy over the past years, which could be another driver of revenue growth. Air Products and Chemicals has announced its intent to acquire Airgas (ARG) in an unfriendly take-over in February 2010. This deal could benefit the company through cost savings if successful.
The Return on Equity has been stable around 15% over the past decade. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time.
Annual dividend payments have increased by an average of 10.30% since 2000, which is lower than the growth in EPS. The company last raised its dividend by 8.90% in February 2010, for the 28th year in a row.
A 10 % growth in dividends translates into the dividend payment doubling every seven years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 1983, Air Products and Chemicals has indeed managed to double its dividend payment every seven years on average.
The dividend payout ratio remained below 50% for the majority of the past decade, with the exception of 2000 and 2009. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
Currently Air Products and Chemicals is trading at 17.30 times earnings and yields 2.90%. In comparison Praxair (PX) trades at a P/E multiple of 19 and yields 2.40%. I consider Air Products and Chemicals attractively valued at the moment.
Full Disclosure: Long APD
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Friday, June 11, 2010
Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDS.A)(RDS.B) operates as an oil and gas company worldwide. The company explores for, and extracts crude oil and natural gas. The company is not on any dividend indices, despite its long history of consistent dividend increases.
Over the past decade this dividend stock has delivered an annual average total return of 5.10% to its shareholders.
There are two classes of shares – A and B(RDS.A and RDS.B). For US investors it is a much better option to invest in the B shares, since those do not come with a 15% withholding tax from the Dutch government. You could here about the difference between A and B shares. In addition to that, each Royal Dutch Shell American Depository Receipt (ADR) is equal to two shares, traded on London or Amsterdam.
At the same time the company has managed to deliver a 1.10% average annual increase in its EPS since 2000. The increase in prices of crude oil and natural gas definitely helped with earnings. The rapid fall of energy prices in late 2008 and early 2009 and weak global demand led to a 52% decrease in earnings per share in 2009 to $4.09. For fiscal year 2010 analysts expect earnings to increase by 41% to $5.75/share. Analysts also expect earnings per share to rise 25% from there to $7.16/share by FY 2011. The company is in the process of selling or closing unprofitable refineries it owns, which weigh in on its margins. It has also cut 10% of its global workforce, which added to other cost savings initiatives led to $1 billion in savings. The company is increasing its Canadian Oil Sands production, and doubling its Liquified Natural Gas capacity in Russia and Qatar.
Any analysis of earnings trends for an oil and gas producer such as Royal Dutch Shell would definitely depend on the future prices of energy commodities over the next few years. Nevertheless the dividend is sustainable at current levels and there definitely is some room for dividend growth in 2011 and beyond.
Returns on Equity decreased to 9.50% in 2009, after a few years of consistently being above 15%. Year over year this indicator will fluctuate, due to the changes in the value of oil and natural gas. The company should be able to generate sufficient average returns on equity in excess of 15% in the long run.
Annual dividend payments have increased by an average of 12% annually in US dollar terms since 2000, which is higher than the growth in EPS. The reason for this is that earnings have a much higher volatility than dividend payments.
A 12% growth in dividends translates into the dividend payment doubling every six years. Since 1988 Royal Dutch Shell has actually managed to double its dividend payment almost every eleven years on average. The company last raised its quarterly dividend by 5 % to 84 cents/share in 2009.
The reason why the company has not been included on any dividend indices is because it was a result of the merger of Royal Dutch with Shell in 2005. It switched from paying dividends in pounds and euro to paying dividends in US dollars. This probably ended the continuity in many stock databases as it required a manual input from analysts. Per the table below, Royal Dutch Shell has managed to boost distributions at least since 1993.
The dividend payout ratio has followed the trend in earnings and returns on equity. It largely remained below 50%, until it rose to 75% on a temporary dip in earnings in 2009.. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
The fact that Royal Dutch isn’t on any of the international dividend growth indices shows you that enterprising dividend investors should keep their eyes open at all times while searching for opportunities everywhere. Overly relying on mechanical rules, just like relying solely on your judgment, might be a recipe for disaster. While many successful dividend investors have some mechanical aspects to their trading, they also utilize their judgment in order to select the best dividend stocks in the world.
Currently the company is trading at a P/E of 11 and yields 6.70%. In contrast shares of British Petroleum (BP) trade at a P/E of 6 and yield 9.20%, while Chevron (CVX) and Exxon Mobil (XOM) trade at P/E ratios of 11 and 14 respectively and yield 3.90% and 2.90%.
Full Disclosure: Long BP,CVX,RDS-B and XOMRelevant Articles:
- Chevron Corporation (CVX) Dividend Stock Analysis
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- 3M Company (MMM) Dividend Stock Analysis
- Chevron (CVX) Raises Dividends; MLPs follow suit
Monday, June 7, 2010
On the positive side, the company earned $16.5 billion in 2009, or $5.28/share. It earned $1.92/share in the first quarter of 2010, which was more than enough to cover its quarterly dividend of $0.84/share. With a dividend yield of 9% and a Price/Earnings ratio of 6, the company definitely looks attractive. The main issue here is the total liabilities that the company would have to incur in order to clean up the mess from the oil spill. If hurricane season is especially intense this year, the environment of the whole Gulf of Mexico region could be severely affected. This could make it very expensive to clean up the oil spill mess. With all the uncertainty around, analysts are forecasting either the implosion of the company or a takeover of BP. Given the company’s strong cash flow generation however, BP should be able to shoulder the costs financially. The main problem is the damage to its reputation.
At the same time other quality oil companies have gone down in tandem with BP, falling oil prices and falling equity indices worldwide. If investors are not willing to take the company specific risk of BP, they could look elsewhere to purchase quality oil companies at a discount. Three dividend growth oil stocks which look attractively priced at the moment include Chevron (CVX), Exxon Mobil (XOM) and Royal Dutch Shell (RDS-B).
Exxon Mobil Corporation (XOM) is a manufacturer and marketer of commodity petrochemicals, including olefins, aromatics, polyethylene and polypropylene plastics and a range of specialty products. It also has interests in electric power generation facilities. This dividend aristocrat has raised dividends for 28 consecutive years. The stock yields 2.90% and trades at a P/E of 14. (analysis)
Chevron Corporation (CVX) manages its investments in subsidiaries and affiliates, and provides administrative, financial, management and technology support to United States and international subsidiaries that engage in fully integrated petroleum operations, chemicals operations, mining operations, power generation and energy services. This dividend achiever has managed to boost distributions for 23 consecutive years. The stock trades at a P/E of 11 and yields 3.90%.(analysis)
Royal Dutch Shell (RDS.B) is engaged worldwide in the aspects of the oil and gas industry and also has interests in chemicals and other energy-related businesses. The Company operates in three segments: Upstream, Downstream and Corporate. This dividend stock has raised distributions since 1993. The stock yields 6.40% and trades at a P/E of 11. (analysis)
For enterprising investors looking for a bargain, BP stock might look like the ultimate value play. That being said, investors should do well over time with a lower amount of risk by allocating their capital to other oil companies. My personal favorite is Chevron (CVX), with its adequately covered dividend payment, above average yield and low price/earnings ratio of 11. I also like the dividend growth prospects of Chevron as well, which makes it my top oil pick.
Full Disclosure: Long BP, CVX, RDS.B and XOM
- Chevron Corporation (CVX) Dividend Stock Analysis
- Exxon Mobil (XOM) Dividend Stock Analysis
- Chevron (CVX) Raises Dividends; MLPs follow suit
- Royal Dutch Shell Stock Analysis
Friday, June 4, 2010
Over the past decade this dividend stock has delivered an average total return of 3.60% to its shareholders. The stock has largely traded between $65 and $40 over the past decade.
The company has managed to deliver a 14.30% average annual increase in its EPS over the past decade. Analysts are expecting an increase in EPS to $3.45 for 2010 and $3.76 by 2011. This would be a nice increase from the 2009 earnings per share of $2.93. Future drivers for earnings could be the company’s tea, coffee and water operations. Cost savings initiatives could also add to the bottom line over time, as well as increases in volumes in emerging markets such as China.
The acquisition of Vitaminwater in 2007 has increased growth in the company’s non-soda business, which is where Coke lags behind PepsiCo. The acquisition of CCE’s North American bottling business, should bring in sufficient cost savings for the company’s North American supply chain, which would result in increase in cash flows. The deal is expected to deliver approximately $350 million dollars in cost savings over the first four years of implementation. In addition to that, it will bring more control over North American operations, deliver more flexibility in the company’s strategy implementation and reduce conflicts over the product mix with bottlers.
The Return on Equity has been in a decline after hitting a high in 2001. It has stabilized since 2005 at a very impressive 30%. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time.
The reason for the high returns on equity is that the company does not generally own the high capital intensive bottlers or fountain wholesalers, which produce and distribute the actual drinks. Instead it sells syrups, which are then mixed at the bottlers plants, and then are packaged and distributed. Coca Cola does have partial interests in 38 bottlers and distributors however, which accounted for over half of its worldwide volumes. Coca Cola Enterprises (CCE), in which Coca Cola (KO) owns a 34% stake, accounts for almost half of Coca-Cola’s US concentrate sales.
Annual dividend payments have increased by an average of 10.30% since 2000, which is lower than the growth in EPS. The company last raised its dividend by 7.30% in February 2010, for the 48th year in a row.
A 10 % growth in dividends translates into the dividend payment doubling every seven years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 1968, The Coca Cola Company has aindeed managed to double its dividend payment every seven years on average.
The dividend payout ratio remained above 50% for the majority of the past decade. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
Currently Coca Cola is trading at 17.30times earnings and yields 3.40%. In comparison arch rival in the cola wars Pepsi Co (PEP) trades at a P/E multiple of 16.10 and yields 3.10%. Check my analysis of Pepsi Co (PEP). I consider Coca Cola Company is just as attractively valued at the moment as Pepsi Co. I would add to my position in the stock as long as it trades below $58.60.
Full Disclosure: Long KO and PEP
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Friday, May 28, 2010
Over the past decade this dividend stock has delivered an annual average total return of 10.30% to its shareholders.
At the same time company has managed to deliver a 3.10% average annual increase in its EPS since 2000. The increase in prices of crude oil and natural gas definitely helped with earnings. The rapid fall of energy prices in late 2008 and early 2009 and weak global demand led to a 55% decrease in earnings per share in 2009 to $5.24. For fiscal year 2010 analysts expect earnings to increase by 53% to $8/share. Analysts also expect earnings per share to rise 25% from there to $10/share by FY 2011.
Friday, May 21, 2010
Over the past decade this dividend stock has delivered an annual average total return of 8% to its shareholders.
The ROE had consistently increased from less than 15% in 2002 to over 38% in 2008, before dipping back to 17.30% last year on lower profitability.
Friday, May 14, 2010
Clorox has paid uninterrupted dividends on its common stock since it was spun out of Procter and Gamble (PG) in 1968 and increased payments to common shareholders every year for 32 years. The company is a member of the elite S&P Dividend Aristocrats Index.
Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annual average total return of 4.30% to its shareholders.
At the same time company has managed to deliver an impressive 9.80% average annual increase in its EPS since 2000. Analysts are expecting an increase in 2010 earnings per share to $4.24 and $4.63 by 2011. There is stable demand for household and personal care products, which is generally not affected by changes in the economy or by geopolitical factors. Earnings will benefit from various cost savings programs and pricing to offset higher input costs.
In 2007 the company introduced its Centennial Strategy where the company is focused on achieving double-digit annual growth in economic profit. A key driver of the strategy is to accelerate sales by growing existing brands, including expanding into adjacent categories, entering new sales channels and increasing penetration within existing countries. The company also anticipates using its strong cash flow to pursue growth opportunities and increase shareholder returns. For an update on the results from the strategy, check this press release.
Basically the company will try to deliver further growth through an ongoing focus on consumer megatrends. In addition to that the company will be targeting a 2% sales growth through product innovation. Last but not least Clorox will target margin expansion and maximizing cash flow through implementation a continued robust cost-saving program and maintaining price increases the company has taken.
The Return on Assets increased to 11% in 2008 from 7.80% in 2001. I used return on assets, since the stockholders equity portion of the balance sheet was negative after in 2004 Clorox exchanged its ownership in a subsidiary for approximately 29% of the company’s outstanding shares at the time of this transaction. In addition to that the company spent over 1.65 billion in share buybacks in 2007 and 2008.
Annual dividends have increased by an average of 13% annually since 1999, which is lower than the growth in EPS. Clorox has an ever-evolving dividend payment policy, which doesn’t stop the company from raising the annual distributions for 21 years in a row. There have been times such as in 2007 when dividend were raised twice while there are times such as 2003-2004 and 2000-2002 when dividends were not being raised for 6 to 9 quarters.
A 13 % growth in dividends translates into the dividend payment doubling every five and a half years. If we look at historical data, going as far back as 1983, The Clorox Company has actually managed to double its dividend payment every six years on average. The dividend is very well covered at the moment and is safe.
The dividend payout ratio remained above 50% until 2002. Since then the dividend payout ratio has consistently remained below 50%. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
Currently Clorox is trading at a P/E of 15 and yields 3.10%. I believe that the company is attractively valued at current levels and would consider adding to my position in the stock.
In comparison Procter & Gamble (PG) trades at a P/E multiple of 15 and yields 3.10%, Kimberly-Clark (KMB) trades at a P/E multiple of 14 and yields 4.30%, while Colgate Palmolive (CL) trades at a P/E multiple 20 while yielding 2.50%.
Full Disclosure: Long CL, CLX, PG, and KMB.
- Procter & Gamble (PG) Stock Dividend Analysis
- Kimberly-Clark Corporation (KMB) Stock Dividend Analysis
- Colgate-Palmolive (CL) Dividend Stock Analysis
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Friday, May 7, 2010
3M Company is a major component of the S&P 500 and Dow Industrials indexes. The company is also a dividend aristocrat, which has been consistently increasing its dividends for 52 consecutive years. Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annual average total return of 7.90% to its shareholders.
At the same time company has managed to deliver an impressive 7.70% average annual increase in its EPS since 2000. In 2009 earnings per share fell by 7.60% to $4.52. The expectations for 2010 are for increase EPS to almost $5.15/share and an increase in EPS to $5.69 in 2011. Over the long run however, earnings for this conglomerate are relatively diversified which is a decent buffer during recessions. As the economy rebounds, revenues and profitability would improve. The company also invests almost 6% of its revenues in research and development each year, in order to deliver new products to consumers worldwide. Future growth is expected to also come from acquisitions as well as growth in emerging markets such as China and India. Sales are increasing partly due to strong demand of coatings for TV and Computer displays as well as demand for masks in response to the H1N1 virus.
The ROE has remained largely between 29% and 38% with the exception of a temporary dip in 2001 to 23%. After two years of declines in this indicator, I expect that increased profitability would lift returns in 2010.
Annual dividend payments have increased by an average of 6.50% annually since 1999, which is lower than the growth in EPS. Most recently the company increased its dividend by 3% to $0.525/quarter. MMM typically enjoys a slow dividend growth during tough economic conditions, while compensating with stronger dividend growth during boom times. 3M’s dividend is safe, given the strong cashflows that the company generates from its diversified businesses.
A 7 % growth in dividends translates into the dividend payment doubling almost every ten years. Since 1973 3M has actually managed to double its dividend payment on average almost every nine years.
The dividend payout has steadily decreased over the past decade; due to the fact the dividend growth was much slower than earnings growth. Currently the payout is at 45% which is a sustainable level. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
3M is currently attractively valued. The stock trades at a P/E of 19.50, yields 2.40% and has an adequately covered dividend payment. I would be a buyer of 3M on dips below $84.
Full Disclosure: Long MMM
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