Thursday, April 29, 2021

The Ones That Got Away…

I spend a lot of time looking for quality companies available at attractive valuations. Sometimes, I find a great company that fits my fundamental requirements, but the entry price is a little high for my liking.

I try to wait until the entry price is met, before putting my hard earned capital to use. I do this, in order to maintain discipline in my investing approach. I believe that if I slip in one area of my life in terms of discipline, I will slip everywhere. This is an outcome I try to avoid as much as possible.

The purpose for not overpaying for securities, is because a lower entry price means that I have a higher potential for long-term future returns. A lower entry price also translates into a higher dividend yield from the start.

If an asset is worth a certain amount at a certain period of time, it is logical to try and invest at an entry price that can generate a high return. Paying too much can decrease those returns. A lower valuation also helps in selecting between different investment opportunities available in the marketplace.

The downside to having an investment discipline is that no investment approach is bulletproof. I play the odds when I buy securities, because in reality, not all investments will work out. Some investments may check all the boxes, but still turn out to be duds. Other investments may not look perfect, but surprise on the upside. The importance is to do well on average, over long periods of time ( think – decades).

I have not done investments in the past, where everything was perfect, but the valuation was just a tad over 20 times forward earnings. I used to avoid companies selling above 20 times earnings, which was equivalent to an earnings yield of 5%. For the period of 2008 - 2019, it has usually been the case that I could find quality companies at a P/E below 20. But I also missed quite a few too.

A very good example involves Starbucks (SBUX), which I had been monitoring in July 2018. The price was very close to my entry criteria at the time, but I didn’t invest in it, and it just ran away from me.

While I did not buy these companies for the Dividend Growth Investor Portfolio, I notified readers that I am looking at these opportunities. Some may have bought them, and profited nicely in the process. Others may have bought some later.

Another good example is Broadridge (BR), which I monitored closely in December 2018 and January 2019 as it was very close to being in the money. Unfortunately, the stock also ran away from me. I was able the buy some at the end of 2019 and in 2020 however, after monitoring it for a while and deciding it was fine to overpay a little. This happened after I wrote this article in early 2019.

A third example is PepsiCo (PEP), which was actually around 20 times forward earnings for a long period of time, but I dragged my feet and it ran away. I did buy some PepsiCo (PEP) for the first time in a long time in 2020 and then added a little more to the position.

On the other hand, I didn't invest in 3M (MMM) until it fell to or below 20 times forward earnings in 2018. While the stock's earnings were around $9 - $10/share, the stock price has fluctuated between 150 and 280.

Why am I writing this?

I see everything as a learning opportunity. This is a lesson to learn, that we cannot time the market. This is why we should stick to a process no matter what.

Investing is not a black and white process however. Investing is part art, and part science.

This is why we need to try and learn from any potential blind spots we may have. But the art part is not learning the lesson "too literally".

Sometimes, if a good company is identified at a decent valuation, it may make sense to buy the stock. This is not an excuse to buy stocks without looking of course. We sometimes learn lessons a little bit too literally, and the outcome may still be unfavorable. It merely means that sometimes, being too disciplined could be counter-productive. But if you stick to a battle-tested process that makes sense to you, you have the odds of success in your favor over the long term.

In other words, if a stock is going to be worth $100/share in a decade and would be paying a dividend of $4/share then, it does not really matter if I paid $40 for it or $41/share. The important factor is to get invested in that security.

If that security ultimately goes to zero in a decade, and eliminates dividends, it also makes little difference whether I waited to buy it at $39/share or overpaid at $41/share. While I do not actively try to buy companies that would go to zero, I do know that sometimes even the best laid plans have surprises for us.

The important model to have in my head is that P/E ratios should not be viewed in isolation, but neither should growth rates. They need to be looked at together. As Buffett has stated, value and growth are attached at the hip.

My observation over the past year is consistent with the observation from the past decade. There are usually companies that are almost always available at a good price. But there are also companies that are rarely available at a good enough entry price. As an investor, I should be focusing on snapping the ones that are rarely undervalued first, and then focusing on the ones that are frequently attractively valued. As we can see during the December 2018, and March 2020 declines can be quick and recoveries even quicker. Therefore it makes sense to have a list of companies that you want to own at a certain price, and then be ready to act if/when they are available.

While it has been an interesting lesson for me, I have started to be more willing to pay up for what I perceive as quality in 2020. I realize that this may sound like I am finally throwing the towel, but I disagree. Up until recently, a lot of good quality companies could have been found at a P/E of around 20. Even companies like Microsoft (MSFT), Moody's (MCO), Visa (V), Sherwin-Williams (SHW), S&P Global (SPGI) had long periods of time where they were available at or below 20 times forward earnings over the past decade. As rates have gone down, P/E ratios have gone up. Especially the P/E ratios for companies with earnings that can grow.

After writing this article in 2019, I actually bid for Broadridge (BR) in late 2019 and even managed to buy at a decent valuation in 2020. I have not been disappointed. It is still a learning curve however.

At the end of the day, you win some, and you lose some. But the most important lesson is to identify your investment goals and objectives, develop a process on how to achieve them, and then executive on the plan through thick and thin. Important ideas such as diversification, margin of safety and valuation are the friends of the long-term dividend investor. It is important not to abandon the process in search of quick gains, but stick to it, in order to achieve the investment goals and objectives. But it is even more important to go ahead and try to improve on that process over time, without taking lessons too literally, and remaining flexible in your approach.


Monday, April 26, 2021

Eight Dividend Growth Stocks Rewarding Shareholders With A Raise

I review the list of dividend increases as part of my monitoring process. I find it helpful to evaluate companies with a long streak of annual dividend increases of at least ten years. The process of checking the list of dividend increases every week helps me identify hidden dividend gems for further research.

 This process also helps me to review existing holdings, and update my research file for them. This is helpful whenever I have money to invest, since a recent dividend action is one of the inputs I use to establish whether I want to buy a stock.

During the past week, there were several companies that raised dividends to shareholders. I am mentioning the ones with at least a ten year streak of annual dividend increases in the article below:

The Southern Company (SO) engages in the generation, transmission, and distribution of electricity. It operates in four segments: Gas Distribution Operations, Gas Pipeline Investments, Wholesale Gas Services, and Gas Marketing Services

Southern Company raised its quarterly dividend by 3.12% to 66 cents/share, marking the 20th consecutive year of annual dividend increases. During the past decade, this dividend achiever has managed to grow dividends at an annualized rate of 3.50%.

Earnings grew from $2.55/share in 2011 to $2.93/share in 2020.  The company is expected to earn $3.31/share in 2021.

The stock sells for 19.71 times forward earnings and has a dividend yield of 4.04%.

The Travelers Companies, Inc. (TRV) provides a range of commercial and personal property, and casualty insurance products and services to businesses, government units, associations, and individuals in the United states and internationally. The company operates through three segments: Business Insurance, Bond & Specialty Insurance, and Personal Insurance.

Traveler’s Companies raised quarterly dividends by 3.50% to 88 cents/share, marking 17 consecutive years of dividend increases with a compound annual growth rate of 9% over that period.

This dividend achiever also added $5 billion to its existing 805 million share buyback program, which is equivalent to almost 15% of the company’s market capitalization. Unlike dividends however, the timing of buybacks is never certain.

Earnings grew from $3.36/share in 2011 to $10.52/share in 2020. The company is expected to earn $10.95/share in 2021.

The stock is selling for 14.41 times forward earnings and offers a current yield of 2.23%.

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) researches and develops, manufactures, and sells a range of products in the health care field worldwide.

Johnson & Johnson raised its quarterly dividend by 5% to $1.06/share. This marked the 59th consecutive year of dividend increases for this dividend king. During the past decade, Johnson & Johnson has managed to grow dividends at an annualized rate of 6.60%.

"Despite a year of unprecedented disruption, Johnson & Johnson remained committed to its established financial principles that strengthen our ability to drive long-term value for stakeholders. In recognition of our notable 2020 results, strong financial position and confidence in the future of Johnson & Johnson, the Board of Directors has voted to increase the quarterly dividend for the 59th consecutive year," said Alex Gorsky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company.

Earnings grew from $3.49/share in 2011 to $5.51/share in 2020. Earnings per share have had large one-time items deducted from them in recent years, which artificially suppress the profits. The company is expected to earn $9.56/share in 2021.

The stock sells for 17.32 times forward earnings and yields 2.56%.

Parker-Hannifin Corporation (PH) manufactures and sells motion and control technologies and systems for various mobile, industrial, and aerospace markets worldwide.

The company raised its quarterly dividend by 17% to $1.03/share.

"This dividend increase reflects the Board's confidence in our financial position and our continued ability to generate strong cash flows throughout the business cycle,” said Todd Leombruno, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.  “We remain committed to maintaining our record of increasing our annual dividend payout which now stands at 65 consecutive fiscal years and is among the top five longest-running dividend-increase records in the S&P 500 Index.”

This dividend king has a record of increasing its annual dividend payout for 65 consecutive fiscal years.

Parker-Hannifin has managed to grow dividends at an annualized rate of 12.60%.

Earnings grew from $6.37/share in 2011 to $9.29/share in 2020. The company is expected to earn $14.19/share in 2021.

The stock sells for 22.42 times forward earnings and yields 1.30%.

Bar Harbor Bankshares (BHB) operates as the holding company for Bar Harbor Bank & Trust that provides commercial, retail, and wealth management banking services.

The bank raised its quarterly dividend by 9.10% to 24 cents/share. This marked the 18th year of annual dividends increasing for this dividend achiever. Over the past decade, the bank has managed to grow dividends at an annualized rate of 6.60%.

Earnings grew from $1.27/share in 2011 to $2.18/share in 2020. 

The stock is selling for 13.52 times earnings and yields 3.26%.

J.B. Hunt Transport Services, Inc. (JBHT) provides surface transportation and delivery services in North America. It operates through five segments: Intermodal (JBI), Dedicated Contract Services (DCS), Integrated Capacity Solutions (ICS), Final Mile Services (FMS), and Truckload (JBT).

The company raised its quarterly dividend by 11.10% to 30 cents/share. This is the 17th year of consecutive annual dividend increases for this dividend achiever. Over the past decade, the company has managed to grow dividends at an annualized rate of 8.40%.

Earnings grew from $2.11/share in 2011 to $4.74/share in 2020. The company is expected to earn $6.54/share in 2021.

The stock  is selling at 25.88 times forward earnings and yields 0.71%.

Premier Financial Corp. (PFC) operates as the holding company for Premier Bank and First Insurance Group that provides community banking and financial services.

The company hiked its quarterly dividend by 8.30% to 26 cents/share. This is the tenth year of consecutive annul dividend increases for this newly minted dividend achiever. The ten year dividend growth is higher than the last hike, because the company eliminated dividends in late 2009 and paid no dividends in 2010. It initiated a small dividend at the end of 2011 and has been growing it since.

Earnings grew from $0.71/share in 2011 to $1.75/share in 2020. The company is expected to earn $3.22/share in 2021.

The stock is selling for 10.07 times forward earnings and yields 3.20%.

Whirlpool Corporation (WHR) manufactures and markets home appliances and related products. It operates through four segments: North America; Europe, Middle East and Africa; Latin America; and Asia. 

The company raised its quarterly dividend by 12% to $1.40/share. Annual dividends have increased each year since 2010, even though the company did not raise dividends in 2012. The company has raised dividends at an annualized rate of 10.90% over the past decade.

"I am pleased to announce that we are increasing our dividend for the ninth consecutive year and have approved a significant expansion of our share repurchase program," said Marc Bitzer, chairman and chief executive officer of Whirlpool Corporation. "These actions highlight the confidence we have in our business to continue generating strong levels of cash and reflect our continued commitment to creating strong shareholder value."

Earnings grew from $4.99/share in 2011 to $17.07/share in 2020. The company is expected to earn $23.63/share in 2021.

The company's Board of Directors also authorized an additional $2 billion share repurchase program. The new authorization is in addition to the $531 million unused portion of the previous program as of December 31, 2020. For reference, the market capitalization of Whirlpool is around $15 billion.

The stock is selling for 10.11 times forward earnings and yields 2.34%.

Relevant Articles:

- Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Hikes Dividends By 5%

Three Banks Raising Dividends to Shareholders

- Six Reliable Dividend Growth Stocks Rewarding Shareholders With Raises

Happy Coca-Cola Dividend Day Warren Buffett



Friday, April 23, 2021

How To Handle Declines In Share Prices

When stocks are volatile or start falling sharply. I start receiving an above average level of inquiries from readers, asking if now is the time to consider buying.

These questions are rational and logical. After all, a drop in stock prices definitely creates more opportunities to identify quality companies at a lower valuation. When you buy at lower prices, you lock in higher dividend yields from the start, and you can generate higher returns potentially than if you bought at higher prices. It is important to make sure that the dividends are secure of course, and there is sufficient earnings power behind them to cover the distribution.

It is possible that acting right away may be a wise move, if stocks rebound like they did after the December 2018 and March 2020 lows. However, you never know if stock prices may not go even lower from here, confusing everyone else who has been conditioned to just buy the dip over the past decade. It is always good to have a shopping list ready at all times however.

I believe that slowly adding on the way down may work ok. I usually do some buying every month because I invest when I have money to invest. I believe that regular investment each month in the best values I can find at the time beats sitting in cash, waiting for a crash. Time in the market beats timing the market.

I believe that investing regularly in companies available at nice entry valuations when you have the money is the best thing to do. It allows me to receive dividends earlier, and to get the longest possible compounding of earnings and dividends. I do not believe that in the grand scheme of things it would matter 20 - 30 years from now if I bought for example Altria (MO) at $45 or $55/share. If Altria ends up generating $200 in wealth per share over the next 20 years, the difference will not be much in entry price. If Altria goes to zero, it wont matter either if I bought at $45 or $55/share. Given forward earnings of $4.58 for 2021 and annual dividends of $3.44/share, I believe that the stock offers a good value at either price point. It has managed to grow earnings and dividends per share at a steady rate, albeit it has made some ill-timed acquisitions that I disagree with. But some good businesses can withstand some managerial missteps too, as they are resilient. 

That being said, this is also not an excuse to just buy at any valuation. I do look at P/E ratios, in conjunction with dividend yields, dividend and earnings growth, and bond yields in order to come up with a rough estimate of whether a stock is cheap or expensive. I cannot put it into a formula however. I do believe valuation is more art than science. You can read more about my valuation techniques here, though you should know that I also have evolved and have raised my P/E ratio requirement higher.

So while I doubt it would matter in the next 20 years whether I bought Altria at $45 or $55/share, it may matter if the P/E multiple is at 40, given the growth rate today. That means that I won't pay $180/share for Altria today. There are companies like Brown-Forman (BF.B) today that sell at that range. It does matter if I paid 40 times forward earnings for Brown-Forman today or 20 times earnings for Brown-Forman (BF-B) today. Given the forward earnings of $1.70/share for 2021 and annual dividends of 72 cents/share, I cannot make myself pay even $51/share today for this asset. There are other quality companies with similar growth trajectories and stability of earnings streams today, available at cheaper prices.

At the end of the day, what really matters is selecting companies that can grow earnings and dividends over time, which results in compounded returns on capital. In a previous article I compared  the impact of a regular investment in Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) at its lows to an investment in Johnson & Johnson at regular intervals. I found that the latter approach delivered returns which were not too bad relative to the perfect approach of buying into every bottom. As we know, no one can consistently buy at the bottom. However, we can all develop a strategy that we can follow with a level of consistency ( example being allocating money every month or so, through thick or thin). In retrospect, Johnson & Johnson was quite often attractively valued at that time as well.

Luckily, in the past 13 - 14 years that I have shared my thoughts on Dividend Growth Investing, I have always found at least 10 - 15 attractively valued companies to invest in every single month. This makes it easy to deploy funds in the best values I find at the moment no matter whether we are in a bull or bear market. It helps me to invest consistently, and focus on time in the market, not timing the market.

I believe that the ability to buy shares regularly at a good valuation is more important than getting the best price. Waiting for the best price may turn into market timing, which can lead to behavior errors. By keeping it simple and investing every month on a regular schedule, I will be able to build my portfolio through the ups and downs of investor sentiment, and I will be able to build out a diversified portfolio by taking advantage of stocks and sectors when they are temporarily out of favor. I have the power of compounding working for me for the longest period of time by investing regularly.




Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) Hikes Dividends By 5%

 Johnson & Johnson (JNJ), together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in the research and development, manufacture, and sale of various products in the health care field worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Devices & Diagnostics. This dividend king has paid dividends since 1944. Dividend increases have been like clockwork every year for decades. Check my analysis of Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) for more information about the company.

I just read that Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) has hiked dividends by 4.95% to $1.06/share. This marked the 59th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend kingThere are only 29 companies in the US which have managed to increase dividends annually for at least 50 years in a row.

Over the past decade, Johnson & Johnson has managed to grow dividends at an annualized rate of 6.60%/year.

When reviewing press releases that discuss dividend increases, I always find it helpful to see the tone from top management. I especially liked what the CEO had to say (Source: Press Release):

"Despite a year of unprecedented disruption, Johnson & Johnson remained committed to its established financial principles that strengthen our ability to drive long-term value for stakeholders. In recognition of our notable 2020 results, strong financial position and confidence in the future of Johnson & Johnson, the Board of Directors has voted to increase the quarterly dividend for the 59th consecutive year," said Alex Gorsky, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of the company.

This dividend increase is a testament to the stability of the business model. Johnson & Johnson was one of the first companies to raise dividends in April 2020, amidst the uncertainty of the Covid-19 pandemic. It has also delivered during the last few crises, such as during the Global Financial Crisis of 2007 - 2009. When other companies cite current conditions as unprecedented,  Johnson & Johnson actually can provide guidance on revenues and earnings. It is always reassuring to understand that long term fundamentals remain intact, no matter what life throws at this business.

The company lifted its 2021 guidance to $9.42 - $9.57/share. This strong performance is one of the reasons behind the 59th consecutive annual dividend increase. (Press Release)

The valuation seems fine today at 17.10 times forward earnings, albeit it would always be better if the stock is available at a lower price. The stock yields 2.60%.

Relevant Articles:

Monday, April 19, 2021

Seven Dividend Growth Stocks Raising Distributions to Shareholders Last Week

As part of my weekly review process, I monitor the list of dividend increases and focus on the companies with at least a ten year history of dividend increases. This process helps me to monitor existing positions, but also to identify companies for further research. 

It is also a good reminder about the companies that I never pulled the trigger on, despite understanding them. As an investor, I get to learn from mistakes I make, and hopefully improve over time. 

Over the past week, there were several companies that raised dividends. The companies with at least a ten year track record of annual dividend increases include:

The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) provides branded consumer packaged goods to consumers in North and Latin America, Europe, the Asia Pacific, Greater China, India, the Middle East, and Africa. It operates in five segments: Beauty; Grooming; Health Care; Fabric & Home Care; and Baby, Feminine & Family Care.

The company raised its quarterly dividend by 10% to 86.98 cents/share, as I reported earlier last week. This marked the 65th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend king

The company managed to grow earnings from $3.93/share in 2011 to $4.96/share in 2020. It is expected to earn $5.68/share in 2021.

Over the past decade, this dividend king has managed to increase annual dividends at an annualized rate of 5.20%.

The stock is selling for 24.15 times forward earnings and yields 2.30%.

Artesian Resources Corporation (ARTNA) provides water, wastewater, and other services in Delaware, Maryland, and Pennsylvania.

Artesian Resources raised its quarterly dividend by 1.50% to 26.10 cents/share. This marks the 25th consecutive year that this dividend champion has increased dividends.

Over the past decade, this dividend champion has managed to increase annual dividends at an annualized rate of 2.90%.

The company managed to grow earnings from $0.83/share in 2011 to $1.79/share in 2020. It is expected to earn $1.85/share in 2021.

The stock is selling for 22.44 times forward earnings and yields 2.48%.

Costco Wholesale Corporation (COST) engages in the operation of membership warehouses

Costco raised its quarterly dividend by 12.90% to 79 cents/share. This marks the 17th consecutive year of dividend increases for this dividend achiever.

Over the past decade, this dividend achiever has managed to increase annual dividends at an annualized rate of 13.20%.

The company managed to grow earnings from $3.30/share in 2011 to $9.02/share in 2020. It is expected to earn $9.95/share in 2021.

The stock is selling for 37.05 times forward earnings and yields 0.76%.

Costco seems overvalued today, but it has also seemed overvalued for a long time as well. This has prevented me from buying into the stock. They do tend to distribute special dividends to shareholders, and Charlie Munger is an executive there. The company is very well-run, and I believe I understand the business well.  The risk with paying 35 – 40 times forward earnings from the start is P/E compression. That’s when it takes a long period of time for the valuation to get back to normal, even if the business hums along nicely. You do not want to pay too much of a premium. 


Between 1999 - 2010, Costco stock basically returned nothing due to P/E compressing from 50 to 20.



Earnings per share went from 87 cents in 1999 to $2.92 in 2010. Perhaps that's why they initiated a dividend in 2004 and started buying back stock in 2005. But other than that, Costco has sold around a P/E of 30 for a long period of time.

AptarGroup, Inc. (ATR) provides a range of packaging, dispensing, and sealing solutions primarily for the beauty, personal care, home care, prescription drug, consumer health care, injectable, and food and beverage markets. The company operates through three segments: Pharma, Beauty + Home, and Food + Beverage.

AptarGroup (ATR) increased quarterly dividend by 5.60% to 38 cents/share, marking the 28th consecutive year of paying an increased annual dividend.

Over the past decade, this dividend champion has managed to increase annual dividends at an annualized rate of 8.10%.

The company managed to grow earnings from $2.65/share in 2011 to $3.91/share in 2020. It is expected to earn $4.05/share in 2021.

The stock is selling for 36.24 times forward earnings and yields 0.98%.

Donegal Group Inc. (DGICA) is an insurance holding company, provides personal and commercial lines of property and casualty insurance to businesses and individuals in the Mid-Atlantic, Midwestern, New England, and southern states. It operates through four segments: Investment Function, Personal Lines of Insurance, and Commercial Lines of Insurance.

Donegal Group (DGICA) raised quarterly dividends by 6.70% to 16 cents/share. The company has raised dividends for 18 years in a row. The B shares will pay 14.25 cents/share.

Over the past decade, this dividend achiever has managed to increase annual dividends at an annualized rate of 2.70%.

The company managed to grow earnings from $0.41/share in 2010 to $1.65/share in 2020. It is expected to earn $1.30/share in 2021.

The stock sells for 12.59 times forward earnings and yields 3.67%.

Quaint Oak Bancorp, Inc. (QNTO) operates as the holding company for Quaint Oak Bank that provides various banking products and services in Pennsylvania.

Quaint Oak Bancorp (QNTO) raised its quarterly dividend by 22.20% to 11 cents/share.  The annual dividend has increased for 13 years in a row, despite this being the first dividend hike since 2019.

Over the past decade, this dividend achiever has managed to increase annual dividends at an annualized rate of 20.10%.

The company managed to grow earnings from $0.33/share in 2011 to $1.61/share in 2020. 

The stock sells for 10.71 times earnings and yields 2.09%. This sounds like a small under the radar company, that few dividend investors are aware of. I would put it on my list for further research.

Aon plc (AON) is a professional services firm that provides advice and solutions to clients focused on risk, retirement, and health worldwide.

Aon (AON) raised its quarterly dividends by 10.90% to 51 cents/share.

Over the past decade, this dividend achiever has managed to increase annual dividends at an annualized rate of 11.50%.

Between 2011 and 2020, AON has managed to grow earnings from $2.87/share to $8.45/share. 

The stock is selling for 21.60 times forward earnings  and yields 0.78%. The company sounds like an interesting one to research.

Relevant Articles:

Dividend Achievers versus Dividend Contenders & Champions

- Procter & Gamble (PG) Increased Dividends by 10%

- Dividend Champions List for 2021

Dividend Kings List for 2021

Dividend Aristocrats List for 2021




Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Procter & Gamble (PG) Increased Dividends by 10%

The Procter & Gamble Company (PG) provides branded consumer packaged goods to consumers in North and Latin America, Europe, the Asia Pacific, Greater China, India, the Middle East, and Africa. It operates in five segments: Beauty; Grooming; Health Care; Fabric & Home Care; and Baby, Feminine & Family Care.


The company increased its quarterly dividend by 10% to 86.98 cents/share. This dividend increase will mark the 65th consecutive year that this dividend king has increased its dividend. The new quarterly dividend of 86.98 cents/share is almost exactly 10% higher from the prior dividend of 79.07 cents/share. Fractions make it possible to get even dividend raises on a percentage basis.

During the past decade, the company has managed to increase dividends at an annualized rate of 5.20%.



Source: Press Release

There are only 29 dividend kings in the US. Those are companies that have managed to increase their annual dividends every year for at least 50 years in a row.

This is also the 131st consecutive year that P&G has paid a dividend since its incorporation in 1890. The dividend demonstrates the company's commitment to rewarding long-term shareholders with cash dividends. The track record is undeniably a testament to the resilience of the P&G's business model, and the fact that it is relatively immune from recessions. Not even Covid-19 could disrupt the dividend growth for this dividend king!

The company is expected to generate $5.70/share in earnings in 2021. That being said, the core business is very stable, which means that long-term earnings power should not be affected. Based on forward earnings, it appears that the forward dividend payout ratio is a little lower than 61%, which means that the dividend is sustainable.

I applaud this dividend hike, which is surprising in its amount.

For a long time, I did not like the fact that earnings per share did not go anywhere since hitting a high of $4.26/share in 2009. This put a limit to dividend growth. As a result, I had mostly been a holder of the stock, and haven't added to my position since perhaps the first half of the 2010s. 

However, the company earned $4.96/share in 2020, and is projected to earn $5.70/share in 2021. It looks like a turnaround is in effect indeed, and long-term patient shareholders are now getting bigger dividend paychecks.

For reference, I have never in my life gotten a 10% raise from any job. Even if I worked 60 hours/week year-round, and worked weekends.

It is interesting to look at the company's performance over the past decade for perspective. The stock sold for approximately $60/share a decade ago, and paid a quarterly dividend of 48 cents/share, for an annual dividend yield of 3.20%. 

Fast forward to today, and the company is paying a quarterly dividend of almost 87 cents/share, for a total yield on cost of 5.80%. If we take dividend reinvestment into consideration, a $1,000 investment ten years ago would be generating $76.80 in annual dividend income today.



At the current price of $135.11/share, the stock seems overvalued at 24 times forward earnings. The stock yields 2.57%. P&G may be worth a second look on dips below $114/share.

Buffett's Folly and Opportunity Cost

Opportunity costs represent the potential benefits an individual, investor, or business misses out on when choosing one alternative over another. The idea of opportunity costs is a major concept in economics, as defined by Investopedia.

Opportunity costs can be easily overlooked if one is not careful, since they are not visible by definition. Understanding the potential missed opportunities foregone by choosing one investment over another allows for better decision-making.

Each decision we make as investors, carries an opportunity cost with it.

For example, if I invest in a portfolio of dividend aristocrats, my opportunity cost could be another investment within my opportunity set. For example, if my next door neighbor is Warren Buffett, I may have done better investing in his investment partnership or Berkshire Hathaway.

Even the Oracle of Omaha is subject to the same economic guidelines like us, ordinary investors. Every decision he makes carries with it an opportunity cost, which is the opportunity foregone by choosing one investment over another.

For example, back in February 1958, he bought a house for $31,500. His family was expanding, and his wife was about to give birth to their third child. 

As we discussed in a previous article on Buffett's earlier days, Buffett had rented a house on 5202 Underwood street in Omaha between 1955 and 1958 at a cost of $175/month. 

Today, this house is worth approximately $638,000 and has an estimated rent of $3906/month according to Zillow.

It is fascinating to read his opinion on housing from that time:

In Omaha, I rented a house at 5202 Underwood for $175 a month. I told my wife, “I’d be glad to buy a house, but that’s like a carpenter selling his toolkit.” I didn’t want to use up my capital.

Buffett had started his investment partnership in 1956, and was on his way to becoming one of the best investors in the world. 

A dollar invested in his partnership at the end of 1957, and then reinvested into Berkshire in 1970 would have turned into $113,349 through the end of 2020.

However, he and his wife decided to buy a house and closed at the beginning of 1958, according to this article: “Sam Reynolds Home Sold to Warren Buffett's,” Omaha World-Herald, February 9, 1958.



Using returns from Buffett Partnership LTD between 1957 - 1970 and Berkshire Hathaway between 1970 to 2020, I was able to calculate the opportunity cost of owning his home, versus staying invested.

I calculated that if he had simply invested that $31,500 in early 1958, he would have managed to turn it into $6,663,837,000. Check my calculations from this spreadsheet.

That's over six and a half billion dollars. That's a steep opportunity cost.

It was truly possible because Buffett managed to compound money at a high rate of return for a long period of time. 

For a normal person investing in something like S&P 500, the opportunity cost of buying a house would have been something close to $18 million.

What makes it worse is that he paid cash for the house, rather than taking a mortgage. He put about 10% of his net worth in the house, according to a 1998 Berkshire Hathaway meeting video.

By the way, Buffett has calculated the concept of opportunity cost of every dollar he spends since an early age. Few people think this way.

From the earliest age, Mr. Buffett has understood that building wealth depends not only on how much your money grows, but also on how long it grows.

He read a book that showed how a dollar compounding at a steady 10%/year can turn into $10.80 in 25 years and $117.40 in 50 years.

As a result, Warren began to think about time in a different way. Compounding married the present to the future. If a dollar today was going to be worth 10 some years from now, then in his mind the two were the same.

“Do I really want to spend $300,000 for this haircut?” was his attitude. If Susie wanted to spend some trifling sum of money, he would say, “I’m not sure I want to blow $500,000 that way.”48 But since Susie wanted to spend money that he wanted to withhold, and since he wanted Susie to be happy and she wanted to please him, their personalities were gradually meshing into a system of bargaining and trades.

In other words, he knew that each dollar he spends today could turn into $10 or $100 or $1000 in the future. That was helpful for him in evaluating trade-offs. While there is opportunity costs to various activities, if they made his wife happy, he had to do them. I am pretty sure that he would gladly accept the daily cost of six cherry cokes over the past 70 years, over having to drink water for example.

This shouldn't really be news for Dividend Growth Investors, who understand that with compounding, the largest results are visible at the end of your journey, after a long time of compounding.

A few weeks after buying the house however, Buffett called it "Buffett's Folly" in a letter to a friend, as discussed in " The Snowball":

With momentum behind him, Warren realized it was time to leave a house where there was barely room for a family with two young children—one an unusually energetic three-and-a-half-year-old—and a third on the way. The Buffett's bought their first house. It stood on Farnam Street, a Dutch Cape set back on a large corner lot overlooked by evergreens, next to one of Omaha’s busiest thoroughfares. While the largest house on the block, it had an unpretentious and charming air, with dormers set into the sloping shingled roof and an eyebrow window. Warren paid $31,500 to Sam Reynolds, a local businessman, and promptly named it “Buffett’s Folly.” 

In his mind $31,500 was a million dollars after compounding for a dozen years or so, because he could invest it at such an impressive rate of return. Thus, he felt as though he were spending an outrageous million dollars on the house.

After reading this article, and seeing the calculation behind the $6.6 billion opportunity cost for Buffett's purchase of a house in 1958 for $31,500, you may actually wonder whether I have included the whole picture in the calculation.

After all, once you buy a house, you get to live in it, without paying rent.

I didn't include the amount of rent in the calculation of the opportunity cost. That's because I didn't know what the rent would have been for his house over the past 63 years.

While it is hard to quantify the amount of money you could have saved on rent for 63 years by buying a house, it is even harder to quantify the amount of taxes, renovations, upkeep etc.  For example, upgrading the house, changing roofs, and landscaping, fixing things around the house cost time and money. If you outsource this task to a handyman, this will cost money too, and eat into some of the savings that you generate by owning a house free and clear. Since I didn't want to make too many estimates, I didn't even try.

However, I am pretty confident that Buffett's family spent more in upkeep on this house than the amount they would have saved on rent. That's because immediately after buying the house for $31,500, Buffett's wife Susan spent $15,000 on renovations. This was half the cost of the house!

Even illness and the demands of caring for a new baby and two small children could not suppress her urge to decorate. As it sprang to life, she redid the house in cheery contemporary style, with chrome-and-leather furniture and huge, bright modern paintings covering the white walls. The $15,000 decorating bill totaled almost half of what the house itself had cost, which “just about killed Warren,” according to Bob Billig, a golfing pal.47 He didn’t notice colors or respond to visual aesthetics and so was indifferent to the result, seeing only the outrageous bill.

In Buffett's case, he is not as frugal as everyone makes him out to be. He spent $12,000/year in the 1950s in Omaha.  That's equivalent to a little over $116,000 today. Still, spending $15,000 on a renovation would have likely sunk his budget dramatically, given his annual level of spending. 

If we wanted to calculate the opportunity cost of spending $31,500 on a house in early 1958, coupled with spending $15,000 on renovations in 1958, I see a total opportunity cost of $8.9 billion by the end of 2020.

According to public property records, there was a remodeling done in 1989. I am not versed in residential tax assessor language, but it looks like the tax assessment shows close to $800,000 in improvements. 

Just for reference, each dollar from 1956 has the same purchasing power as $9.72/ today. A dollar from 1958 has the same purchasing power as $9.18 today.

So in other words, that $31,500 house in 1958 costs $289.200 in today's dollars. According to Zillow, his house costs about $1,390,000 today and would rent for $7,119/month. Still, this is lower than the $6.6 billion he would have had, if he rented instead, and invested the money.

This post will trigger a lot of people. That's because owning a home is a sacred tradition, which people are expected to hold on to, and teach the new generations about. Few people think about the opportunity cost of actions they partake, through a rational lens, without taking any emotions but focusing on the cold, hard, mathematical facts. We are human after all.

But that's what makes Warren Buffett.. well.. Warren Buffett.

That being said, if you want to improve on your decision making, and become the best version of yourself, it may be helpful to incorporate the concept of opportunity cost in your toolbelt. 

Thank you for reading!

Relevant Articles:

- Warren Buffett: America's Youngest Early Retiree

- Understanding Compounding and Getting Rich Late in Life



Monday, April 12, 2021

Invest in Products People Love

A lot of times the best investment ideas are right under our noses. As individual investors and everyday consumers, we have an edge over Wall Street, because we can spot emerging products and services and get a feel for them early in the game. Other times, we may see products that seem to be dull or mundane, but enjoy a steady stream of recurring loyal customer purchases that grows over time.

In my experience, I have encountered an interesting phenomenon. Namely, that when I see company whose products or services are loved by customers, it is usually a good idea for further research. Now this may not always be a dividend growth company, but the principle still stands. 

It makes intuitive sense why a company whose products or services are loved by customers would be a good investment idea at the right price. If customers love that product, then you have an intangible moat around, especially if it is one of a kind.

On the other hand, you should not throw all common sense out of the window either. You still need to review the financials, make sure that the business is on solid footing, and make sure you are not massively overpaying for future growth.

Examples of companies I’ve observed where people love the product is chocolate or alcohol.

People love Lindt, they love Hershey (HSY), or Cadbury (MDLZ) or Lindt. They may also love Doritos (PEP).

People love Johnnie Walker Whiskey or Jack Daniels or Jim Beam or Heineken. They may love Coca-Cola (KO) or Pepsi (PEP) or some energy drink like Monster (MNST)

People love Apple (AAPL) products and wait in lines for a new phone release.

Some people love shopping at certain types of stores like T.J. Maxx (TJX), Target (TGT) or even Home Depot (HD) or Dollar General (DG). Costco (COST) members love shopping there.

Others love Chipotle (CMG), or Buffalo Wild Wings, Taco Bell (YUM) or McDonald’s (MCD).

Even during the pandemic and lockdowns, people lined up to buy their Starbucks (SBUX) coffee. This ought to tell us something.

These are just a few examples that came to mind as I was brainstorming. It's good to be on the lookout for good tasting products, which can be added to your list for future research. This is one of the methods I use to come up with investing ideas.

British fund manager Nick Train has a saying that if a company’s product tastes good, you should buy it:

The performance over the years of the holdings in AG Barr, Diageo, Heineken, Mondelez, Remy Cointreau and Unilever confirm the validity of this simple but powerful proposition. Indeed, Mondelez’ Oreos, Unilever’s Hellmann’s and Magnum and Remy cognac have all done particularly well during the pandemic (and boosted the shares of their owners) as consumers have turned to home cooking and consoling treats. Accordingly we are always alert to opportunities to add beloved or trusted consumer brands to the portfolio and over the last 18 months have initiated holdings in Fever-Tree, whose products definitely taste good and in PZ Cussons (“PZC”) whose products definitely don’t. Nonetheless, the general principle still holds for PZC. The same affection that drinkers have for Tanqueray, or chocaholics for Cadbury, is shown in the trust and reliance consumers have placed in PZC’s biggest brand, Carex – the UK’s #1 hand sanitizer – with spectacular growth this year.

The team at Ash Park seems to have confirmed that with some of their research. For example, investing in Swiss Chocolate company Lindt & Sprungli would have resulted in some sweet dividends and total returns for its shareholders over the past 50 years:


Relevant Articles:

- How to find companies for my dividend portfolio

How to get dividend investment ideas


Wednesday, April 7, 2021

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger on Leverage

Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger need no introduction. If you do, please check the Wikipedia entries for each fellow.

I am a big fan of both gentleman, and have been going through old annual reports, speeches and meeting transcripts and interviews to learn more from them about business, investing and life.

They are amazing at summarizing complex financial topics into a few paragraphs that could be understood by anyone.

As both of them has been investing for decades, they have a ton of experience and insights that we can all learn from.

One topic I recently discussed involved short selling. Another one is leverage, or the use of borrowed money to buy securities.

Warren has spoken about the dangers of using leverage. 

He has said the following about Long Term Capital Management, the hedge fund ran by Nobel Prize Laureates and PhD’s, which blew up in 1998. It turned out it was heavily leveraged.

"But to make money they didn’t have and didn’t need, they risked what they did have and did need. That is foolish. That is just plain foolish. It doesn’t make any difference what your IQ is. If you risk something that is important to you for something that is unimportant to you it just does not make any sense."

“If you’re smart you don’t need leverage; if you’re dumb, it will ruin you.”

It is crazy in my view to borrow money on securities. It’s insane to risk what you have and need for something you don’t really need… You will not be way happier if you double your net worth.

Leverage can magnify returns if you are right, but it can also lead to ruin if you are wrong. If you invest smartly you don’t need the leverage to begin with. And if you do use it, watch out below. 

Charlie Munger is also not a fan of leverage:

We’re just not interested in taking a substantial chance of taking a lot of very decent people back to “Go” so we can have one more zero on our net worth.

Buffett has quoted Charlie on leverage as well “My partner Charlie says there is only three ways a smart person can go broke: liquor, ladies and leverage,” he said. “Now the truth is — the first two he just added because they started with L — it’s leverage.”

This interview with Buffett, summarizes his thought process on using leverage when investing in equities.


Buffett has also discussed leverage in more detail during a 1998 speech at Florida University. I have posted the transcript portion that discussed Long-Term Capital Management, the hedge fund that used excessive leverage, and lost almost all money during the summer of 1998, when Russia defaulted on its debt. While history doesn't repeat, the recent news of investor Bill Hwang who used excessive leverage and blew up recently is a stark reminder that smart people should not be using leverage: (Source for Transcript)

The whole Long Term Capital Management – I hope most of you are familiar with it – the whole story is really fascinating because if you take John Meriwether, Eric Rosenfeld, Larry Hillenbrand, Greg Hawkins, Victor Haghani, the two Nobel prize winners Merton Scholes… If you take the 16 of them, they probably have as high an average IQ as any 16 people working together in one business in the country, including Microsoft or where ever you want to name. So an incredible amount of intellect in that room. Now you combine that with the fact that those 16 had had extensive experience in the field they were operating in. These were not a bunch of guys who had made their money, you know, selling men’s clothing and all of a sudden went into the securities business. They had in aggregate, the 16, probably had 350 or 400 years of experience doing exactly what they were doing. And then you throw in the third factor that most of them had virtually all their very substantial net worths in the business. So they had their own money up. Hundreds and hundreds of millions of dollars of their own money up, super high intellect, working in a field they knew, and essentially they went broke. That to me is absolutely fascinating.

If I ever write a book it will be called “Why Smart People Do Dumb Things”. My partner says it should be autobiographical. But this might be an interesting illustration. These are perfectly decent guys. I respect them and they helped me out when I had problems at Salomon. They are not bad people at all.

But to make money they didn’t have and didn’t need, they risked what they did have and did need. That is foolish. That is just plain foolish. It doesn’t make any difference what your IQ is. If you risk something that is important to you for something that is unimportant to you it just does not make any sense. I don’t care whether the odds are 100 to 1 that you succeed or 1000 to 1 that you succeed. If you hand me a gun with a million chambers in it, and there’s one bullet in a chamber and you said, “Put it up to your temple. How much do want to be paid to pull it once,” I’m not going to pull it. You can name any sum you want, but it doesn’t do anything for me on the upside and I think the downside is fairly clear. So I’m not interested in that kind of a game. Yet people do it financially without thinking about it very much.

There was a lousy book written once with a great title by Walter Gutman. The title was “You Only Have to Get Rich Once”. Now that seems pretty fundamental doesn’t it? If you got $100 million at the start of the year and you’re going to make 10% if you are unleveraged and 20% if you are leveraged 99 times out of a 100, what difference does it make at the end of the year whether you got $110 million or $120 million? It makes no difference at all. I mean, if you die at the end of the year, the guy who writes the story might make a typo and he may say 110 even if you have 120. You have gained nothing at all. It makes absolutely no difference. It makes no difference to your family. It makes no difference to anything.

Yet, the downside, particularly managing other people’s money, is not only losing all your money, but it’s disgrace, humiliation, and facing friends whose money you have lost. I just can’t imagine an equation that makes sense for. Yet 16 guys with very high IQs, who were very decent people, entered into that game. You know, I think it’s madness. It’s produced by an over reliance to some extent on things. Those guys would tell me back when I was at Salomon, “A six sigma event wouldn’t touch us. Or a seven sigma event.” They were wrong. History does not tell you the probability of future financial things happening. They had a great reliance on mathematics. They felt that the beta of the stock told you something about the risk of the stock. It doesn’t tell you a damn thing about the risk of the stock in my view. Sigma’s do not tell you about the risk of going broke in my view and maybe in their view now too.

But I don’t even like to use them as an example because the same thing in a different way could happen to any of us probably, where we really have a blind spot about something that is crucial, because we know a whole lot about something else. It is like Henry Kauffman said the other day, “The people who are going broke in this situation are of two types, the ones who knew nothing and the ones who knew everything.” It’s sad in a way.


You do not want to risk everything, merely to have a higher net worth, when that additional net worth won’t improve your standard of living markedly. And if you lose it, your standard of living would be markedly downgraded.

I believe investors should not be in a hurry to get rich quickly, but to enjoy the journey. After all, it usually can take 10 - 15 - 20 years of meticulous saving and smart investing to reach financial independence. There are no shortcuts in investing. While taking on leverage may seem like a way to speed up the journey in some cases, it also exposes the investor to other risks and may cause them to worry about stock price fluctuations, instead of taking advantage of them.

I have used leverage in the past, and generally made money doing it. I used somewhere between 10% - 20% margin, using low cost broker Interactive Brokers

In other words, if I had a portfolio worth $100,000, I would buy $25,000 worth of stock on margin. If my average yield was 3%, and the cost to borrow was 2%, I would essentially increase my dividend income from $3,000 to $3,750, before deducting $500 for interest. My dividend income alone would pay off the margin within a few years, without even considering the impact of dividend increases.

If stocks fell by 50%, that means that the portfolio is worth $62,500, but has $25,000 margin loan against it. That's now a 40% margin. The friendly broker may tighten margin requirements, and start selling your stock to protect themselves. With margin, you are exposing your portfolio to additional risks, namely the risk that a falling stock price may cause you to sell, which is the opposite of what an intelligent investor does. Callable leverage is dangerous, as it increases the requirements on your end, the moment your positions are going against you.

The problem is that brokers do not want to let you have too much borrowed money. If falling stock prices caused the value of my portfolio to fall below a certain amount, I could face a margin call, and the broker would sell my stock. If the stock recovered, I would have ended up trading my my long-term advantage of being a patient long-term investor who can weather any turbulence in the markets and the economy, merely to increase my income by a few basis points. Margin can turn my advantage into a disadvantage.

When I buy a stock, the most I can lose is 100%. If I buy a stock on margin however, my theoretical losses can be higher than 100%, I am margined to the tilt, and if that stock gaps down and the broker is unable to sell it quickly enough. You can also lose money on margin if a stock falls down enough to trigger a margin call, and then bounce back. As we know, stocks do not go up or down in a straight line. The prices oscillate wildly above and beyond what a reasonable business analyst would estimate for their fair value. Dividends on the other hand are much more stable, because they are derived directly from fundamentals. Unlike prices, which are someone's perceptions on what the fundamentals are going to be, dividends are actual fundamental evidence.

When I used margin, I realized that when stock prices went down, I started wondering whether new cash contributions should be used to cover margin or buy more stock. So I gradually used dividends to pay off my margin loan, and stopped doing margin. I also realized that a 10% or 25% margin is not really going to increase my future returns that much, so the risk was not worth it for me. If you decide that you want to try margin, I would try to read up as much as possible on the topic first, and consider the any other risks out there that I have missed. The interesting fact is that using margin made me much more emotional about the ups and downs of the stock market. In other words, I was listening to the manic-depressive Mr Market, instead of ignoring him, unless he offered me an opportunity I cannot resist. Most folks feel safe to use margin when stocks are high, and may be at risk of a correction. If they panic when stocks have that correction, since their losses are amplified by the amount of borrowed money, they may end up buying high and selling low.

At the end of the day, I believe that the quest for financial independence or retirement is a journey that needs to be enjoyed, not a destination. There are no shortcuts to reach your goals and objectives. It takes time, patience, perseverance and focusing on things within your control to reach those goals. Do not be in a hurry to get rich quick. Taking unnecessary risks may actually increase the risk of never reaching the end goal or reaching it at a slower pace, if you get lost along the way. 

In addition, I believe that you only need to get rich once. The habits you formed on your quest to reach your financial goals should hopefully carry you for the next phase of your journey. Which is why I believe that margin is to be avoided.

Relevant Articles:


Monday, April 5, 2021

Three Banks Raising Dividends to Shareholders

As part of my review process, I monitor the list of dividend increases every week. I usually focus on the companies with at least a ten year history of annual dividend increases, in order to focus on more established dividend payers.

During the past week, there were three banks that raised dividends. While large banks cannot raise dividends until June 30, 2021, smaller banks have been delivering raises to their shareholders. Many of these banks also weathered the 2007 – 2009 financial crisis as well. 

The companies raising dividends last week include:

Bank OZK (OZK) provides various retail and commercial banking services.

Bank OZK raised its quarterly dividend by 0.90% to 28 cents/share.  This is a 3.70% raise over the dividend paid during the same time last year.  Over the past decade, Bank OZK has managed to boost dividends at an annualized rate of 21.80%.

Bank OZK is a dividend champion with a 26 year track record of annual dividend increases.

Between 2011 and 2020, Bank OZK managed to grow earnings from $1.47/share to $2.26/share. The bank is expected to earn $3.24/share in 2021.

The stock is selling for 12.54 times forward earnings and yields 2.76%.

Glacier Bancorp, Inc. (GBCI) operates as the bank holding company for Glacier Bank that provides commercial banking services to individuals, small to medium-sized businesses, community organizations, and public entities in the United States.

Glacier Bancorp raised is quarterly dividends by 3.30% to 31 cents/share. The new dividend is up by 6.90% over the payment during the same time last year. This marked the 10th consecutive annual dividend increase for this dividend contender. Over the past decade, the company has managed to increase dividends at an annualized rate of 8.50%.

Between 2011 and 2020, Glacier Bancorp managed to grow earnings from $0.24/share to $2.81/share. The bank is expected to earn $2.63/share in 2021.

The stock is selling for 22.24 times forward earnings and yields 2.12%.

Hingham Institution for Savings (HIFS) provides various financial products and services to individuals and businesses in the United States. 

Hingham Institution for Savings raised its quarterly dividend by 4.30% to 49 cents/share.  This is also a 16.67% increase over the dividend paid during the same time last year.

The bank has consistently increased regular quarterly cash dividends over the last twenty-six years. The Bank has also declared special cash dividends in each of the last twenty-six years, typically in the fourth quarter. Their dividend track record is based on declaration date.

Between 2011 and 2020, HIFS managed to grow earnings from $5.67/share to $23.25/share.  The bank earned $23.25/share in 2020. No forward earnings estimates exist for this bank, as it is not covered by Wall Street Analysts.

The stock is selling for 12 times earnings and yields 0.69%.

Relevant Articles:




Thursday, April 1, 2021

Happy Coca-Cola Dividend Day Warren Buffett

Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway just received a  dividend check for $168 million dollar from Coca-Cola.

Berkshire Hathaway owns 400 million shares of Coca-Cola (KO), which are projected to generate $672 million in annual dividend income. 

This comes out to roughly $1.841 million in dividend income per day, $76,712 dollars in dividend income per hour, $1278 dollars in dividend income for Berkshire Hathaway every minute, or almost $21.31 every single second. 

Those shares have a cost basis of $1.29 billion dollars, and were acquired between 1988 – 1994. This comes out to $3.25/share. The annual dividend payment produces an yield on cost of over 51.70%. This means that Berkshire receives its original cost back every other year in dividends alone, while still retaining full ownership of its shares. This is why I believe that Warren Buffett is a closet dividend investor.

Since 1994, Buffett has received $21.45/share in total dividend income from Coca-Cola.

That is $8.580 billion in dividend income, against a total cost of $1.299 billion, which was allocated to buy stakes in other businesses and shares.

His Coca-Cola stock is worth $21.216 billion. Given the fact that Coca-Cola has also repurchased stock over the years, it also means that his ownership in Coca-Cola has increased over time, without adding a single dime.

This is a testament to the power of long-term dividend investing, where time in market is the investors best ally, not timing the market. If you can select a business which is run by able and honest management, which has solid competitive advantages, and which is available at a good price today, one needs to only sit and let the power of compounding do the heavy lifting for them. As Buffett likes to say, time is a great ally for the good business. In the case of Coca-Cola, the past 33 years have been a great time to buy and hold the stock. The company has been able to tap emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America like never before. As a result, it has been able to receive a higher share of the worldwide drinks market, which has also been expanding as well. If you add in strategic acquisitions, new product development, cost containment initiatives and streamlining of operations, you have a very powerful force for delivering solid shareholder returns. With dividend investing your are rewarded for smart decisions you have made years before.

If they closed the stock market for a period of 10 years, Buffett would still be earning steady cashflow from his investment in Coca-Cola. This is because ten years from now, the company would likely be earning more than what it is earning today, and would likely be distributing more in dividend income than it is paying to shareholders today. Receiving a huge dividend check every three months is a reminder that you are a shareholder in a real company with real products that are consumed by billions of consumers worldwide. The stock is not a lottery ticket but a partial ownership in a company, which entitles you to a share of the profits being paid out to you as a shareholder in the form of dividends.

At the end of the day, if you identify a solid business, that has lasting power for the next 20 – 30 years, the job of the investor is to purchase shares at attractive values, and hold on to it. This slow and steady approach might seem unexciting initially, but just like with the story of the slow-moving tortoise beating the fast moving hare, the power of compounding would work miracles for the patient dividend investor.

In the case of Warren Buffett's investment in Coca-Cola, he is able to recover his original purchase price in dividends alone, every two years. Even if Coca-Cola goes to zero tomorrow, he has generates a substantial returns from dividends alone, which have flown to Berkshire's coffers, and have been invested in a variety of businesses that will benefit Berkshire Hathaway's shareholders for generations to come.

Currently, Coca-Cola is selling for 24.70 times forward earnings and yields 3.17%. This dividend king has managed to increase dividends for 59 years in a row.  

There are only 29 companies in the entire world which have gained membership into the exclusive list of dividend kings. Over the past decade, Coca-Cola has managed to increase dividends by 6.40%/year, equivalent to dividend payments doubling every eight and a half years. This is much better than the raises I have received at work over the past decade, despite the fact that I have routinely spent 55 - 60 hour weeks at the office.

Full Disclosure: Long KO and one share of BRK.B

Relevant Articles:

Coca-Cola: A wide-moat dividend growth stock to buy and hold
Warren Buffett Investing Resource Page
Seven wide-moat dividends stocks to consider
Warren Buffett’s Dividend Stock Strategy
The importance of yield on cost

Popular Posts