The volatility that has existed in the business environment over the past few years is expected to persist in the coming days. As such, utilities companies like Exelon Corporation (EXC), food services Kraft (KRFT) and Kellogg (K) and many companies in the other industries have been forced to cut their full year outlook as they have encountered problems generating top line growth. However, the stock market always provides attractive options for dividend investors to put their bets on. In this article, I choose four companies from the Leisure industry. This industry has consistently performed well over the years, and in the last year alone, its total returns are standing at 25.10%.
These companies have strong business models, and smart investing strategies to generate consistent top and bottom line growth with the leisure products and services they are offering. Consequently, they have the potential to generate the massive cash flows needed to keep returning significant cash to investors. I believe these stocks can help mitigate the unpredictability of one's investment portfolio. Let's dig into each stock to examine just how safe these companies are in generating steady returns.
Hasbro Inc. (HAS), the first stock in this collection, provides children's and family leisure time and entertainment products and services, including the design, manufacture and marketing of toys and games, digital media, lifestyle licensing, publishing and entertainment, including television programming and motion pictures. Hasbro's focus is on increasing its owned and controlled brands, developing innovative products that respond to market changes, offering different entertainment experiences and optimizing efficiencies within the company to enlarge operating margins and uphold a strong balance sheet. Hasbro also seeks to grow its business in entertainment, licensing and digital gaming, and its recent acquisition of mobile game developer Backflip Studios, LLC is a step in that direction. Combined with other growth initiatives, Hasbro is also looking to streamline its organization and focus on opportunities within its franchise and partner brand portfolio across its international brand blueprint.
Consequently, through the company's innovative launches and expansion into faster growing geographic regions, Hasbro's share in emerging markets has grown by 22% at the end of this latest quarter. These strategic initiatives are leading the company to generate increasing top and bottom line growth in each quarter and, thus, increasing cash flows, as well. The company's free cash flows are covering dividend payments, which allowed it to increase dividends by 100% in the past five years. Recently, it has initiated a repurchase program of $500 million of outstanding stock, which will further enhance both dividends and EPS. As the company's growth initiative and return in solid financial performance has increased investor confidence, the stock price has gone up by 116% in the past five years. With Hasbro's strong brand recognition and smart investment strategy, I strongly believe that the company will continue to generate a solid financial performance in the coming days.
Mattel, Inc (MAT) designs, manufactures and markets a variety of toy products, including fashion dolls, toy cars, electrical vehicles and infant and preschool products, among others. With the objective to generate consistent growth in top and bottom line, Mattel is working on a smart business strategy designed to generate steady growth by increasing entertainment partnerships, continued investment in its core brands, leveraging its global footprint and building new franchises. With this strategy, it is seeking to maintain gross margin on sales at around 50%, which further allows it to generate massive cash flows. By executing this strategy, in the recent quarter, the company has increased sales by 6% and its gross margin was high at 53.8% of sales, while the net margin was at 19% of sales. With growth like this, the company's cash potential has been considerably enhanced. Over the past three years, Mattel has increased its dividend by 56%, but free cash flows are still doubled its dividend payments over the past twelve months, offering still more potential for future increases. This attractive performance is keeping the company's stock in upward momentum, and it has gained around 75% in the past three years alone. Finally, with its strong array of innovative products, content and promotions, Mattel will continue to generate growth and long-term shareholder value.
Six Flags Inc. (SIX) is a theme park operator. It owns and operates regional theme, water and zoological parks. Of its 18 regional theme and water parks, 16 are situated in the U.S., one Canada, and one Mexico. Combined with other eye-catching entertainment conveniences, the parks also offer game venues, retail outlets and restaurants, providing a complete, family-oriented entertainment experience. Six Flags generate revenue from ticket sales for entry to its parks, as well as from the sale of food and beverages, parking, merchandise, games and other goods and services inside the parks.
Six Flags is spending around 9% of its revenue on its parks to achieve high guest satisfaction ratings and, thanks to this strategy, over the past 14 consecutive quarters; they have successfully generated record revenue, EBITDA and EPS. This solid growth in sales and earnings enables the company to generate hefty cash flows to return significant cash to shareholders. In the TTM, it has managed to return $131.4 million in dividends and $504 million in the form of buybacks. Since its initial dividend in 2010, the company has managed to increase its dividend from 0.015/share to 0.47 in the current quarter. The share price is also following a similar trend, having gained around 154% in the past five years. Trading at 14 times to earnings, Six Flags look like a safe pick for big returns.
Cinemark Holdings (CNK) is one of the top players in the motion picture exhibition industry, with theaters in the U.S., Mexico, Peru, Chile, Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Nicaragua, Ecuador, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Honduras, and Panama. Cinemark generates revenue from box-office receipts and concession sales, as well as from screen advertising sales, meeting rentals, vendor marketing promotions and electronic video games. Its recent contracts with NCM have led it to further expand offerings to domestic advertisers. Further, Cinemark's recent acquisition of the 32 Rave theaters expanded its domestic theater base into seven new markets and one new state. Given all of this, in the recent quarter, it has generated massive 19.6% growth in revenues.
At the moment, Cinemark offers a quarterly dividend of 0.25/share, yielding at 3.11%, and its dividends look safe to me as they are completely covered with free cash flows. The company's strong growth in the top line and massive dividend increases have been appreciated by investors, as in the last five years, their stock price has grown by around 83%. I further believe, with an EPS growth estimate of 28% for this full year, and 32% in the following year, Cinemark has a lot of upside potential.