Genuine Parts Company (NYSE:GPC) distributes automotive replacement parts, industrial replacement parts, office products, and electrical/electronic materials in the United States, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and Canada. This dividend king has paid dividends since 1948 and has managed to increase them for 58 years in a row.
The company's latest dividend increase was announced in February 2014 when the Board of Directors approved a 7% increase in the quarterly dividend to 57.50 cents /share. The company's peer group includes W.W. Grainger (NYSE:GWW), Autozone (NYSE:AZO) and Advanced Auto Parts (NYSE:AAP).
Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annualized total return of 14% to its shareholders.
The company has managed to deliver an 8% average increase in annual EPS over the past decade. Genuine Parts Company is expected to earn $4.60 per share in 2014 and $4.93 per share in 2015. In comparison, the company earned $4.40/share in 2013.
Genuine Parts Company does have a record of consistent share repurchases. Between 2004 and 2014, the number of shares decreased from 176 million to 156 million.
Future growth could be driven by acquisitions, expansions in same-store sales and somewhat by adding new locations. The company's near term prospects should be aided by sales growth, triggered by the expansion in the US economy. It should also be able to leverage its distribution networks to increase sales in acquired companies. Margins should also be higher on cost cutting and higher volumes. Longer term the company could benefit from increased complexity of vehicles and the rising number of automobiles. The company seems to be very conservative in its finances and has a low level of debt coupled with strong cash flow from operations to fund future dividend increases. The industry will force a lot of smaller competitors out, which could result in more opportunities for Genuine Parts Company. Long-term growth will be driven by internal growth and acquisitions.
The annual dividend payment has increased by 6.20% per year over the past decade, which is lower than the growth in EPS.
A 6% growth in distributions translates into the dividend payment doubling every twelve years on average. If we check the dividend history, going as far back as 1983, we could see that Genuine Parts Company has actually managed to double dividends every ten years on average.
The dividend payout ratio has decreased slightly from 53% in 2004 to under 49% by 2013. 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 return on equity has been on a rise from 16.30% in 2004 to 21.60% in 2013. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time.
Currently, the stock is attractively valued, as it trades at a forward P/E of 19 and yields 2.70%. I would consider initiating a position on dips, and subject to availability of funds.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it. I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.