One of the nation’s oldest companies has been a good dividend stock candidate for years and is still one today. This company has increased its dividend for 54 consecutive years. That’s a remarkable streak, considering the number of recessions in the United States economy over that time period. If you think that’s impressive, consider the fact that the company has issued a distribution to shareholders for 120 years.
The company in question is Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG).
Procter & Gamble is the world’s largest consumer products manufacturer. You name it and Procter & Gamble makes it, from household cleaning products to batteries and toothpaste. The company is an earnings juggernaut.
Bounty, Gillette, Braun, Head & Shoulders, Oral-B, Tide, Pampers, Pringles, Dawn, Downy, Duracell, Gain, Fusion, Pantene, Crest, Glade, Mr. Clean, Old Spice, Pepto Bismol, Scope, Secret, Puffs, Tampax, Vicks, Ivory, Iams, Wella, and Joy ... those are just a few of Procter & Gamble’s biggest brands.
The company has generated nearly $80 billion dollars in sales each of the past three years. Net income has come in over $12 billion dollars each of the past three years as well. Procter & Gamble has a $170 billion dollar market cap. Gross margins came in at 51.3%, which is slightly lower than their levels the previous year. Operating margins were down to 19.7% for the first time in four years.
Shares currently trade at 2.7 times book value, 2.3 times sales, and 16.6 times earnings, and 13.6 times free cash flow. Shares trade at 13.7 times forward earnings. All of these ratios are lower than the industry average except for price to sales. Growth was up 1.5% last quarter, which is encouraging after two years of negative revenue growth.
Procter & Gamble currently pays out $1.93 per share in the form of dividends, which equates to a 3.2% dividend. A yield over 3% is always attractive when dividend investing. This is slightly higher than the historical yield of 2.80%. Procter & Gamble has increased its dividend 11.5% per annum over the past five years. The dividend payout rate is 51% of earnings. Procter & Gamble is a cash cow. The company generated $13.5 billion dollars in free cash flow last year which is more than enough to sustain the dividend.
Procter & Gamble is one of the largest holdings of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A). Buffett has been a longtime fan of the company. He trimmed his position last year to raise some cash to make a few deals, but Berkshire still owns over 76 million shares that have a combined net worth of $4.6 billion. That’s about 8.7% of Buffett’s portfolio.
If the stock is good enough for Buffett, then it should be good enough for you too.