AT&T: Is There Still Growth Potential?

May. 9.11 | About: AT&T Inc. (T)

A real money distributor, this is what AT&T (NYSE:T) looks like at a first glance. Strong from a dividend yield over 5%, AT&T has been on my radar since March 2011 when I put together the 9 stocks I was following. But beyond a high dividend yield, there must be more if you want to attract investors. Let’s take a look at AT&T.

The Company Stock Description

This eternal rival of Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is engaged in an epic battle to dominate the world of telecommunications. Strong from a fast 3G network and several side operations (such as ip based market along with Yellow and White Pages publishing), AT&T has proven to be a strong and well established company. However, the main question is always; can it keep the rhythm and dance to a rapid evolving beat?

The Company Ratios and Financial Info
Dividend Metrics:
- Current Dividend Yield
- 5 year Dividend Growth : 5.35%
- 1 year Dividend Growth : 2.41%
Company Metrics :
- Sales Growth: 1.44%
- Earnings Growth: 11.35%
- P/E Ratio: 14.27
- Margin Growth: 0.48
- Payout Ratio: 52.32%
- Return on Equity: 18.63
- Debt to Capital Ratio: 0.38
Stock Metrics:
- Ticker: T
- Price: $31.42
- Trend (technical analysis): up-trend
Upcoming opportunities and dangers

I’d say that the AT&T battle with Verizon is definitely the most important danger for investors. Much like RIM (RIMM) which is constantly compared with the new darling Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), AT&T will be face to face with any moves from its competitor. In fact, Verizon was recently the “flavour of the month”, since they got the rights to market the iPhone before anyone and was recently voted #1 in customer service; something that AT&T is far from achieving.

AT&T benefits from a strong base of clients and a solid reputation. I’d say that over the short term, the company should continue performing and they might even be surprising compared to Verizon.

Final Thoughts

When we compare Verizon to AT&T as of March 2011, AT&T was definitely presenting an interesting perspective (as the price was below $28) while Verizon had gained significant momentum already. Since then, AT&T has gone up and doesn’t represent a “deal” anymore, in my opinion. The sales growth over the past year (along with the dividend growth) is interesting, but when you look at a shorter period of time (1 year), numbers have slowed down. Can AT&T reverse this tendency and produce more growth in the upcoming years? That is the question!

Disclaimer: I do not hold AT&T at the moment.