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In difficult economic times, it makes sense to scout for investment opportunities with robust business models and sustainable dividends. Despite the uncertainty, many companies have a good ongoing business operation and they are still confident about the economic future. That’s the reason why they have raised dividends. Last month, 40 companies raised distributions, of which 14 have had double-digit dividend growth. The biggest dividend hike was realized by Marcy (M) and DDR Corporation (DDR). M doubled dividends and DDR raised distributions by 50 percent. The average dividend yield of all dividend raisers amounts to 3.79 percent and the dividend growth is 11.35. With this thesis in mind, I screened dividend stocks with recent hikes by cheapest forward price-to-earnings ratio (less than 15). Exactly 11 stocks fulfilled these criteria. These are the results:

AmeriGas Partners (APU) has a market capitalization of $2.42 billion. The company employs 5,460 people, generates revenue of $2,537.96 million and has a net income of $140.92 million. The earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ((EBITDA)) amounts to $284.43 million. Because of these figures, the EBITDA margin is 11.21 percent (operating margin 8.07 percent and the net profit margin 5.55 percent).

The total debt represents 57.30 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 303.85 percent. A return on equity of 36.92 percent was realized. Earnings per share (12 trailing months) reached $2.30. Last fiscal year, the company paid $2.89 in the form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 3.0 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 18.40, forward P/E 14.25, Price/Sales 0.95 and Price/Book ratio 7.21. Dividend Yield: 7.21 percent. The beta ratio is 0.40.

Homeowners Choice (HCII) has a market capitalization of $59.04 million. The company employs 93 people, generates revenue of $68.62 million and has a net income of $5.42 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $16.07 million. The EBITDA margin is 23.42 percent (operating margin 12.51 percent and the net profit margin 7.90 percent).

The company has no long-term debt. It has a return on equity of 11.79 percent. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached $0.98. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.10 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 5.0 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 9.78, forward P/E 6.45, Price/Sales 0.86 and Price/Book ratio 1.27. Dividend Yield: 6.28 percent. The beta ratio is 0.61.

Alliant Energy Corporation (LNT) has a market capitalization of $4.73 billion. The company employs 4,704 people, generates revenue of $3,416.10 million and has net income of $308.00 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $848.40 million. The EBITDA margin is 24.84 percent (operating margin 16.28 percent and the net profit margin 9.02 percent).

The total debt represents 29.65 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 87.72 percent. A return on equity of 10.21 percent was realized. Twelve trailing month earnings per share reached $2.64. Last fiscal year, the company paid $1.58 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 5.9 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 16.13, forward P/E 14.40, Price/Sales 1.38 and Price/Book ratio 1.63. Dividend Yield: 4.22 percent. The beta ratio is 0.52.

Pentair (PNR) has a market capitalization of $3.71 billion. The company employs 14,300 people, generates revenue of $3,030.77 million and has a net income of $202.95 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $416.65 million. The EBITDA margin is 13.75 percent (operating margin 11.03 percent and the net profit margin finally 6.70 percent).

The total debt represents 17.80 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to equity amounts to 33.80 percent. A return on equity of 9.67 percent was realized. Twelve trailing month earnings per share reached $2.17. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.76 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 10.0 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 17.31, forward P/E 14.09, Price/Sales 1.22 and Price/Book ratio 1.77. Dividend Yield: 2.34 percent. The beta ratio is 1.08.

Macy's (M) has a market capitalization of $15.04 billion. The company employs 166,000 people, generates revenue of $25,003.00 million and has a net income of $847.00 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $3,085.00 million. The EBITDA margin is 12.34 percent (operating margin 7.58 percent and net profit margin 3.39 percent).

The total debt represents 35.99 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 134.27 percent. A return on equity of 16.64 percent was realized. Twelve trailing month earnings per share reached $2.71. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.20 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 100 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 13.21, forward P/E 11.12, Price/Sales 0.60 and Price/Book ratio 2.74. Dividend Yield: 2.23 percent. The beta ratio is 1.64.

The McGraw-Hill Companies (MHP) has a market capitalization of $13.61 billion. The company employs 20,755 people, generates revenue of $6,168.33 million and has a net income of $851.87 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $1,817.47 million. The EBITDA margin is 29.46 percent (operating margin 23.04 percent and net profit margin 3.81 percent).

The total debt represents 17.00 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 54.20 percent. Due to the financial situation, a return on equity of 40.82 percent was realized. Twelve trailing month earnings per share reached $2.78. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.94 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 2.0 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 16.71, forward P/E 14.45, Price/Sales 2.21 and Price/Book ratio 6.46. Dividend Yield: 2.20 percent. The beta ratio is 1.07.

MidWestOne Financial Group (MOFG) has a market capitalization of $135.01 million. The company employs 383 people, generates revenue of $70.98 million and has a net income of $10.13 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $18.77 million. Because of these figures, the EBITDA margin is 26.44 percent (operating margin 21.56 percent and net profit margin 16.14 percent).

The total debt represents 4.15 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 41.43 percent. A return on equity of 6.63 percent was realized. Twelve trailing month earnings per share reached $1.37. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.20 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 41.7 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 11.52, forward P/E 9.91, Price/Sales 2.15 and Price/Book ratio 0.95. Dividend Yield: 2.16 percent. The beta ratio is 0.69.

Family Dollar Stores (FDO) has a market capitalization of $6.48 billion. The company employs 31,000 people, generates revenue of $8,547.84 million and has a net income of $388.44 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $817.57 million. The EBITDA margin is 9.56 percent (operating margin 7.46 percent and net profit margin 4.54 percent).

The total debt represents 18.31 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to equity amounts to 50.46 percent. A return on equity of 30.97 percent was realized. Twelve trailing month earnings per share reached a value of $3.23. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.70 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 16.7 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 17.07, forward P/E 13.20, Price/Sales 0.76 and Price/Book ratio 5.94. Dividend Yield: 1.53 percent. The beta ratio is 0.27.

Schlumberger Limited (SLB) has a market capitalization of $97.79 billion. The company employs 108,000 people, generates revenue of $28,931.00 million and has a net income of $4,266.00 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $7,953.00 million. The EBITDA margin is 27.49 percent (operating margin 17.82 percent and net profit margin 14.75 percent).

The total debt represents 15.67 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 25.98 percent. A return on equity of 16.95 percent was realized. Twelve trailing month earnings per share reached $3.22. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.84 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 10.0 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 22.63, forward P/E 14.84, Price/Sales 3.38 and Price/Book ratio 3.18. Dividend Yield: 1.37 percent. The beta ratio is 1.38.

The Finish Line (FINL) has a market capitalization of $1.03 billion. The company employs 3,200 people, generates revenue of $1,229.00 million and has a net income of $68.86 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $136.59 million. The EBITDA margin is 11.11 percent (operating margin 8.92 percent and net profit margin 5.60 percent).

The company has no long-term debt. A return on equity of 14.56 percent was realized. Twelve trailing month earnings per share reached $1.42. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.17 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 20.0 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 13.94, forward P/E 11.12, Price/Sales 0.84 and Price/Book ratio 2.11. Dividend Yield: 1.21 percent. The beta ratio is 1.30.

Robbins & Myers (RBN) has a market capitalization of $2.31 billion. The company employs 3,387 people, generates revenue of $820.64 million and has a net income of $81.28 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $165.30 million. The EBITDA margin is 20.14 percent (operating margin 16.00 percent and the net profit margin 9.90 percent).

The total debt represents 0.03 percent of the company’s assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 0.04 percent. A return on equity of 9.89 percent was realized. Twelve trailing month earnings per share reached $2.28. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.18 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company raised dividends by 11.1 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 22.31, forward P/E 14.48, Price/Sales 2.82 and Price/Book ratio 2.03. Dividend Yield: 0.39 percent. The beta ratio is 1.22.

Source: 11 Cheap Dividend Stocks With Recent Dividend Hikes