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In a difficult economy, 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 they have raised dividends. Last week, 36 companies raised distributions of which 14 have had double-digit dividend growth. The biggest hike was realized by Potash/Saskat (NYSE:POT), which doubled quarterly dividends from 7 cents per share to 14 cents. However, I screened the recent dividend growth stocks by real bargains, measured by a P/E ratio of less than 15. These are the detailed results:

1. Norfolk Southern (NYSE:NSC) has a market capitalization of $24.43 billion. The company employs 28,559 people, generates revenue of $11,172.00 million and has a net income of $1,916.00 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization ((EBITDA)) amount to $4,075.00 million. EBITDA margin is 36.48 percent (operating margin 28.76 percent and net profit margin 17.15 percent).

The total debt is 26.42 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to equity amounts to 76.08 percent. A return on equity of 18.62 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $5.45. Last fiscal year, the company paid $1.66 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced an increase in distributions of 9.3 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 13.57, Price/Sales 2.22 and Price/Book ratio 2.46. Dividend Yield: 2.54 percent. The beta ratio is 1.10.

2. Potash Corp./Saskatchewan has a market capitalization of $40.75 billion. The company employs 5,486 people, generates revenue of $8,715.00 million and has a net income of $3,081.00 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $4,398.00 million. The EBITDA margin is 50.46 percent (operating margin 49.41 percent and the net profit margin 35.35 percent).

The total debt is 27.91 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 57.82 percent. A return on equity of 42.40 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $3.52. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.28 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise in distributions of 100 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 13.50, Price/Sales 4.68 and Price/Book ratio 5.19. Dividend Yield: 1.18 percent. The beta ratio is 1.09.

3. Kayne Anderson Energy (NYSE:KED) has a market capitalization of $229.76 million. The company generates revenue of $4.67 million and has a net income of $53.21 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $-1.11 million. The EBITDA margin is -23.77 percent (operating margin -60.92 percent and the net profit margin 1,139.49 percent).

The total debt is 20.31 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 27.01 percent. A return on equity of 28.04 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $4.19. Last fiscal year, the company paid $1.20 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced an increase in distributions of 2.6 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 5.31, Price/Sales 49.09 and Price/Book ratio 1.08. Dividend Yield: 7.01 percent. The beta ratio is 0.65.

4. Atlas Pipeline Partners (NYSE:APL) has a market capitalization of $2.01 billion. The company employs 270 people, generates revenue of $935.59 million and has a net income of $-40.72 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $120.89 million. The EBITDA margin is 12.92 percent (operating margin -4.88 percent and the net profit margin -4.35 percent).

The total debt represents 32.07 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 52.69 percent. A return on equity of -5.22 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $5.09. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.72 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise in distributions of 1.9 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 7.37, Price/Sales 2.15 and Price/Book ratio 1.91. Dividend Yield: 5.87 percent. The beta ratio is 1.51.

5. CMS Energy Corporation (NYSE:CMS) has a market capitalization of $5.60 billion. The company employs 7,822 people, generates revenue of $6,432.00 million and has a net income of $366.00 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $1,546.00 million. The EBITDA margin is 24.04 percent (operating margin 15.08 percent and the net profit margin 5.69 percent).

The total debt represents 47.30 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 264.45 percent. A return on equity of 12.86 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $1.54. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.66 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced an increase in distributions of 14.3 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 14.37, Price/Sales 0.87 and Price/Book ratio 1.97. Dividend Yield: 4.35 percent. The beta ratio is 0.52.

6. Bar Harbor Bankshares (NYSEMKT:BHB) has a market capitalization of $116.96 million. The company employs 169 people, generates revenue of $51.14 million and has a net income of $10.66 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $24.32 million. The EBITDA margin is 47.56 percent (operating margin 37.77 percent and the net profit margin finally 27.22 percent).

The total debt represents 3.16 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 34.08 percent. A return on equity of 10.07 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $2.76. Last fiscal year, the company paid $1.04 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise distributions of 1.8 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 10.90, Price/Sales 2.99 and Price/Book ratio 1.11. Dividend Yield: 3.79 percent. The beta ratio is 0.57.

7. Harte-Hanks (NYSE:HHS) has a market capitalization of $638.84 million. The company employs 4,850 people, generates revenue of $860.53 million and has a net income of $53.60 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $114.48 million. The EBITDA margin is 13.30 percent (operating margin 10.58 percent and the net profit margin 6.23 percent).

The total debt is 20.82 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 44.08 percent. A return on equity of 12.77 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $0.71. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.30 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise in distributions of 6.3 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 14.39, Price/Sales 0.74 and Price/Book ratio 1.48. Dividend Yield: 3.34 percent. The beta ratio is 1.25.

8. RPC (NYSE:RES) has a market capitalization of $2.25 billion. The company employs 2,500 people, generates revenue of $1,809.81 million and has a net income of $296.38 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $661.99 million. The EBITDA margin is 36.58 percent (operating margin 26.64 percent and the net profit margin finally 16.38 percent).

The total debt represents 15.19 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 26.66 percent. A return on equity of 45.54 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $2.02. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.32 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise in distributions of 20.0 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 7.55, Price/Sales 1.25 and Price/Book ratio 2.95. Dividend Yield: 3.15 percent. The beta ratio is 1.48.

9. Eaton Corporation (NYSE:ETN) has a market capitalization of $16.57 billion. The company employs 73,000 people, generates revenue of $16,049.00 million and has a net income of $1,352.00 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $1,861.00 million. The EBITDA margin is 11.60 percent (operating margin 9.68 percent and the net profit margin 8.42 percent).

The total debt represents 21.11 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 50.52 percent. A return on equity of 18.21 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $3.94. Last fiscal year, the company paid $1.36 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise in distributions of 11.8 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 12.58, Price/Sales 1.03 and Price/Book ratio 2.22. Dividend Yield: 3.07 percent. The beta ratio is 1.53.

10. Canadian National Railway (NYSE:CNI) has a market capitalization of $33.70 billion. The company employs 23,230 people, generates revenue of $9,019.88 million and has a net income of $2,454.79 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $4,176.24 million. The EBITDA margin is 46.30 percent (operating margin 36.51 percent and the net profit margin 27.22 percent).

The total debt represents 25.27 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 61.57 percent. A return on equity of 22.37 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $5.40. Last fiscal year, the company paid $1.30 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise in distributions of 15.4 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 14.11, Price/Sales 3.74 and Price/Book ratio 3.16. Dividend Yield: 1.95 percent. The beta ratio is 1.04.

11. Parker-Hannifin (NYSE:PH) has a market capitalization of $12.31 billion. The company employs 58,000 people, generates revenue of $12,345.87 million and has a net income of $1,057.15 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $1,850.36 million. The EBITDA margin is 14.99 percent (operating margin 11.45 percent and the net profit margin 8.56 percent).

The total debt represents 16.22 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 32.81 percent. A return on equity of 21.52 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $6.93. Last fiscal year, the company paid $1.25 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise in distributions of 5.4 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 11.76, Price/Sales 1.00 and Price/Book ratio 2.35. Dividend Yield: 1.91 percent. The beta ratio is 1.50.

12. Washington Banking (NASDAQ:WBCO) has a market capitalization of $194.63 million. The company employs 459 people, generates revenue of $89.71 million and has a net income of $15.95 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $23.55 million. The EBITDA margin is 26.25 percent (operating margin 25.93 percent and the net profit margin 17.94 percent).

The total debt represents 1.54 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 15.09 percent. A return on equity of 9.09 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $0.96. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.21 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise in distributions of 20.0 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 13.10, Price/Sales 2.18 and Price/Book ratio 1.14. Dividend Yield: 1.90 percent. The beta ratio is 1.12.

13. Energen Corporation (NYSE:EGN) has a market capitalization of $3.55 billion. The company employs 1,530 people, generates revenue of $1,483.48 million and has a net income of $259.62 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $732.27 million. The EBITDA margin is 49.36 percent (operating margin 30.22 percent and the net profit margin 17.50 percent).

The total debt representing 22.33 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 48.09 percent. A return on equity of 11.32 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $3.59. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.54 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced a raise in distributions of 3.7 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 13.75, Price/Sales 2.39 and Price/Book ratio 1.46. Dividend Yield: 1.14 percent. The beta ratio is 1.17.

14. Twin Disc (NASDAQ:TWIN) has a market capitalization of $360.37 million. The company employs 941 people, generates revenue of $310.39 million and has a net income of $18.96 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amount to $44.62 million. The EBITDA margin is 14.38 percent (operating margin 11.18 percent and the net profit margin 6.11 percent).

The total debt represents 9.61 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 21.66 percent. A return on equity of 16.70 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $2.39. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.30 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced an increase in distributions of 12.5 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 13.18, Price/Sales 1.16 and Price/Book ratio 2.61. Dividend Yield: 1.14 percent. The beta ratio is 2.43.

15. Ball Corporation (NYSE:BLL) has a market capitalization of $6.41 billion. The company employs 14,500 people, generates revenue of $8,630.90 million and has a net income of $458.50 million. Earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization amounts to $1,138.00 million. Because of these figures, the EBITDA margin is 13.19 percent (operating margin 9.70 percent and the net profit margin 5.31 percent).

The total debt represents 43.16 percent of the company's assets and the total debt in relation to the equity amounts to 228.16 percent. A return on equity of 30.82 percent was realized. Twelve trailing months earnings per share reached a value of $2.64. Last fiscal year, the company paid $0.28 in form of dividends to shareholders. The company announced an increase in raise distributions of 42.9 percent.

Here are the price ratios of the company: The P/E ratio is 14.93, Price/Sales 0.74 and Price/Book ratio 4.66. Dividend Yield: 1.01 percent. The beta ratio is 0.70.

Source: The Cheapest Stocks With Recent Dividend Hikes