Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC (NYSE:IHG) currently pays a dividend of 2.38%. This dividend does not make IHG a high yielder. However, IHG's dividend is higher than its peers. This is important for investors who are attracted to yield but also need diversification. In addition to its best-in-class dividend, IHG also offers investors an investment in a growing company.
Peer Dividend Yields
Marriott International Inc (NYSE:MAR): 1.09%
MAR's lack of earnings growth makes a major increase in the dividend unlikely.
MAR earnings history
Earnings for 2011 were 27 cents lower than earnings in 2005. While the economy has been difficult, the lack of earnings growth over the past 7 years is a negative for MAR.
Hyatt Hotels Corp (NYSE:H): 0%
H has only been public since 2009. In this time, H has shown strong earnings power. However, H still does not pay a dividend. Going forward H may start paying a dividend, but right now H is not a dividend play.
Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc (HOT): 0.92%
Prior to April 2006, HOT was a REIT entity. This made HOT a terrific investment for dividend oriented investors. Now, HOT is not classified as a REIT and does not may much of a dividend. However, investors can buy Starwood Property Trusts Inc (NYSE:STWD), which is a REIT thus pays a solid 8.6% dividend. Due to its classification as a REIT, STWD is limited in what it can do to pursue growth. For this reason, STWD should not be compared to other hotel companies which have growth prospects.
Wyndham Worldwide Corp (NYSE:WYN): 2.1%
WYN offers a solid dividend of 2.1%, but the company's heavy debt load makes WYN a risky dividend play. WYN currently has over $4 billion in debt, this compares to just $6.39 billion in equity. If business gets tough, WYN will likely be forced to cut the dividend to service its debt.
Intercontinental Hotels Group PLC : 2.38%
IHG offers investors the full package: growth, yield, and financial health.
IHG earnings history
IHG has successfully grown earnings to record levels despite the difficult economic environment. If the economy gets stronger, IHG will likely grown earnings even faster. In addition to its growth prospects, IHG is on solid financial footing. IHG has $691 million in debt and $6.67 billion in equity. IHG's low debt-to-equity separates it from rival WYN, which offers a competitive dividend.
Dividend investors who are looking for exposure to a lodging company should consider IHG. IHG 's dividend is higher than its peers, and the company is in a strong financial position. In addition to the dividend, IHG offers investors a growth opportunity.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.