A very small group of stocks has grown dividends at exceptionally robust rates that make it possible for these companies to double dividend payouts within three years. Strong dividend growth is a result of vibrant earnings and free cash flow growth. Given that the following two companies are expected to produce solid earnings growth in the next half decade, they have a possibility to outperform their peers featuring low or no dividend growth.
Herbalife (HLF) is a $5.6 billion company selling weight management, nutritional supplement, energy, sports and fitness, and personal care products. Herbalife is also a multi-level marketing company. It pays a dividend yield of 2.6% on a payout ratio of 34%. Herbalife's main competitors Shaklee Corporation and Alticor Inc. are privately held. The company has tripled its dividend since 2008. On average, the company's dividend increased at 34.5% per year over the past five years. Earlier this year, Herbalife boosted its dividend by 50%. Assuming that the company continues to boost its dividends in the future at the average rate similar to that achieved over the past five years, it could double the payout ratio within 2 years. It is expected, however, that the company will moderate somewhat its dividend payouts in the future, as its EPS growth decelerates to an average of 15.2% per year for the next five years from an average rate of 28% per year reported for the past five years.
The company has been generating notable free cash flow, which helps it boost its dividend payouts. This should continue in the future, despite concerns raised by billionaire David Einhorn, who inquired about Herbalife's accounting disclosures concerning distributor groups. Einhorn is known for his short-selling bets. His question about accounting disclosures has triggered a sell-off in Herbalife shares, which are down 32% since April 30. Herbalife is currently trading at $47.66 a share, down 9% year-to-date. On a forward P/E basis, the stock is somewhat undervalued relative to its own historical ratios. Among fund managers, Steven Richman (East Side Capital-see its top holdings) and billionaire Jim Simons are bullish about the stock.
Comcast Corporation (CMCSA) is a U.S.-based entertainment, information, and communications products and services company. It has $84 billion in market capitalization. The company is the largest U.S. cable and Internet service provider in terms of service subscribers. It pays a 2.1% dividend yield on a payout ratio of 40%. The company's peers DirecTV (DTV) and Dish Network Corp. (DISH) do not pay regular dividends. Comcast Corporation has bolstered its dividend payout by 260% since 2008. Over the past five years, the cable company increased its payout at an average rate of 27.4% per year. This year, Comcast hiked its dividend by 44%. If the company's dividend growth continues to average as much as it did over the past five years, Comcast will be able to double its payout within 2.9 years.
The company has beat analysts' estimates on revenue and earnings. It generates substantial free cash flow, which on a per share basis has significantly exceeded earnings per share since 2008. Analysts forecast that Comcast's EPS will grow at an average rate of 15.7% per year for the next five years. The company is implementing a generous share buyback program. Shares of Comcast are trading at $31.13 a share. They are up 27% year-to-date and are hovering around a new 52-week high. The stock is valued on par with its industry. Fund managers Jean-Marie Eveillard (First Eagle Investment Management-check out its top picks) and Boykin Curry (Eagle Capital Management-see its holdings) are bullish about the stock.
Disclosure: I have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.