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IBM: What's The Dividend Raise?

Bill Maurer profile picture
Bill Maurer


  • Next dividend declaration expected in late April.
  • How has the balance sheet/cash flow situation changed?
  • Another dime increase seems fair.

April is an important month for investors, because it is the start of earnings season for calendar Q1 2018. For a number of companies, investors are also looking for dividend raises. One such name is International Business Machines (NYSE:IBM), which last raised its quarterly payout in April 2017. Today, I'm here to provide my expectation for what a raise could look like this year.

As you can see in the chart below, IBM's dividend has doubled since 2011. Last year, the board announced a $1.50 quarterly rate, which I used for the "2017" year below. This was a dime per share per quarter rate, an increase of more than 7%, and at the time, represented a forward yield of about 3.7%. Shares were a couple of percent higher at that time, so investors buying now are receiving a higher yield even before considering a dividend hike.

(Source: IBM financial information page)

IBM overall is at an interesting place. Three months ago, the company finally ended its multi-year streak of revenue declines, but unfortunately margins were a disappointment. With a weaker dollar so far this year, there will be a tailwind to the company's top line, but will that translate to the bottom line? Current expectations call for a little more than 1% revenue growth this year, but adjusted earnings per share are forecast to increase ever so slightly, and that includes the benefit from the company's ongoing buyback.

Despite adjusted earnings being kinda flat the past few years, IBM has still generated tons of cash flow. In the table below, I've detailed some key metrics as well as some major uses of cash. The increased amount in share repurchases in 2017 meant that the share count came down a little faster than the prior-year period, which obviously helps with any potential dividend raise.

This article was written by

Bill Maurer profile picture
I am a market enthusiast and part-time trader. I started writing for Seeking Alpha in 2011, and it has been a tremendous opportunity and learning experience. I have been interested in the markets since elementary school, and hope to pursue a career in the investment management industry. I have been active in the markets for several years, and am primarily focused on long/short equities. I hold a Bachelor of Science Degree from Lehigh University, where I double majored in Finance and Accounting, with a minor in History. My major track focused on Investments and Financial Analysis. While at Lehigh, I was the Head Portfolio Manager of the Investment Management Group, a student group that manages three portfolios, one long/short and two long only. I have had two internships, one a summer internship at a large bank, and another helping to manage the Lehigh University Endowment for nearly a year. Disclaimer: Bill reminds investors to always do their own due diligence on any investment, and to consult their own financial adviser or representative when necessary. Any material provided is intended as general information only, and should not be considered or relied upon as a formal investment recommendation.

Analyst’s Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours. I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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