Last week, I introduced Fools to five candidates I had selected for 2013's Best Dividend Stock. Today, I'm going to let you know which stock is my pick for 2013, and why. Read all the way to the end and I'll offer up access to a special premium report on one of our candidates.
Eliminating a few of these were easy
It's actually a little silly to be picking a "Top Dividend Stock for 2013." That's because, in the end, being a dividend stock investor is all about picking a rock-solid company with a healthy dividend, reinvesting those dividends over decades, and waiting for the extraordinary power of compounding dividends to work its magic.
Now, I'm not going to claim that no industry is free from disruption, but some are more prone to it than others. Although disruption can be a great thing if you pick the right company, it introduces a level of uncertainty that most dividend investors like to avoid.
Knowing that, I eliminated both Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL ) and Intel (NASDAQ: INTC ) from consideration. Don't get me wrong; I think both of these companies are top-notch. In fact, Apple makes up over 8% of my real-life holdings, and earlier this year, I called Intel's one of the safest big dividends out there.
But as anyone who has witnessed the quick demise of once-mighty technology companies knows, there are safer fields for dividend investors than technology.
We've already given this one a shot
Another company that was somewhat easy to eliminate was Veolia Environnement (NASDAQOTH: VEOEY ) , a company that is focusing primarily on waste and water management, as well as offering environmental services for municipalities around the world.
And then there were two
That leaves us with two companies. StoneMor Partners (NYSE: STON ) is one of the nation's biggest operators of cemeteries and offers an 11% dividend; Textainer (NYSE: TGH ) is a company that leases out intermodal containers to customers worldwide, while offering a more-modest 5.6% dividend.
To be honest, there are compelling reasons to buy into either one of these companies, but I'm going with Textainer as my dividend stock of the year for two big reasons: Its finances are more straightforward, and it's a story that's easier to understand.
With StoneMor, certain accounting rules make it difficult to get an easy and accurate read on how sustainable the company's dividend is. It mostly has to do with the fact that while people may pay for their spot in a cemetery in 2012, that money must be held under a trust and escrow agreement and not added to the income statement until the plot is actually ready and/or used.
Textainer, on the other hand, is much easier for me to understand.
Understanding the business
Intermodal containers are those metal boxes you likely see stacked on top of one another in both ship- and railyards across the country. These boxes are advantageous because they can be stacked and transported on trains, ships, and trucks with relative ease.
As it stands right now, 95% of all trade in the world travels by ship. And Textainer, though a small company, is one of the biggest players in helping companies move stuff around the world. The company leases out its containers to its list of over 400 different shippers globally.
Having such a wide variety of clients is crucial. If Company A has a customer in Texas that likes to ship things to Argentina, but no company in Argentina that wants to ship anything, the container has to be sent back empty, creating a waste of a container and the money to send it.
Textainer, because of its large list of international clients, has made the logistics of the business work for it, making sure containers are utilized -- and monetized -- almost everywhere they travel.
Textainer has 23 years of consecutive dividend raises, management that has been with the company for an average of 19 years, and is, at this point, relatively fairly valued with a PEG ratio of 1.1.
Keep up your research
If you'd like to continue your research in more mainstream dividend payers, I suggest taking a deeper look into Intel.
When it comes to dominating markets, it doesn't get much better than Intel's position in the PC microprocessor arena. However, that market is maturing, and Intel finds itself in a precarious situation longer term if it doesn't find new avenues for growth. In this premium research report on Intel, our analyst runs through all of the key topics investors should understand about the chip giant. Better yet, you'll continue to receive updates for an entire year. Click here now to learn more.