Many dividend investors judge dividend stocks based solely on their current yield. While a high-yield stock can be quite tempting, we Fools believe that the best dividend stocks are those capable of growing their dividend for years on end. Companies that can do so stand the best chance of showering investors with both income and capital appreciation.
With that in mind, and with full knowledge that we might wind up looking (capital f) foolish, we asked a team of Fools to share a dividend stock that might be considered a top dividend paying stock ten years from now. That is, what company will we be talking about as a great dividend stock for the future, ten years in the future. Intrigued? Read on to see why they picked CVS Health (NYSE:CVS), Tile Shop Holdings (OTC:TTSH), Enterprise Production Partners (NYSE:EPD), Enbridge (NYSE:ENB) and Berkshire Hathaway (NYSE:BRK.A)(NYSE:BRK.B).
Slow and steady wins the race
Tyler Crowe (Enterprise Products Partners): The energy industry has been a sector where investors can find some pretty sizable dividend yield investments, but the cyclical nature of the business means that many companies cease to grow or even sometimes cut their payouts.
One company that's bucked that trend is Enterprise Products Partners. The combination of a business structure that ensures steady cash flows and a management team that prudently balances growth, financial health, and payouts to shareholders has led to an investment that's raised its payout to shareholders every year since its IPO in 1998. That streak includes 50 straight quarters of distribution increases.
Of course, past performance doesn't ensure results for the next decade, but management is making the right moves to give the company a strong chance to make it happen. The company is making some large bets that shale oil and gas are going to yield a lot over the next several years and that some of the byproducts of the wells it'll be working on -- i.e., natural gas liquids -- will overwhelm domestic demand. So the company is investing heavily in turning natural gas liquids such as ethane into petrochemical feedstocks and building out export capacity to send these products overseas. In less than 10 years, the company has transformed from an importer of these products to the world's largest exporter of liquid petroleum gas.
As with the other ventures this company has pursued, though, management has continued to maintain a prudent approach to allocating capital. It maintains an investment-grade credit rating with ample access to capital at all times and keeps its payout to shareholders considerably lower than the cash coming in the door, to prevent a potential cash crunch. These are the traits I want in a dividend investment I plan to hold for the next 10 years, and it makes Enterprise a compelling stock to own into 2027.
The wind at its back
Brian Feroldi (CVS Health): Did you know that roughly 10,000 Americans will turn 65 every day between now and 2029? That's an amazing statistic that should ensure that demand for high-quality healthcare remains robust for decades to come.
One company well positioned to profit from this tailwind is CVS Health. This company owns one of the largest retail pharmacy chains in the country and one of the biggest pharmacy benefit management businesses to boot. Both of these businesses look well positioned to benefit from slow and steady demand growth, which should lead to continuous increases in revenue and profit from here.
Investors in CVS Health look poised to win since this company boasts a long history of using its excess cash to reward shareholders. In 2016 alone the company spent more than $1.8 billion on dividends and another $4.2 billion on buybacks. Will billions more expected to come in the front door each year, this trend should continue.
CVS Health's management clearly favors a buyback right now -- which is probably the right move given the stock's attractive valuation -- but my hunch is that the ratio will steadily shift toward favoring dividends over the coming decade. If true, that tells me that CVS' dividend will be meaningfully higher by 2027. It so, investors who get on board today look well positioned to reap substantial rewards.
A pipeline giant with a clear plan for dividend growth
Chuck Saletta (Enbridge): Canadian energy pipeline giant Enbridge announced that it expects to continue increasing its dividend by 10% to 12% per year between now and 2024. It's rare for a company to announce its dividend intentions a year or two out, and to announce it for as far as seven years in the future takes a special type of company indeed. Even if its dividend growth tapers off after that, today's investors should be richly rewarded by the time 2027 rolls around.
The combination of two key factors gives Enbridge the ability to publicly project that much dividend growth that far into the future. First, its core business is moving energy around. It makes most of its money off tollbooth-type operations, where the volume of energy passing through its pipes matters more to the company's profitability than the price that energy fetches in the market. That gives the company both a pretty stable cash flow picture and one with a legitimate chance for growth over time.
Second, Enbridge is in the process of acquiring U.S.-based pipeline company Spectra Energy. That acquisition will combine the two businesses into what will be North America's largest energy infrastructure company. It will also enable the two to better leverage their scale and cut costs on things such as corporate financing, maintenance overhead, and administrative fees. Wringing efficiencies out of the combined business should also help support the dividend growth.
Note that Enbridge pays its dividend in Canadian dollars, so U.S.-based investors will see some currency fluctuation. In addition, U.S. investors will face a 15% withholding tax on Enbridge's dividends unless they own those shares inside a qualified retirement account.
Dividends from Omaha
Jordan Wathen (Berkshire Hathaway): It might sound like a stretch today, but by 2027 my bet is that the future CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, having taken over the throne of Berkshire Hathaway from Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger, will be compelled to finally pay out a dividend.
The company is cash rich, but its size has become a real problem. Berkshire's diverse portfolio of controlled businesses has few high-return reinvestment opportunities. Investors begin to see the company's stock portfolio as what it is: a wildly inefficient way to hold stock since Berkshire must pay full price (35% corporate taxes) on every dollar earned by capital gains. As it turns out, Wall Street isn't giving Berkshire's new portfolio managers a long leash to hold stocks "forever" as it did with Buffett and Munger.
And given that it's so cash rich, Berkshire shares also trade at a high multiple, perhaps reinforced by the fact that Berkshire has told its shareholders it will buy back stock at any price less than 1.3 or 1.4 times book value, an increase over the 1.2 book-value multiple Buffett laid out before he penned his last annual letter to shareholders. Berkshire might find it impossible to buy back as much stock as it would need to be able to keep cash from building up. Paying out an ever-increasing dividend instead might prove to be a more realistic option.
It's early, but this company could be the next great dividend growth stock
Jason Hall (Tile Shop Holdings): I'm really excited about Tile Shop's recent announcement that it will start paying a dividend. And while at only $0.05 per share quarterly it's barely more than a 1% yield at recent stock prices, there's huge potential for that 1.1% at today's price to become much, much bigger over the next 20 years. Here's why.
Right now, Tile Shop has fewer than 125 stores, and it operates in one of the few retail segments that's yet to see a large retailer establish a nationwide network of stores. In other words, Tile Shop is in an excellent position for growth, in an industry that's ripe for a single retailer to take huge market share.
When CEO Chris Homeister took over at the start of 2015, he took a somewhat controversial approach: He slowed growth, focusing cash flows on debt reduction, and increased investment in store employees. The company has increased pay, added more positions in store management, and improved its benefits. The result has been sharply reduced turnover, and that's driving sales and cash flows up.
This groundwork has started to pay off enough that the company will nearly double its store growth in 2017 and will be able to fund that growth with cash flows, while also paying a dividend. If Homeister's formula continues to pay off, Tile Shop's cash flow growth could last for decades as it expands and drive its dividend much, much higher from here.