Dividend stocks are so popular among a section of investors that there's even a pure dividend stocks-focused strategy called dividend investing. The popularity of this investing style isn't unwarranted. Dividend stocks have, after all, historically proven to outperform their non-dividend-paying counterparts by a big margin, especially if the dividends were reinvested. By earning and reinvesting dividends, you can reap the maximum benefits of compounding and become wealthy.
If you love dividends -- and I urge you to consider doing so if you don't already -- I've found two stocks that you might enjoy owning: Brookfield Renewable Partners (NYSE:BEP) and Iron Mountain (NYSE:IRM). They combine the best of both worlds when it comes to dividend investing: steady growth and a high yield.
High yield, big growth, massive industry
Renewable energy may sound like a modern-day concept, but its roots go back to the 1800s, when the first water turbine and windmill were invented and the sun's potential source of energy discovered. It's only in recent years that consumption of renewable energy has taken off, thanks to growing awareness and stricter regulations, given the irreversible consequences of fossil fuels on the environment.
The International Energy Agency now foresees renewables meeting nearly 30% of the global power demand by 2023, up from 24% in 2017. Of all the sources (solar, wind, hydro, bioenergy), hydropower's share is estimated to be the largest, meeting 16% demand by 2030.
This makes me want to believe that investing in a renewable energy stock shouldn't go wrong, especially if the company already has a strong foothold in the industry and is committed to creating shareholder value, both by way of dividends and share-price appreciation. My pick: Brookfield Renewable Partners, one of the world's largest renewable energy companies with a primary focus on hydropower and wind.
In addition to Brookfield Renewable's big 6.5% dividend yield, dividend growth further adds to the company's appeal. As the company mostly sells energy under long-term contracts, its revenues are less volatile and cash flows more stable, which is a major reason why Brookfield was able to grow its dividend at an annual compound rate of 6% since 2012.
There's another thing I like about Brookfield: It prefers organic growth over acquisitions to support funds from operations (FFO) and dividend growth. For example, management is targeting 6%-11% growth in annual FFO in the long run, driven by a mix of inflation escalators, a better price mix, cost controls, and capital investments. The latter includes the targeted addition of 1,000 megawatts of power-generating capacity in the next five years.
Brookfield is confident it'll hit its FFO goals and increase dividends every year by 5%-9% in the long term. Combine that with its yield, and you're in for a stock poised to beat the market.
This 7.5% yield looks sustainable
"We protect what you value most."
I managed to catch this phrase splashed across a white and blue truck as it whizzed past. This wasn't in the U.S., but in India, and it caught my attention almost immediately. I also saw Iron Mountain written behind the truck. So this was a company with major operations in the U.S. and other developed countries that's evidently making inroads into developing and emerging markets. Globalization is vital for any business in today's world, and seeing an Iron Mountain truck in India piqued my interest in the company.
Iron Mountain is a real estate investment trust (REIT), which partly explains why it makes a great dividend stock. A REIT is required to pass on 90% or more of its taxable income to shareholders in the form of dividends, which means two things: higher dividends in line with the company's profits and a higher-than-average dividend yield. It's a win-win for income investors.
One might argue about the resilience of Iron Mountain's business -- which involves storing and protecting information and assets such as physical documents -- at a time when the world is increasingly going digital. However, several factors outweigh that concern.
First, organizations are still required to maintain physical records of sensitive and vital information for years, even decades. Second, Iron Mountain also provides storage for other things of value like fine art and entertainment.
Third, the company is diversifying and now offers a hybrid of physical and digital storage through its data center business. In 2018, 19% of Iron Mountain's revenue came from what it calls its "growth portfolio," comprised of adjacent businesses, emerging markets, and data centers. The number is likely to hit 30% by 2020. And fourth, Iron Mountain serves nearly 225,000 customers across 50 countries and as many industries, with no single customer accounting for more than 1% of its revenue.
From only $100 million in revenue in 1995 to $4.2 billion in 2018, Iron Mountain has come a long way and has miles to cover. The company has increased its dividend every year since it started paying one in 2010, and it now yields a hefty 7.5%. This mix of dividend growth and yield is too compelling to pass up.