Editor's Note: A previous version of this article misstated the dividend yield of DuPont. It has since been updated.
Most investors could probably name one or two industries that are home to a dense collection of blue chip dividend stocks. For instance, shares of oil supermajors, tobacco producers, and electric utilities tend to pay market-beating dividends. But a high yield isn't necessarily the only thing that makes a great dividend stock.
It's important for big payouts to be accompanied by a strong business that can generate significant cash flow in good markets and bad. With that in mind, we asked three contributors at The Motley Fool for their best under-the-radar income stocks. Here's why they chose DuPont (NYSE:DD), Phillips 66 Partners (NYSE:PSXP), and McCormick & Company (NYSE:MKC).
Electric vehicles, 5G networks, and living technologies
Maxx Chatsko (DuPont): It's a little confusing, but the new DuPont is not the same company as the old DuPont. Despite flying under a familiar flag, the new business includes all of the specialty material science assets of both the old DuPont and the old Dow Chemical -- and nothing else. That said, it's expected to boast the highest operating margins among the three spinoffs from DowDuPont. It also sports a respectable annual dividend yield of 1.8%.
Income isn't the only thing that might draw in investors for a closer look. DuPont owns a collection of formidable brands including Tyvek (construction and packaging), the bio-based Sorona brand (high-performance fabrics), Kalrez (next-generation electronics including 5G hardware), and Vespel (aerospace). The latter two are expected to achieve a compound annual growth rate of 10% and 8%, respectively, through 2022. If the company can replicate its well-worn playbook for dominating markets with its materials science expertise, then shareholders should be treated pretty well.
That's hardly the only opportunity on the horizon. Materials from DuPont are commonly used in lightweight vehicles (read: replace heavier materials with lighter materials without sacrificing performance), which will become increasingly more important as electric vehicles capture market share. That's because battery-pack-slinging electric vehicles are traditionally heavier than their internal combustion counterparts. And being heavier isn't so great when customers are worried about the range of their new ride. Of course, the rise of electric vehicles will be great news for the business, which expects to generate $330 in revenue per electric vehicle, up from just $195 per vehicle running on liquid fuels.
While the dust is still settling from the spinoff, the financial flexibility of DuPont only figures to improve in the next several years. The business is still looking to divest certain assets and reduce capital expenditures, but it will repurchase $2 billion (or 4%) of outstanding shares and continue investing in core growth projects in the meantime. With approximately $22.6 billion in revenue and $6.4 billion in adjusted EBITDA generated in 2018, investors looking for a blue chip income stock shouldn't overlook the newest materials science company on the market.
22 down and plenty of fuel to continue growing
Matt DiLallo (Phillips 66 Partners): Most investors have probably heard about energy manufacturing and logistics giant Phillips 66, if for no other reason than it counts Warren Buffett among its investors. However, with all the attention on the parent, fewer investors are likely very familiar with its master limited partnership (MLP) Phillips 66 Partners. That's a shame because the company has been an amazing dividend stock over the years. Overall, it has increased its distribution in all 22 quarters since its initial public offering in 2013. Those raises have helped boost Phillip 66 Partners' yield up to 6.8%.
The MLP backs that payout with solid financial metrics. The company generated enough cash during the recently completed first quarter to cover its distribution by a comfortable 1.3 times. Meanwhile, it ended the period with a leverage ratio of 2.8 times debt to EBITDA, which was well under the four times comfort level of most MLPs. That conservative financial profile gives Phillips 66 Partners the flexibility to continue investing in its expansion initiatives.
The company currently has several organic growth projects under construction, including a large-scale oil pipeline and an export terminal. As these projects enter service over the next 18 months, they'll supply the MLP with some incremental cash flow, some of which it will likely use to continue increasing its distribution to investors. That likelihood of continued income growth is why investors will want to get to know this amazing dividend stock.
Spice up your dividend portfolio
Demitri Kalogeropoulos (McCormick): Spices and flavorings might not make for the most exciting products, but their sales have generated fantastic long-term returns for McCormick's shareholders. The good news is that, after a brief stumble in early 2019, its market-thumping operating gains look set to continue through the new fiscal year.
McCormick is expecting to boost sales by between 3% and 5% this year, which is a bit below management's target of around 5% each year. Yet that growth would still produce market share gains, and it would make the spice giant one of the fastest-growing mature companies in the packaged foods space.
Income investors have two other reasons to like this stock today. First, McCormick's profitability is rising as its sales mix tilts further toward the new condiment brands it recently acquired. And second, its robust cash flow is allowing executives to quickly pay down the debt they took on to fund that huge purchase. Together, these trends should support rising dividend payments -- and higher stock repurchase spending -- over the next few years. That's good news for owners of this company, which has paid a dividend for 93 consecutive years while raising that payout in each of the past 33 years.