One of my least favorite things about investing is the headline spin given to earnings press releases. I understand the underlying need to portray every single result in a positive light, particularly when the overall results are positive, but I might just be old-fashioned in thinking that a headline shouldn't be one-sided.
My beef is with Motley Fool Income Investor selection RPM International
That's pretty much the story for investors looking into RPM International. The asbestos litigation is an expense that the company can manage, and as long as it doesn't negate the company's growth, investors win with a solid grower and a strong dividend payout.
I'll highlight the two metrics -- interest coverage ratio and the payout ratio -- that I was most curious about when looking at the company's press release. For the earnings per share and other figures, the company's press release is right here.
Including the asbestos charges, RPM's earnings before interest and taxes still come in at a healthy 5.6 times its interest expense, but the trend is down from last year's 8.5 times interest. If you strip out the asbestos charges, the coverage ratio is a more robust 7.8 times. Personally, I wouldn't strip those charges out; I consider them to be an ongoing expense for the company -- at least for the near future. The important thing here is keeping an eye on the trend.
For those looking for better news, I estimate that the company's free cash flow-based dividend-payout ratio -- a critical calculation for dividend seekers -- came down from 95% to 84%. This is still a bit high, but it points to both an expansion in future dividend payments and to the company's ability to pay down its debt if need be.
There's little doubt that RPM International has worked out well for Income Investor subscribers, and there's little reason to think it won't continue to do so. Even with today's earnings release and the subsequent headlines reporting that earnings were down because of asbestos charge, the stock is off but a dime. I think the market got this one right. The asbestos charges are expected with RPM, and they've been priced in for a while. In fact, with the free cash flow growth and strong yield, there's still a lot here for Income Investor to like in the long term.
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