Vitasoy International Holdings Ltd (SEHK:345) has been one of the best growth stories of the decade. In just 10 years, Vitasoy has achieved the holy grail status of becoming a 10-bagger – a term the legendary investor, Peter Lynch, coined for companies that returned more than 10 times the initial investment.
But rather than bemoan about missing the boat, investors on the sidelines can still give the company a look today. Proven winners tend to keep winning and Vitasoy has plenty going for it that can keep its stock rising over the long haul.
China: Fueling the growth
Vitasoy has been able to ride on the soy-drinking culture of the Chinese population. In the 12-month period ended March 31, 2019, revenue and operating profit in China increased by 27% and 35%, respectively, in RMB.
China is the group's fastest-growing market and accounts for 62% of its operating profit. Vitasoy believes it can keep growing ahead of the market as it expands both its VITASOY and VITA brands.
Despite the significant year-on-year growth, there is still a relatively low per capita consumption in China; giving it plenty of potential for growth.
Cash to drive its business
Equally important, Vitasoy has the financial strength to keep expanding its business in China. The group boasts a net cash balance of HK$960 million (US$122.4 million). This large cash position will provide it with the ammunition it needs to grow its presence in China.
Moreover, the group's operations also generate plenty of cash. In its last financial year, Vitasoy operations generated HK$1.23 billion in cash.
Vitasoy has also found a good balance between reinvesting in the company and rewarding shareholders through dividends. The soy drink giant increased its dividend by 19% in FY18/19, while also keeping its dividend payout ratio steady at around 64%.
As expected, shares of this dividend machine do not come cheap. Even after a slight dip in price in recent months, its shares still trade at 49x its trailing earnings and offers a measly dividend yield of just 1.3%.
However, the group's future continues to look bright and the dividend could easily be bumped up next year. Considering the tailwinds in China, I believe even at current rich valuations, investors who are willing to play the long game will still be healthily rewarded.
A version of this article originally appeared on our Fool Asia site. For more coverage like this head over to Fool.hk.en.