Income investors seek a steady stream of dividends. Kimberly-Clark’s dividend history is long and it might make a great addition to an income portfolio. Let’s take a look at the business, dividend history, and payout safety going forward.
Business Overview and Highlights
Kimberly-Clark (NYSE: KMB) is a $48 billion business. The multinational personal care company produces mostly paper-based consumer products like facial tissues, toilet paper, cleaning wipes and disposable diapers. The company is based out of Texas and it employs 41,000 people. Last year Kimberly-Clark pulled in $18 billion in sales and that breaks down to $451,000 per employee.
The company runs within the consumer sector and maintains a solid credit rating (A) from the S&P. This allows Kimberly-Clark to issue cheap debt to expand operations and finance other initiatives.
On May 2, 2019, Kimberly-Clark’s board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of $1.03 per share. The dividend is payable on July 2 to shareholders of record on June 7. This represents the 47th consecutive year that Kimberly-Clark has increased its dividend. That makes it a Dividend Aristocrat.
10-Year Dividend History
The company paid investors $2.40 per share a decade ago. Over the last 10 years, the dividend has climbed to $4. That’s a 67% increase and you can see the annual changes below…
The compound annual growth is 5.2% over 10 years… but over the last year, the dividend climbed 3.1%. The slowdown in dividend growth isn’t a great sign. Although, Kimberly-Clark still might be a good income investment. Let’s take a look at the yield…
Current Yield vs. 10-Year Average
Kimberly-Clark’s long history of paying dividends makes it one of the best dividend stocks around. This also makes the dividend yield a great indicator of value. A higher yield is generally better for buyers. Sustainability is also vital and we’ll look at that soon.
The dividend yield comes in at 2.97% and that’s below the 10-year average of 4.27%. The chart below shows the dividend yield over the last 10 years…
The lower yield shows that investors have bid up the company’s market value. They might be expecting higher growth and payouts. But more often than not, the dividend yield is mean reverting with share price changes.
Improved Dividend Safety Check
Many investors look at the payout ratio to determine dividend safety. They look at the dividend per share divided by the net income per share. So, a payout ratio of 60% would mean that every $1 Kimberly-Clark earns, it pays investors $0.60.
The payout ratio is a good indicator of dividend safety… but accountants can manipulate net income. They adjust for goodwill and other non-cash items. A better metric is free cash flow.
Here’s the Kimberly Clark dividend payout ratio based on free cash flow over the last 10 years…
The ratio is volatile over the last 10 years and the trend is up. The payout ratio spiked in 2015, but it dropped to a stable number the next year. The last year shows a payout ratio of 66.5%. This gives wiggle room for Kimberly-Clark’s board of directors to raise the dividend.
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