Saturday, June 29, 2019

2019 Dividend List: 10 Years On

We started this dividend list in 2009 and in a blink of an eye, ten years flashed past. The list had since gone global as there are just that many (or few) dividend stocks in Singapore. Some of them had been bought out, some just weren't strong businesses to begin with and faltered and some others go in and out of the lists and a handful of names remained in it to this day. 

Last year, we dissected global dividend companies and discussed a few interesting names: Coach, Cisco, advertising companies. We see some of the same names this year and sadly, there isn't really good names or stories to share. The list tend to capture past business models with no growth such as brick-and-mortar shops without the new crowd drawing experiential retail innovation like Escape Room, Kidzania etc. I believe this is the key limitation of this list after looking at it for ten years. It spits out past business models and also fails to capture the exciting companies like Google, Live Nation and Netflix.

Well, that's value investing though, we want things cheap, so they don't come without caveats. Most would be cheap for some reason and once in a while we can find a gem. Here's this year's first few names:

2019 Dividend List - Part 1

This year's list featured the same retail and tobacco and old economy companies such as Evraz, a steel company that's at the top of the list. It's probably in a distress situation and the 15% dividend is unlikely to be sustained. Rio Tinto is not about to go bust, so it could be a candidate. Although I always like BHP with its pole position and better diversification across different commodities. So besides Rio, there isn't another name that I am keen to spend more time doing desktop research.

2019 Dividend List - Part 2

The same could be said for the second portion. These are another bunch of old economy names with the more interesting ones all discussed in the last few years: Harley Davidson, Tapestry, IBM and Western Union. BAE systems could be the only stock worth more research given the interest in defense growing as China and Russia try to strengthen their military might to compete with the US. North Korea could also turn belligerent again, who knows. But BAE might have its own issues for the stock to appear here. Or it could just UK's issue again. Given how the Brexit risk loomed larger this year, it's no wonder that this list featured so many UK stocks.

Given the paltry list this year, I thought we could relook at some of the interesting Singapore names. They are no longer featured because of either valuations or margins. To pass the screening, companies need to have FCF yield of more than 4.5% and margins of 8% and sadly, 1-2 Singapore companies failed the margin test while those with high margins are not cheap enough (hence failing the FCF yield criteria). Then, there are some who failed to ROE test (must be more than 10%) as they hold to much cash or equity, which dampens the ROE.

Nevertheless, here's my own curated list of the top dividend stocks in Singapore. I have held some of these for more than a few years and they had generated good dividend return (but unfortunately not too good capital return). So these are ideas for anyone trying to build a dividend portfolio but do your due diligence and double check on valuations and make sure you have a good margin of safety. 

Of the stocks in the list, I would think only Overseas Education would be worth buying today, but it's a micro-cap and there are different risks and considerations as well e.g. liquidity and getting taken out cheap if there's a management buyout.

1. SIA Engineering: Dividend 4.8%, Singapore Airlines' maintenance arm.
2. Vicom: Dividend 6.6%, largest vehicle testing and inspection company.
3. SGX: Dividend 4.8%, Singapore's stock exchange.
4. Overseas Education: Dividend 8.8%, international school in Singapore.
5. ST Engineering: Dividend 3.6%, defense and aerospace, also competes with SIA Engineering.
6. DBS: Dividend 4.7%, Singapore's largest bank.
7. Singtel: Dividend 5.1%, used to be Singapore's largest company. Looking to divest out of this. Wouldn't recommend anyone to buy now.

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