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Owens & Minor’s Debt Reduction Improves Risk Profile

Owens & Minor stunned many investors in October 2018 when it announced a 71% dividend cut. Shares fell more than 40% on the news as the medical supplies distributor broke its streak of paying uninterrupted dividends since 1977. The company's core customers (hospitals) were putting increased price pressure on the firm in an effort to [...]

December 15th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Pfizer Shifts Dividend Adjustment to Second Quarter of 2021; Income Investors Still to Remain Whole

Pfizer on Friday announced a 2.6% dividend increase for the first quarter of 2021, raising its quarterly payout from 38 cents per share to 39 cents.  However, the company still plans to lower its dividend to reflect the spin-off of its off-patent drug business (about 20% of profits), which closed in November after combining with generic drug [...]

December 14th, 2020|Uncategorized|

AT&T Expects to Keep Dividend Safe But Frozen in 2021 to Prioritize Investments and Debt Reduction

AT&T on Friday kept its dividend frozen at 52 cents per share for the first quarter of 2021, unchanged from the prior four quarters.  This marked the first time in company history that the telecom, media, and entertainment giant has held its dividend flat for more than a year. To retain its status as a [...]

December 13th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Compass Minerals’ Free Cash Flow Returns to Covering Dividend for First Time Since 2014

Compass Minerals has had a speculative Dividend Safety Score since 2017, reflecting the firm's poor dividend coverage, elevated leverage, and various operational missteps. Management has kept the dividend frozen since early 2017. During this period, shares of Compass Minerals have lost 5%, including dividends, while the S&P 500 has gained more than 70%. But under [...]

December 10th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Leggett & Platt’s Record Cash Flow Strengthens Dividend Safety Profile

Earlier this year, Leggett & Platt's dividend looked to possibly be in peril due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Organic sales in the second quarter plunged 31% as stores closed and plants idled, and the firm was on the brink of breaching a financial covenant limiting its leverage. In May, Leggett worked with its banks to amend its [...]

November 23rd, 2020|Uncategorized|

V.F. Corp’s Impressive Digital Growth Returns Confidence in Dividend

Last spring, we downgraded V.F. Corp’s Dividend Safety Score from Safe to Borderline Safe. Mandated store closures and anxious shoppers led to a sharp decline in revenues across the industry.  The revival for retailers was uncertain as the severity and length of the pandemic was not clear.   V.F. Corp's cash flow no longer covered its dividend, leading us to wonder [...]

November 20th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Amazon Launches Online Pharmacy; Walgreens’ Dividend Outlook Remains Stable For Now

Shares of Walgreens fell nearly 10% on Tuesday following Amazon's introduction of its new online pharmacy service. Amazon Prime customers can now order prescriptions for home delivery within a couple of days. Amazon stocks most brand name and generic medications, works with most insurance plans, and will have pharmacists available 24/7 by phone. Besides trying to [...]

November 18th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Solid Rent Collection, Additional Federal Support Help NHI’s Outlook

National Health Investors (NHI) has had an Unsafe Dividend Safety Score since May, reflecting the risks posed by its high exposure to senior housing (70% of rental revenue). While NHI does not operate any of its properties, providing some cash flow insulation as long as tenants continue paying rent, many of the REIT's senior housing tenants entered [...]

November 14th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Barring Another Lockdown, Simon’s Cash Flow Can Continue Covering the Dividend For Now

Simon's third-quarter earnings report released on November 9 showed that mall fundamentals remain weak. While the REIT collected 85% of its net billed rents, up from 72% in the prior quarter, Simon's sales were still down 25% year-over-year due to elevated levels of rent deferrals and abatements given to struggling tenants. Tenant bankruptcies and lease expirations also [...]

November 12th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Ventas’ Operating Results Stabilize, Improving Dividend Safety Profile

In June, Ventas cut its dividend by 43% in response to pandemic-driven headwinds impacting its senior housing business (about 50% of net operating income). Occupancy fell to historic lows as restrictions on community access prevented move-ins, and expenses spiked for labor and personal protective equipment. The end result was a dividend that was no longer expected to [...]

November 11th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Pfizer’s COVID-19 Vaccine Shows Promise; Spin-off to Execute November 13 With Dividend Adjustment Next Quarter

Pfizer announced on Monday its COVID-19 vaccine candidate was found to be more than 90% effective, and no serious safety concerns had been observed. The drugmaker and its German partner BioNTech are the first to release successful results from a major clinical trial of a COVID-19 vaccine, according to Reuters. More data continues to be collected, but Pfizer expects [...]

November 9th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Dominion’s Lower Dividend and New Business Mix Improve Safety Profile; We Plan to Hold Our Shares

Dominion made its dividend cut official this week, reducing its fourth-quarter payout by 33% after closing a deal to sell its natural gas transmission and storage business. As we discussed in early July when this news was announced, we are upgrading Dominion's Dividend Safety Score to Safe with the lower dividend now in place. Without its midstream business, Dominion [...]

November 6th, 2020|Uncategorized|

AltaGas’s Falling Leverage Supports Dividend But Firm Will Evaluate Splitting Off Midstream Business

AltaGas generates about 60% of its EBITDA from U.S. regulated gas utilities and the remaining 40% from an integrated midstream business in western Canada which connects natural gas liquids and natural gas to various markets. Source: AltaGas Investor Presentation The company in recent years went through a major transformation which culminated in a 56% dividend [...]

November 2nd, 2020|Uncategorized|

Altria’s Tobacco Business Remains Resilient But Longer-term Growth Uncertainties Linger

Altria's third-quarter earnings report highlighted the tobacco category's resiliency during the pandemic. With consumers spending less on gas and entertainment, plus having more opportunities to smoke while working from home, U.S. cigarette volumes increased last quarter for the first time in years. Similarly, Altria's volume declines continued moderating from a 7% loss in early 2019 to a [...]

October 30th, 2020|Uncategorized|

Exxon Plans to Maintain Dividend in 2021 Contingent on Businesses Getting Back to Normal Cycle Lows

Exxon maintained its dividend for the fourth quarter despite reporting another set of weak earnings results this morning. While Exxon's operating cash flow improved from $0 in the second quarter to $4.4 billion last quarter, the firm remained far from covering its capital expenditures ($3.8 billion) and dividend ($3.7 billion). Despite this ongoing cash flow deficit, management's [...]

October 30th, 2020|Uncategorized|