Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ), together with its subsidiaries, is engaged in the research and development, manufacture, and sale of various products in the health care field worldwide. The company operates in three segments: Consumer, Pharmaceutical, and Medical Devices & Diagnostics. This dividend king has paid dividends since 1944 and has managed to increase them for 53 years in a row.
The company's latest dividend increase was announced in April 2015 when the Board of Directors approved a 7.10% increase in the quarterly dividend to 75 cents /share. The company's peer group includes Novartis (NYSE:NVS), Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Roche Holdings (RHHBY).
Over the past decade this dividend growth stock has delivered an annualized total return of 7.20% to its shareholders.
The company has managed to deliver 7.20% average increase in annual EPS over the past decade. Johnson & Johnson is expected to earn $6.14 per share in 2015 and $6.42 per share in 2016. In comparison, the company earned $5.70/share in 2014.
Johnson & Johnson also has managed to reduce number of shares outstanding. Between 2004 and 2015, the number of shares declined from 2,996 million to 2,826 million.
The annual dividend payment has increased by 9.60% per year over the past decade, which is higher than the growth in EPS.
A 10% growth in distributions translates into the dividend payment doubling every seven years on average. If we check the dividend history, going as far back as 1977, we could see that Johnson & Johnson has actually managed to double dividends every five and a half years on average.
In the past decade, the dividend payout ratio increased from 38.70% in 2004 to a high of 64.50% in 2011, before decreasing to 48.40%. A lower payout is always a plus, since it leaves room for consistent dividend growth minimizing the impact of short-term fluctuations in earnings.
The return on equity has decreased from 29% in 2004 to 22.70% in 2014. This is still a very high return on equity however. Rather than focus on absolute values for this indicator, I generally want to see at least a stable return on equity over time. Given the fact that the amounts in this indicator are still high these days, I do not view this decline as a major warning sign.
Currently, the stock is attractively valued at 16.30 times forward earnings and a current yield of 3%. The only reason I am hesitating to add more shares is because the company is one my five largest holdings.
Full Disclosure: Long JNJ
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