Dividend Increase: Clorox (CLX)

The other day, Clorox (CLX) announced their annual dividend increase of 3.896%, representing a $0.03 increase to the new quarterly dividend now sitting at $0.80 per share, good for a current dividend yield of 2.50%.  The dividend is payable on August 12 to shareholders of record on July 27, 2016.  So let’s get dorky and mark our calendars for that payday (No seriously, I’m not joking.  I actually do that).

If my numbers are right, CLX has been increasing dividends ever since 1977, so this marks 39 years of continually increasing dividends.  Pop the champagne and lets toast to another 39 years.  Let’s see, I would be 75 by then.  Unfortunately their Investor Services site is currently down, otherwise I’d link to their dividend history, but just take my word for it, I have no life.

I really like CLX as an investment.  I’m not sure why it took me so long to look at this company, but when I did I really liked what I saw.  It’s the perfect boring company to be in, slow and steady top line growth, same for the bottom line, simple balance sheet and of course a good solid dividend.  My first purchase was back on 6/1/2011 at $70 per share.  At the time dividend was sitting at $0.60 per share a qtr, good for an at the time dividend yield of 3.42%.  Off the top of my head, the market cap was somewhere around $6.5 billion.  See what was so sexy about this company.  I could get paid 3.42% in dividends to sit and wait on this 100 year old company to grow.  It blew my mind that they only had a market cap of $6.5 billion with all the well known brands they have.  I was thinking “perfect takeover target” from maybe a PG or UL.  Of course they make bleach, but other brands under the Clorox Co. umbrella include Brita, Burt’s Bees, 409, KC Masterpiece, Kingsford, GLAD, Scoop Away, Fresh Step, and Hillshire Farms to name a few.  Looking at other trade tickets, I bought more on 6/3/2011 at 67.50, 11/9/2011 @64.50, 9/17/2012 @ 69.99, 10/4/2013 @ 81.49, 5/5/2014 @87.50, so yeah I went on a buying spree all the while the dividend yield was around the 3%+ level.

Carl Icahn back in 2011 (somewhere in mid July) actually brought attention to the company with one of his fake takeover bids.  That helped me get a quick 10% return.  The stock pulled back after he exited his position shortly after, but boring me sat on it.  Carl should have done the same.

Management has shown some pretty big testicles as well.  Clorox earnings have been solid the last few years, while many consumer staples have struggled with the strong dollar.  Basically CLX has completely pulled out of countries like Venezuela where inflation has been so ridiculous, companies can’t make a profit. It couldn’t have been an easy decision to pull out and leave the PP&E behind, but such moves have been rewarding for shareholders.

So, yes the stock price has moved nicely and  currently has been around the high 120s low 130s as of late.  I don’t plan to sell…ever.  I want to grow old with this company.  I also want to point out the growth of the dividend has been healthy during my holding period as well, sitting at an average of 5.92% per year over the last 5 years or overall quick number crunch 33.33% repeating of course, not as high as JNJ or XOM, but the share price appreciation has more than made up for the difference.  My yield on cost on the original purchase represents a yield on cost of 4.57%.

(Please tell me you caught the Leeroy Jenkins reference there, if not click on the link for some funny shit)


Now for the bad news.  The dividend increase was a penny short of my expectation, and was below my conservative inflation number of 4%.  The main thing I fear is any increasing interest rate environment.  I know better than to buy into the BS that analyst and fund managers will come out and talk about rising interest rate environments being bad for dividend paying stocks.  Their basic argument is that in a higher interest rate environment, you are taking a risk premium for holding dividend stock compared to the 10 year.  And it pisses me off.  A few interest rate hikes later in the year/early next year (which would be a bad move by the fed) and the hype machine will kick in.  It pisses me off because these active trader fear mongers ignore that growth of a dividend growth stock compared to the fixed coupon payment of a government bond or corporate.  If I bought a 10 year bond, I know my coupon payment will be the same for the life of the bond.  For a dividend growth stock, I am expecting to see around double the dividend amount during that same time period.  But mark my words, these guys will come out saying this crap, trying to pimp there fund on TV.  It’s like clock work every interest rate increase cycle.  I’ll use that time as an opportunity and buy any dips.

I’ve shared one of my sayings about JNJ. Now I’ll share another one of my sayings I had when working.

There are 3 basic things everyone needs: tobacco, toilet paper, and bleach.  Everybody needs a smoke once in a while.  Everyone wipes (or I don’t trust them), and bleach.  Why bleach?  Lets just say if you have to ask, you’re not ready big guy.

I expect a $0.04 increase next year from CLX.  That would reflect a 5% increase, well within the realm of possibilities considering their current payout ration of approx. 60%.  I joke about the next 39 years seeing dividend increase, but I’m also serious about the streak continuing for CLX.

Now… Chums Up!  Let’s do this… Leeroy Jenkins!



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