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SATS the dividend growth stock for the next 10 years?

Some one tells me SATS is a rather good dividend growth stock.

If we invest in it now, how well will dividend grow?

I am not sure. There are many factors that come into play. But its been managed by roughly the same group of folks. That should count for something.

History may be able to tell us how good of a dividend growth stock SATS is.

Lets take a look.

How dividends grow

Dividends grow when free cash flow grow. A lot of folks look at earnings but end of the day free cash flow pays out the dividends not an accounting number.

The cash flow growth of a businesses largely can take the form of three ways

  • Organic EBITDA growth. Expand market share. Use resources to move to new market. In the case of SATS this will be to bid for food catering and airport services in other countries. Largely if not, it is due to industry growth. Due to some research on a complementary USA company, seems the industry usually grows at 5% per annum
  • Leverage. You sensibly leverage up to take opportunities and then pay down the debt.
  • Acquisitions. You become like a private equity firm and acquire earnings. For good management, you may improve on the acquisition to improve ROIC. For bad management, you just destroy the overall ROIC

Some notable acquisitions

The difference between SATS and its sister SIA Engineering (talk about a bit here) is that SIA engineering tends to form joint venture with key partners to establish a win-win situation.

SATS acquisitions tend to be more in the news

On paper the acquisitions doesn’t look overly expensive and they should be accretive. Management would always sell you that they can improve the efficiency and margins upon acquisitions.

If management is good we should see the EBITDA margins improve and contributing more cash flow throughout the years, especially TFK and SFI.

In time, these should be important cash flow generators for the long term. We should see evidence of that

12 Year Data

Apologies for the 2002 data. I am probably too lazy to correct the formula there.

Revenue Growth

Revenue shows good growth for this 12 years.  From 895 mil it grew to 1.8 bil.

In all it’s a 103% growth or a compounded growth of 6%.

That is rather close to the 5% I mentioned previously.

If no big change for the future 20 years from the past 60 years, we should see a similar revenue growth rate.

EBIT and Free Cash Flow Growth

Since dividends are paid out of earnings and cash flow, as a dividend growth stock, these 2 metrics should be going up 12 years.

EBIT starts off at 216 mil and ended up in 2013 at 200 mil.

Free Cash flow starts off at 166 mil and ended up in 2013 at 234 mil.

Wait, isn’t earnings suppose to grow?

Well at least the free cash flow is growing. Perhaps its showing that it’s a more beautiful lower capital business than anticipated.

The compounded free cash flow growth was 2.9%

On the whole, for most companies, their net income and cash flow should grow much more than their revenue. This doesn’t seem to be the case for SATS.

This is despite accretive acquisitions in 2009 and 2010.

They give me the feeling the acquisition filled a void of higher competition or industry weakness.

Dividends Payout

In total for the 12 years, SATS paid out roughly 1713 mil in dividends.

Compare that to EBIT and FCF of  2280 mil and 2305 mil respectively, it does show that dividends are paid out of cash flow

The interesting thing is the payout ratio starting from 2002:

  • 20%
  • 26.8%
  • 31%
  • 206%
  • 40%
  • 45%
  • 67.8%
  • 100%
  • 63%
  • 70%
  • 102%
  • 144%
  • This half year 124%

The payouts have been increasing from the point where there are excess cash to a full payout of earnings.

It would seem the growth here, since there are not much earnings growth is the payout ratio instead.

It looks as if the management are trying damn hard to maintained a 5% yield at prevailing prices.

ROIC and the quality of the company

Much can be told from a little metric called ROIC and COIC.

The job of the manager is to manage capital effectively. If they manage it well, earnings (ROIC) and free cash flow (COIC) well, and leverage and pay of leverage, buy back shares wisely, these 2 metrics should change favorably

  • A consistently high ROIC likely indicates either little need of capital (in some industry) or certain moat that prevents competition
  • A rising ROIC indicates management creating value
  • A falling ROIC either means moat narrowing or management killing it or both

ROIC from 2002 to 2013:

  • 17.4%
  • 21%
  • 15%
  • 14.5%
  • 15.3%
  • 13.6%
  • 12.7%
  • 10%
  • 12.9%
  • 13.55%
  • 13.27%
  • 15.5%

The level of ROIC indicates a very average profile. It is certainly not the kind of 20-30% ROIC you expect from a business with a good moat.

Its interesting that in an economic boom from 2002 to 2009 the ROIC have been falling indicating perhaps tougher competition.

Management at least did well from 2009 to 2013 to correct it.

Perhaps its also due to the timely acquisitions which like SPH served more to prop up cash flow than build on existing strength.

Could share price climb?

The quality of capital deployment as shown by ROIC and COIC have indicated that if the management build on recent capital allocation improvement, the market is likely to reward it with higher share prices.

Indications from ROIC in the first half 2014 seem to indicate that capital management will be within this range.

For share price to climb, ask the question whether management can continue  to do the good work to improve and optimize new acquisitions.

For low ROIC companies, a 1% improvement in ROIC creates greater earnings growth than a 1% improvement in revenue growth.

Terminal 4 and 5 in 12 to 15 years time

A lot of the hype surrounding SATS are the business opportunity to handle Terminal 4 and 5’s airport services. With Terminal 5 as big as Changi, the sky is the limit.

If we use an operating cash flow of 270 mil for 2013, 70 mil perhaps comes from TFK and SFI, we could possibly look at an addition of 260 mil in cash flow 15 years from now.

That in itself may be a 4.7% CAGR.

What could temper with this figure? If they are unable to drive away the competition, this figure could look much lower.

Valuation in the past

Earnings yield at prevailing prices of 1st Jun every year:

  • 11.4%
  • 11.6%
  • 7.6%
  • 8.18%
  • 9.63%
  • 5.5%
  • 7.7%
  • 7.29%
  • 6.5%
  • 7%
  • 6.29%
  • 5.4%

For the level of quality if you buy it before 2006 at 8-11% earnings yield. This might be a really good deal with the level of quality you are getting.

Even if it  doesn’t grow, it’s a high enough  compensation versus the competition in assets taking into consideration quality and risk.

At 5.4% it’s a Price Earnings of 18.45 times.

Now Buffett tells us that you would rather pay for a quality business at a fair price than a lousy business at a good price.

If you say SATS is quality, what is a fair price?

We usually consider Price Earnings Growth or PEG of below 1.2 times  to be attractive.

In order for SATS at $3.30 to be considered attractive, at 18 times PE, it should at least grow by 18% per annum for the next 10 years.

If not 10 years you got to wait longer for the growth.

How crazy is 18% growth? consider earnings didn’t even grow for the past 12 years, you tell me.

Your dividend grew due to increase in payout.

Can they turn to acquisitions?

SATS HAVE been turning to acquisitions. And they probably didn’t overpay much.

A 100 mil investment probably will generate 10 mil in cash flow.

10 mil is like a 3.7% growth in EBITDA.

But acquisitions do not come often. You also don’t want SATS to anyhow acquire and over pay.

The moment ROI is below the cost of  capital, its not accretive.

Here is a test of management quality. If they are quality, they should accelerate it.

Acquisitions  usually are the least ROIC enhancing since they are usually a little more than the cost of capital.

Expanding to manage new services

Probably a higher value would be what they have done with Terminal 4 and 5, to find more of these deals  to manage with little capital investments.

What’s the likely future yield

If you have a time machine and you travel 10 years into the future, what will your yield be?

A rough equation would be as follows:

Future yield = Dividend + Share buyback from FCF + Left Over FCF x (ROIC/Cost of Capital) + Organic growth

Dividend and Share buy back gives you 5%.

There isn’t money left over but they can of course leverage. Acquisitions don’t come by often. This probably adds 2% to your yield.

Organic growth depending on whether competition is as brutal could fluctuate between 0% to 7%. Lets take the middle of 3.5%

Your yield probably will be 5 + 2 +3.5 = 10.5%

Lots of assumptions there, but from how my brain worked this out, you probably have an idea how some figures could vary.

Summary

I will leave whether this is a buy or sell to you. I am more in the business of prospecting.

18% growth is more of the kind of growth rate for a top management company like Dairy Farm, Disney and McDonalds.

A rather challenging hurdle considering  they have not even grow in the past 10 years figures wise.

Would Terminal 4 and 5 15 years from now matter so much? Remember that needs capital investments as well.

They do say that good business for a long period tend to remain as such, poor business will also likely remain as such.

We can see a lot from how ROIC performed in the past and as a future indicator if management is doing well there.

To get started with dividend investing, start by bookmarking my Dividend Stock Tracker which shows the prevailing yields of blue chip dividend stocks, utilities, REITs updated nightly.

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Michelle

Tuesday 24th of December 2013

Hi Kyith, I have been meaning to ask you. How did you arrive at this - In order for SATS at $3.30 to be considered attractive, at 18 times PE, it should at least grow by 18% per annum for the next 10 years. Based on what assumptions/calculations, do you arrive at 18%? Thanks and happy holiday season. Michelle

Kyith

Tuesday 24th of December 2013

Hi Michelle, I am using the Price Earnings Growth or PEG ratio as a form of reasoning> http://www.investopedia.com/terms/p/pegratio.asp

the formula is PE/EPS Growth. So perhaps they usually will buy when PEG is less than 1.25 times. If its 1 times, if your PE is 18 times, it is likely to be attractive, over the long haul a reasonable growth rate to make it attractive is 18% isnt it.

of course does it really have to grow so much? perhaps it just has a more visible growth for a long duration.

we usually use a 10 year horizon because far into the future its rather murky, we calculate a best estimate for a reasonable far out time frame of 10 years.

a high PE may indicate that they can be sustainable advantage for far longer. its probably if its 20 years per year they will have to grow 9% in EPS (still quite challenging for 20 years consistent results!)

Ed

Sunday 15th of December 2013

Yes you are right about difficulty of predicting the growth of the firms especially blue chips. Having understand from the news that Fed Tapering is starting in the near future, interest rates already is moving upwards, wouldn't it be predictable for banks to have incremental earnings? What do you think?

Kyith

Tuesday 17th of December 2013

i think you are a bit mistaken. what i meant growth is difficult to predict is that largely how fast anything grows is hard to predict with a degree of confidence. not just blue chips.

when looking at businesses, look from an angle of your business not what the politics and the economics of it. will sia engineering need to pay substantial interest? same for boustead. would this affect APTT? singapore shipping corporation? how much would this affect them.

you will get your answer there.

Ed

Sunday 15th of December 2013

Hi Kyith, thanks for your reply. Okay then its better to wait for a crash or correction to buy in. So I assume SIA Eng also is fairly priced and not much safety margin to go in?

Kyith

Sunday 15th of December 2013

its a matter of what kind of growth that can achieve. i am not always the best valuer. the way i see it SIA engineering at 20 times is in the same situation as SATs. one have to estimate the upside. upside estimating is probably the hardest because growth is not definite.

in past examples i usually estimate conservaitve stagnant growth and paying for it. the growth if it comes or dont come takes care of it.

Ed

Sunday 15th of December 2013

Hi Kyith, the SATS article is enlightening to read and learn from you. What's your take on DairyFarm? Is its current price fair value and acceptable price to you to accumulate? Thanks!

Ed

Sunday 15th of December 2013

Hi Kyith, the SATS article is enlightening to read and learn from you. What's your take on DairyFarm? Is its current price fair value and acceptable price to you to accumulate? Thanks!

Kyith

Sunday 15th of December 2013

hi. you can probably treat me as blabbering about SATS. Dairy Farm have a consistently high ROIC and that is perhaps why folks look at the share price appreciation. there is a rather high correlation i see of increasing roic versus share price eventual appreciation.

they have a new management, and u can have a wait and see atitude or get invested first and think later. the roic fell off. basically they have trouble digesting latest business.

buy in thinking that based on past 10 years great will need to be a bit cautious because the ceo is different, would their capital deployment culture be the same?

the price at 27 times pe (if i am correct) is a rather high hurdle. any 3-4 years failure to grow at the previous 20% grow rate and you are probably not having a necessary safety.

still remember its been years since it went below 20 times pe.

Kyith

Sunday 15th of December 2013

hi. you can probably treat me as blabbering about SATS. Dairy Farm have a consistently high ROIC and that is perhaps why folks look at the share price appreciation. there is a rather high correlation i see of increasing roic versus share price eventual appreciation.

they have a new management, and u can have a wait and see atitude or get invested first and think later. the roic fell off. basically they have trouble digesting latest business.

buy in thinking that based on past 10 years great will need to be a bit cautious because the ceo is different, would their capital deployment culture be the same?

the price at 27 times pe (if i am correct) is a rather high hurdle. any 3-4 years failure to grow at the previous 20% grow rate and you are probably not having a necessary safety.

still remember its been years since it went below 20 times pe.

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