McCormick Adds Spice to your Portfolio

09/18/2018 5:00 am EST

Focus: CONSUMER

Chloe Jensen

Chief Analyst, Cabot Dividend Investor

If you’re worried about a market correction, rotating into safe investments is a good way to reduce your risk; one great safe investment is McCormick & Co. (MKC), notes income expert Chloe Lutts Jensen, editor of Cabot Dividend Investor.

Founded in 1889, the firm sells grocery products including spices, condiments, oils, broth, recipe mixes, salad dressings, baking ingredients and more.

The company’s brands include McCormick, Old Bay, Zatarain’s, Thai Kitchen, Club House and Lawry’s. Last year, McCormick acquired the French’s and Frank’s RedHot brands from Reckitt Benckiser.

Consumer products make up about 62% of sales. Food service and food and beverage companies account for the rest. In addition to commercial versions of the above products, McCormick makes “custom flavor solutions” for food companies, like the powder that can make a potato chip taste like sour cream and onions or BBQ.

Groceries and ingredients are stable, counter-cyclical businesses. Economic slowdowns and stock market corrections don’t have much of an impact on how much mustard or oregano people buy. That means McCormick’s income stream is very stable, and revenues have risen steadily in each of the past 10 years.

EPS declined slightly in 2013 and 2015, but grew in every other year, often by double digits. Analysts expect McCormick’s earnings to grow another 17% this year and 8% next year, supported by 13% and 3% revenue growth. Longer term, analysts expect EPS growth to average 11% per year over the next five years.

McCormick’s steady revenue stream translates into equally steady dividend payments: the company has paid dividends since 1925, and has increased the dividend every year for 31 straight years (making it a dividend aristocrat).

Over the past decade, McCormick has increased the dividend by an average of 9% per year. The stock currently yields 1.6%.That makes MKC a great safe investment to own when the market environment is uncertain.

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