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Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 11:30
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Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 11:30

The Most Shareholder-Friendly Company On Earth

Tuesday, March 18, 2014 - 11:30am

It's one of the most controversial stocks we cover...

And any time we mention it, you can be sure we'll get a couple of angry emails from readers, questioning our morals or ethics.

While I understand the feelings behind those emails, to put it simply, our job at StreetAuthority is to give you the most timely and profitable investment advice available.

And we wouldn't be doing our job if we neglected to tell you about it simply because of its "controversy."

That's why we're always careful to point out that, while this stock may not be for everyone, there's a reason why we call it "the most shareholder-friendly company on Earth."

It's not hard to understand this when you look at the facts. In just six years, the company has raised its dividend 104% and bought back 438 million shares of stock. Its shares have also returned roughly 100% since 2008 -- beating the market by nearly double.

The stock I'm referring to is Philip Morris International (NYSE: PM).

Now, before I go any further, let me state this again... I understand not everyone likes investing in cigarette manufacturers. And that's fine.

But when you look at the ways this company creates value for shareholders on a steady, consistent basis, we think many investors will understand why we call it "the most shareholder-friendly company on Earth."

First, the company buys back its own stock month after month -- no matter what the market is doing. It's bought back a staggering 23% of its own stock shares in the past six years, effectively shrinking its share count and boosting its stock's value.

There's no doubt that's a major reason this "boring" cigarette company has been doubling investors' money.

But here's a bigger reason... Philip Morris is one of the exceedingly rare companies that consistently grows its dividend year after year.

Since the company paid its first dividend of 46 cents per share in June 2008, it has raised its dividend every single year.

Take a look at the chart of Philip Morris' dividend growth to the right...

And I expect this rapid dividend growth to continue for years to come.

Since spinning-off from Altria (NYSE: MO) in 2008, Philip Morris has quickly amassed a multi-billion dollar share of the "Dividend Vault."

For those who haven't heard about it yet, a group of companies first created the "Dividend Vault" nearly 12 years ago, when they began socking away billions of dollars to protect themselves from a mounting federal debt crisis, gridlock on Capitol Hill and two recessions.

Now, with $1.9 trillion saved and few alternative options to grow, these companies have opened the "Dividend Vault" to start paying that money out to shareholders as dividends. I talked about the "Dividend Vault" in greater detail last week.

With billions of dollars sitting in the "Dividend Vault," Philip Morris should have no trouble paying a steady, growing dividend well into the future.

Looking forward, despite its size and industry dominance, Philip Morris still has plenty of room to grow.

Remember, Philip Morris is a spin off of Altria's cigarette business. But there's a big difference between the two companies.

While Altria continues to sell its brands, including Marlboro and Merit, in the United States... that business is slowly shrinking.

Philip Morris, on the other hand, focuses outside the U.S. And in the international markets, it's a very different story...

Overseas markets offer greater growth opportunities in the cigarette industry because of their growing populations and looser restrictions on tobacco marketing. There will be an estimated 1.4 billion smokers globally by 2020, up from 1.3 billion today -- that's an additional 100 million potential customers, many of whom will choose a Philip Morris brand.

In fact, Philip Morris sells its products in 180 countries and owns 7 of the world's top 15 brands.

Philip Morris is exactly what I look for in a shareholder-friendly business. It buys back shares, consistently raises dividends, owns an enormous share of the "Dividend Vault," and has tremendous growth potential.

It's a rare thing whenever you find a company that possesses all of these traits. But when you do, you don't want to pass it up.

Of course, there's no quality a company can possess that will guarantee its success. But when you can find companies like Philip Morris that dominate their market and are returning billions to investors, these are the sort of stocks that can deliver strong returns in nearly any market.

I recommend buying the stock up to $85 a share with a price target of $115 a share.

Note: Philip Morris and others tied to the "Dividend Vault" are expected to give out $39.5 billion or more to investors in 2014 alone. In fact, they'll be cutting these "Dividend Vault" checks over the next few weeks.

To help you get started, we've created a brand-new report called "The Dividend Vault Payout List: How To Get Your Cut of $39.5 Billion." To get this free report and get on the payout list before the first checks are mailed out, all you have to do is watch this special presentation or click the video below.

Dave Forest does not personally hold positions in any securities mentioned in this article.
StreetAuthority LLC owns shares of PM in one or more of its “real money” portfolios.