An Unknown Income Stock from Mexico

Something was drastically amiss.

I had turned the radio in my car to my favorite FM station, a boisterous “urban” format that’s best enjoyed loud.

But that’s not what I was hearing.

Not even close.

I called a friend who happens to work at the station and asked what happened. She told me although the station was making money for its parent, Emmis Communications (Nasdaq: EMMS), the company nonetheless decided to change the format.

The reason? Emmis sees more robust long-term growth serving a different demographic.

So my favorite radio station now plays — Mexican music.

Spanish is the primary language for more than a third of the population of Texas, California and New Mexico. Latinos comprises 10% of the population in 10 U.S. states.

State Percentage of Population
New Mexico 43.3%
California 34.7%
Texas 34.6%
Arizona 28.0%
Nevada 19.3%
Florida 19.0%
New York 16.0%
New Jersey 13.9%
Illinois 12.7%
Colorado 12.4%
Percent of population that speaks Spanish as their primary language, U.S. Census Bureau

Today, 34.2 million Americans — 72.9% of a total of 46.9 million U.S. Hispanics — speak Spanish at home, a gain of 500,000 from the year before. In 2000, 28.1 million people spoke Spanish at home, which was a dramatic increase from 1990, when just 17.4 million did. So while the U.S. population grew +31.7% in the past 20 years, the Spanish-speaking population grew by +97.7%.

The Census Bureau projects 102.6 million Hispanics will live in the United States in 2050, nearly 25% of the population. If the Hispanic population continues to speak Spanish at home at the same rate as today, 74.8 million Americans will speak Spanish at home in 2050. That’s more than any country in the world except Mexico.

#-ad_banner-#My radio station won’t be the last to make the switch.

While there are 13 public radio companies in the United States today — all of which could, theoretically, broadcast in Spanish — one company has two big advantages.

First, the company is based in Mexico and broadcasts only in Spanish. And second, the company is the highest-yielding radio station available to U.S. investors, with a yield above 5%.

Grupo Radio Centro (NYSE: RC) is a $150 million company that owns or operates 15 radio stations, most of which are in Mexico City. The company also owns a radio network that does sales and programming for 108 affiliate stations throughout Mexico.

That’s just the beginning: The company wants to expand into the United States. But there’s a catch. The Federal Communication Commission doesn’t allow foreign companies to own U.S. broadcasting stations. The company, however, has found a backdoor into the U.S. market.

In April, Grupo Radio Centro began a seven-year, $7-million-per-year lease of KXOS-FM, an Emmis-owned station in Los Angeles, with an upfront payment of $14 million for the first two years. The lease allows Grupo Radio Centro to buy the station for $110 million — if the law allows — or to designate a third party to buy the station, with which it could negotiate a new lease.

The company pays annual dividends. For the past two years, it has paid 0.6145 Mexican pesos per Bolsa Mexicana-listed share. Since one NYSE-listed ADR represents nine Mexican shares, each share of RC has annually received 5.5305 pesos. At current exchange rates, that equals $0.428 per share for a yield of 5.25%.

For the nine months ended Sept. 30, revenue was +4.2% higher than for the same period of 2008. The company said that this was due to more advertising by clients as well as revenue from KXOS-FM. Income, however, was -41.6% lower due to expenses in connection with the KXOS deal. As of Sept. 30, the company had $14.4 million in debt and $5.6 million in cash on the books.

Grupo Radio Centro is a great play on the growth of the Spanish-speaking population in the United States, and the 5.25% it yields is the best in the industry.

P.S. If you like income, there’s a better way to play Mexico. Back in July, Carla Pasternak brought her High-Yield International readers a tax-advantaged Mexican monopoly paying a 13.4% dividend yield. The stock’s already surged +39.1% in less than six months. You may have missed the double-digit yield, but you can still lock in an 8.7% payday if you act today. Click here to get started.