As dividend investors, while it is important to focus on dividends, it is also equally important to monitor the risk of capital erosion over a period of time. Dividend growth and intermediate sustainability is good, but it is less likely to be a substitute for significant loss of capital. Pfizer and GE are examples of capital erosion. These two companies were not only able to sustain their dividends but kept with their growth in last decade. However, the value of individual’s holding kept eroding over the last decade or so. For example:
- PFE was trading around $43 per share from 1999 to 2002. In last couple of years, it has been trading around $16. At the same time, it has paid cumulative dividends of only $8.22 per share.
- GE was trading around $40 per share from 1999 to 2002. In last couple of years, it has been trading around $18. At the same time, it has paid cumulative dividends on only $9.00 per share.
In recent days, four companies viz. BP, Johnson & Johnson, and Procter & Gamble, and Toyota Motors are (were) getting quite a bit of attention in news media. Rarely a day goes by when their woes, or management response to product issues, are not discussed in the financial media or general TV news channels. Three of these four corporations also happen to the good dividend paying companies. continue reading rest of the article….