Thomson Reuters: Stock Review

Thomson Reuters: A Canadian Dividend Champion

*The following is a guest post by Dividend Power*

As a dividend growth investor, I love Dividend Champions. These are stocks that have paid a
growing dividend for 25-years or more. Thomson Reuters is a Dividend Champion. The stock is
also one of the Canadian Dividend Aristocrats. Thomson Reuters is a Canadian company that
trades on the Toronto Stock Exchange or ‘TSE’ and also trades on the New York Stock Exchange
or ‘NYSE’. At the right price, the stock is probably a good addition to many dividend growth
portfolios. The market downturn resulting from COVID-19 caused the stock price to drop, but it
has recovered somewhat since then. The current dividend yield is roughly 2.3%, which is higher
than the broader market average. Dividend growth investors may want to research this stock
further.


Overview of Thomson Reuters


Thomson Reuters is a media, content, and data company that traces its founding back to 1934 in
Canada and 1851 in London. The company in its current form is the result of a $17.6 billion
merger between Thomson of Canada and Reuters Group of the U.K. in 2008. More recently, in
2018, the company divested its Finance and Risk business forming Refinitv in exchange for $17
billion. Thomson owns a 45% stake of Refinitv and The Blackstone Group (BX) owns the other
55%. In 2019, Thomson Reuters agreed to exchange the 45% stake in Refinitiv that it owns for
a 15% stake in the London Stock Exchange Group subject to regulatory approvals.


Today, Thomson Reuters operates in five business segments: Corporates (22% of revenue),
Legal Professionals (41% of revenue), Tax & Accounting Professionals (14% of revenue), Reuters
News (11% of revenue), and Global Print (12% of revenue). The company will have about $5.9
billion in revenue in 2020 (before COVID-19 impacts). Thomson Reuters is the market leader in
the global legal market segment, and the market leader in corporate legal and tax solutions in
the U.S., and the tax market segment in the U.S.


Note that the company is controlled by the Thomson family of Canada through their investing
vehicle, Woodbridge Company Limited. They control approximately 65% of the company’s
common shares. The family holds the chairman position in Thomson Reuters.


Thomson Reuters Dividend and Safety


Thomson Reuters is a Dividend Champion and a Canadian Dividend Aristocrat. The company
has paid a growing dividend for 27 consecutive years since 1993. The regular cash dividend has
increased from $0.08 per share in 1993 to $1.52 per share in 2020. This gives a current dividend
yield of approximately 2.3%, which is not bad compared to S&P 500s’ current average dividend
yield of about 2.0%.

Source: TRI Booklet Winter 2020


Thomson’s dividend safety metrics have historically been somewhat volatile due to special
items. They have also worsened recently due to the divestment and subsequent loss of revenue
and lower earnings, and COVID-19.


Looking forward, consensus 2020 earnings per share is $1.77. The forward dividend is $1.52 per
share. This gives a payout ratio of approximately 86%. This value is greater than my target value
of 65% or lower. However, revenue and earnings are likely to be depressed in 2020 due to
COVID-19. Further, Thomson Reuters is adding to revenue through bolt-on acquisitions. This
should improve the payout ratio with time as these acquisitions grow and add to the bottom-
line.


On a free cash flow basis, the dividend is also safe. The company is guiding for roughly $1 billion
in free cash flow. This is down from guidance of $1.2 billion in FCF earlier in the year due to
COVID-19. The dividend costs about $760 million annually ($1.52 x 500 million shares). This
gives a dividend-to-FCF ratio of about 76%. This is an OK value but higher than my target value
of 70%. The long-range target for Thomson Reuters is to pay 50% – 60% of free cash flow as
the dividend.


The dividend is also seemingly safe from the perspective of debt. At end of the most recent
quarter, Thomson Reuters had outstanding debt of $3.8 billion off set by cash on hand and
short-term investments of $1.35 billion. No debt is due until 2023 adding to the good picture from the
perspective of debt.


Overall, the combination of the divestiture, restructuring, and COVID-19 has likely made the
dividend safety metrics somewhat worse the desired. However, Thomson Reuters has
positioned itself in higher growth areas and is forecasting organic growth supplemented by M&A. With that said, I do not expect the dividend to grow at very fast rate over the next couple
of years as the global economy recovers from COVID-19.

Thomson Reuters Valuation


Is Thomson Reuters undervalued? The stock is currently trading at a forward earnings multiple
of about 38.5X. This is higher than the average of the S&P 500, which is trading at 21.9 as of this
writing. So, no Thomson Reuters is not undervalued at the moment. However, some of this
elevated valuation is due to lower consensus forward earnings per share due to COVID-19. The
high earnings multiple is also due to limited float that is also contributing to overvaluation.
Recall that the Thomson family controls about 65% of the common shares. So, there is limited
amount of stock that trades on a daily basis for a company of its size.


Final Thoughts on Thomson Reuters


Thomson Reuters’ stock price dropped to near $52 per share at the depths of the downturn
caused by COVID-19, which was probably a good entry point. The stock is arguably an under the
radar dividend growth stock. I expect that the dividend will continue to grow in the future but
at a slower rate. The company has seemingly prioritized share repurchases and M&A at the
moment. With that said, dividend growth investors may want to research this stock further
and keep an eye on it for a better entry point.


Biography: Dividend Power is self-taught dividend growth investor. He is the founder and
author of the Dividend Power investment blog. He writes about dividend growth stocks for the
long-term small investor seeking to invest in dividend stocks for income and growth. His focus is
on undervalued stocks with sustainable dividend growth and capital appreciation potential. His
work has appeared on Seeking Alpha, Sure Dividend, ValueWalk, The MoneyShow, and other
financial sites.

Updated Canadian Dividend Stock Watchlist

Canadian Dividend Stocks To Buy In 2020

It’s been a while since I’ve updated my watchlist. I haven’t made a stock purchase in a few months. In fact my last stock purchase was back in early March, right when Covid 19 was just starting to really hit North America. If you recall, I had added to my positions in XAW, GoEasy Financial, Chorus Aviation (ouch), Diversified Royalty and finally initiated a new position in New Flyer. I am still happy holding all of these companies long term and the only one that has taken a huge hit was Chorus Aviation.

I’ve increase my bi weekly contributions into my TFSA and although I haven’t purchased anything yet, I’ve had my eye on a few different companies. First a bit of background, so you can better understand my reasons for choosing the stocks below…

1) My RRSP holds mostly just 2 funds. One is XAW(which is about 40% of my total portfolio) and takes care of my USA/Global diversification and the other is an RBC Canadian Equity Income fund(About 25% of my total portfolio).

2) I use my TFSA specifically to hold Canadian Dividend Paying Stocks, so this watchlist will only include Canadian Stocks that pay a dividend.

3) Since about 25% of my portfolio is the RBC Canadian Dividend fund, I TRY to avoid holding the same stocks in my TFSA/RRSP. There are some exceptions (Algonquin Power, New Flyer, etc).

4) My updated watchlist will consist of Canadian Dividend paying stocks, and which meet my custom stock screening criteria. Some metrics I use in my custom stock screen are: Conservative Payout Ratio, Reasonable Price/Earnings, Earnings Growth & Expected Earnings Growth and Debt Levels.

Consumer Staples Stock(s):

Metro & Loblaw

Looking at these two stocks, I don’t believe you can go wrong with either. I would actually like to add them both, however right now I am leaning towards Metro. The only areas where Loblaw comes out on top is:
a) I am extremely familiar with it, I shop there multiple times a month.
b) Current dividend yield is slightly higher, slightly less volatility.

That said, the numbers speak for themselves, and I believe the first one I pick up will be Metro. See for yourself…

Metro looks like the clear winner here. They are trading at a better multiple, they have a much more conservative payout ratio (more room to grow the dividend), and the past 5 years show they are doing just that.


My target price for these stocks are:
Metro: $51.00
Loblaw:$61.00

Financial Stocks


The big banks are all well covered in my RBC Canadian Equity fund, so I will not talk about them here (although I will see, they pretty much all look like great pick ups right about now). I ALMOST grabbed some Bank of Nova Scotia last week when it was trading at 9x earnings. It is still trading under 10x earnings and yielding 6.13%!

I’ve been watching First National & Canadian Western Bank for years. In fact I owned CWB for a while, bought it at $19, sold it around $30. It is a stock that continually has good metrics, but also has crazy volatility usually tied to the Alberta market and oil prices. That said they have diversified away from being a “western” bank and continue to expand. If you don’t like volatility, it’s probably not for you, but it’s got a great history of increasing dividends, a low payout ratio and because of it’s volatility you can periodically scoop it up at a great price.

First National is actually the company I have my mortgage with, and they aren’t your typical financial institution. They work closely with mortgage brokers, and leverage technology better than most of the big banks. I’m a big fan of their online mortgage platform, however the current interest rates, coupled with the increasing amount of Canadian Household Debt may hurt them. First National pays a nice monthly dividend, and insiders own over 10%, which is usually a sign that management has confidence in the business.

Let’s see what the numbers say. I included Bank Of Nova Scotia here as well for reference:

As you can see, all 3 are trading at very reasonable levels, with the edge going to Canadian Western Bank. The dividend yields are all pretty strong as well. The conservative payout ratio as well as the 5 year dividend growth rate also put Canadian Western Bank on top.

Bank of Nova Scotia is the easy set it and forget it pick. It has solid, but not spectacular numbers all around, and you know it will keep doing its thing.

First National has a few risks attached with it, if interest rates stay this low, they will get hurt more than other big banks, and the payout ratio of 78.6% is way too high for my liking (especially in this sector). I own some reits with better payout ratios!

Canadian Western Bank looks like the winner for me here. That said, I still don’t like it enough at it’s current price to pull the trigger. I’ve seen it dip below $20 many times over the last few years, and I expect it (along with most other stocks) will see another huge drop as Covid continues to wreak havoc on us. I love the dividend growth history, low payout ratio and their commitment to diversifying outside of Alberta, and also more into wealth management.

Long term, I don’t think you can go wrong with any of these, and here are my target prices:

BNS: $60 or less. Honestly it’s a good price now. It could drop again, but if you are in it for the long haul, getting this for 9-10x Earnings is a go for me

CWB: $19.99 or lower. Although I would never recommend swing trading – if you had to choose a stock to do it – this may be the one. This one continually goes from $20-$35. I like it for its dividend growth and low payout ratio. I’d be comfortable buying and holding for 5-10 years if I can scoop some up at $20 or less.

First National: $22.50. If I am being honest it’s probably a good price at $25-27 as well, but due to some of the risk, I’d only grab this one if it really falls quite heavily again.

2 Other stocks I want, but am waiting for price to drop …Alimentation Couche Tard & DOLLARAMA
It’s getting late, so I won’t go into these ones too much right now (i’ll probably do a solo write up on each). I am currently waiting for these two to drop to initiate a position.

I actually owned ATD.B previously, but sold it a couple years back, and although I made a nice chunk on that trade, I wish I held on to it. Dollarama is one that I’ve never owned but have wanted to for a while. These two stocks have a lot of similar metrics, both have extremely low yields, but both are growing them at exponential rates. They both have super conservative payout ratios, and have both seen their earnings and profits rise at “growth stock rates” for the last few years. That said, Dollarama has seen a pretty big drop in the rate of it’s growth the last 2 years while ATD has continued to impress. These are another two great stocks for the long haul, which I hope to add both by the end of this year. My target prices are:

Dollarama: $38.00
ATD.B: $40.00

Do you own any of these stocks? Would you consider buying any? Let me know your thoughts.

Cheers.

May 2020 Update: Dividends, Renovations & Bourbon

Dividend Income & Portfolio News

Personal Highlights – May 2020

  • 2 Years ago we thought we were going to sell the cabin because it was hard to enjoy with a 1 and 3 year old… but as the kids got older, we’ve really started enjoying it again.  We decided if we are going to keep it – we should finally make a few much needed changes.  We bought new beds, a new BBQ, brought a few new chairs out, and spent 2 full days ripping up the old carpet/flooring and putting new floors in.  It looks and feels like a whole new cabin.  Pic below:
    Cabin Floor Renovations
  • On the Covid front – our province is on “Phase 2” of reopening.  Most things are open now, although strict guidelines are still in place.  I haven’t yet gone to any restaurants or malls or anything.  Although I have made a couple trips to the hardware store.  We’ve been really lucky so far in Manitoba *knock on wood* with under 300 confirmed cases since the pandemic started.
  • The liquor mart got their yearly supply of my favourite bourbon that they carry so I stocked up.  It only comes in once or twice a year, and always sells out, so I need to make sure I stock up when it is available:)
    Liquor Mart
  • If I am being completely honest, between Covid, and the protests happening down south, I have lost quite a bit of interest in stocks, sports, etc.  I find myself refreshing twitter, reading articles, and going down the rabbit hole reading comments or arguing with people.  On the one hand I feel like I need to take a break from it for my own mental health, but on the other hand this is too important to just ignore/take a break.
  • I’m going to keep this short this month. Truth be told, I feel kind of like a Jackass even writing a dividend report/blog update with everything going on in the world right now, but it keeps my mind busy.  I hate that we even have to say #blacklivesmatter.  How fucked up is that? Seriously – think about that for a second. How did we let it get to this?  Silence and status quo I think is the biggest factor.  If you see or hear something racist, sexist, homophobic – please do your part and call that shit out.  It won’t be easy, it will be uncomfortable, but it needs to be done.
  • Financial Highlights for May:

  • Continued bi weekly contributions into TFSA, Wife’s TFSA & Spousal RRSP
  • May is usually a slow month, not many dividends paid.  The good news is there were no cuts/suspensions this month.
  • I was paid dividends from 5 companies, and 1 funds this month.  I dripped a total of 43 new shares/units.
  • Even though I had to take a temporary pay cut, my spending has been way down, which has more than made up for the temporary cut.  I guess it is easy to increase your savings rate when you can’t go out anywhere…haha
  • Next month XAW pays its semi annual dividend.  This should give my income a nice boost. They haven’t announced their distribution yet, and I assume it will be lower than last year due to Covid, but it should still hopefully work out to over $1000.

Passive Income Update For May 2020.

TFSA’S:

Diversified Royalty: $22.62(dripped 13 shares)

Artis Reit: $28.22 (dripped 3 shares)

Power Corp: $98.90 (dripped 4 shares)

Interrent Reit: $4.29

Plaza Reit: $29.68 (dripped 10 shares)

TFSA’s Total: $183.73

RRSP:

Canadian Equity Income Distribution: $352(dripped 13.845 shares)

Total Passive Income May 2020:  $535.73

Portfolio Update:

My portfolio was up slightly to: $334,531.46  This represents a increase of 1.62% from last month. I expect continued volatility in the market (and my portfolio) for the foreseeable future.

My long term plan hasn’t changed. I haven’t sold a single stock, and I continue to look for good deals.  I’ve updated my watchlist, I am currently keeping an eye on: Manulife, First National Bank, Alimentation Couche Tard, Metro and Canadian Western Bank (among a few others).

Passive income in May was $535.73 This is one of my slowest months, but luckily it should be followed by one of my largest.  Next month XAW pays one of it’s semi annual distributions.  With everything that has gone on in the market, I am not too sure how much to expect from XAW but it should be a much needed boost.

Assuming no dividend cuts or increases, my current Forward 12 month dividend income is $11,340.46.

Stay safe!

Cheers.