Don’t fall into the well: four income stocks outside oil

Ken Wotton - LF Gresham House UK Multi Cap Income Fund - May 2022

Ken Wotton - LF Gresham House UK Multi Cap Income Fund - May 2022

As inflation reaches a 30-year high, investors are having to work harder to find income.

Many have been flocking to oil and mining stocks, where dividends have soared in recent weeks, in search of a short-term fix.

This is a very imprudent course of action. These cyclical sectors are prone to volatility, as evidenced by dividend cuts during Covid-19, and the future of fossil fuels is a foregone conclusion.

Instead, investors should look to other areas that can consistently deliver robust dividends.

My team targets companies in structurally growing sectors, with a competitive advantage providing them prolonged pricing power.

We are confident these businesses will maintain healthy dividends and dividend cover, which will underpin our yield target of 4% over the long term.

Driving higher dividends 🚗

In the current uncertain environment, there are some exciting opportunities – not least within our existing portfolio, where we have been adding to some positions taking advantage of the market weakness.

Sabre Insurance is a motor insurance company we have held since March 2019, which dominates the premium and hard-to-insure vehicle categories.

Due to its specialism, it is a high margin business relative to the insurance industry and pays a substantial dividend – forecast at 6% for this year. Moreover, its competitive advantage lies in proprietary data processes and intellectual property, leaving it less vulnerable to wage inflation.

At the start of 2022, new regulation came in to play to prevent insurers from charging automatic fee increases for existing clients. Although many relied on this as an added source of profitability, Sabre Insurance did not have this policy in place – and has not had to address revenue loss as a result.

Meanwhile, as insurance prices are raised to compensate for the change in regulation, Sabre Insurance will also be able to benefit. We have recently added to our position, as we believe there could be material capital growth ahead for the company.

Tasty long-term returns 🍕

UK businesses have been hit hard by rising food and fuel costs, as well as wage pressures in recent months.

Although some of its primary inputs are wheat and petrol, Domino’s Pizza has fared remarkably well in the inflationary environment.

As a franchise business, much of the impact of price rises fall on the franchisees rather than the business itself. In return, the business has recently agreed to take on more marketing and IT spend so the franchise owners do not have to spend at a local level. By renegotiating the franchise terms in the past six months, the business has created goodwill from its franchisees.

This will allow Domino’s, which generates revenue from franchise royalties, to concentrate on growing the business.

The company recently sold out of its loss-making segments in the Nordics and Switzerland to focus on deepening its customer base in the UK and Ireland.

In light of these recent moves and the potential for steady long-term growth, we have increased our position in the brand. Domino’s Pizza currently has a dividend yield of c.3%.

Healthy yields for life 🩺

The Covid-19 pandemic has accelerated technology adoption in many sectors, particularly the lagging healthcare space. EMIS Group is the leader in providing mission-critical software to GP practices in the UK.

Its patient management software has over 50% market share in England.

As the software is essential for GPs to run their practices, EMIS Group possesses pricing power and the ability to pass on cost increases to customers. It also has few competitors, as the barriers to becoming an approved NHS provider are high.

Meanwhile, its contracts with GP practices are long term and inflation linked, providing predictable revenue streams for investors.

The business has not been affected by the economic cycle, and benefits instead from high levels of long-term investment into healthcare. With a c.3% dividend yield per year, we believe this is a long-term play.

The business is also looking to develop its presence in the pharmacy and hospital segments, which could bring additional growth.

Structuring steady income streams 📊

The volume of insolvencies has been exceptionally low in the UK in the past few decades, and many struggling businesses were further kept afloat by Covid-19 relief packages. As these support measures begin to be dialled back, this will unfortunately mean more business failures.

Solvency and restructuring consultancy FRP Advisory is taking market share in this space.

This means while macro dynamics present structural tailwinds for the company, FRP Advisory does not need a wave of corporate administrations to perform well. It is already a growing company with net cash and high margins, which is also involved in transactional M&A.

When FRP Advisory transitioned from a partnership model to a public company, it put in place a share ownership scheme to reward employees.

This provides the company with an additional incentive to maintain robust dividends for investors – currently at 3.4%.


 

Ken Wotton is Fund Manager for the LF Gresham House UK Multi Cap Income Fund.  

All opinions expressed are Ken’s own and not necessarily those of Gresham House.

All data to March 2022 unless otherwise stated.

 

Key risks

  • The value of the Fund and the income from it is not guaranteed and may fall as well as rise. As your capital is at risk you may get back less than you originally invested
  • Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance
  • Funds investing in smaller companies may carry a higher degree of risk than funds investing in larger companies. The shares of smaller companies may be less liquid than securities in larger companies

Important information

This document is a financial promotion issued by Gresham House Asset Management Limited (Gresham House) under Section 21 of the Financial Services and Markets Act 2000.

Gresham House is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

The information should not be construed as an invitation, offer or recommendation to buy or sell investments, shares or securities or to form the basis of a contract to be relied on in any way. Gresham House provides no guarantees, representations or warranties regarding the accuracy of this information.

This article is provided for the purpose of information only and before investing you should read the Prospectus and the key investor information document (KIID) as they contain important information regarding the fund, including charges, tax and fund specific risk warnings and will form the basis of any investment. The prospectus, KIID and application forms are available from Link Fund Solutions, the Authorised Corporate Director of the Fund (Tel. No. 0345 922 0044).

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