Kenya’s Three Top Dividend Stocks

Three Kenyan stocks with high yields, low debt, consistent track record, and the potential for growth.

Co-operative Bank HQ
Co-operative Bank HQ
Photo by Ninara

Dividend stocks can provide a great foundation for an investment portfolio.

But plunking your hard-earned cash into the share with the highest yield could be a costly mistake.

At the moment, nearly a third of stocks listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange sport dividend yields greater than 4%. But how do you decide which ones stand the best chance of building your wealth over the long-term?

Beware High Debt Loads

After identifying a stock with a high yield, the first thing you want to check is its debt load. Companies that borrow heavily often find it difficult to sustain their dividend when the economy turns sour and interest rates rise.

This is what happened to Kenya Power in 2013. Interest charges on its debt more than doubled when it borrowed to finance extension of the electricity grid, and management was forced to nix its dividend payout.

To minimize this risk, only consider stocks with debt levels lower than 70% of their book value. We calculate this debt to equity ratio by dividing all of the company’s interest-bearing debt by its total equity.

Companies with low debt-to-equity ratios are generally resilient enough to weather tough times without immediately cutting dividend payments to their shareholders.

Don’t Forget Growth

The next thing to look for is the potential for growth. If a company isn’t growing, then it’s unlikely that it will be able to consistently increase its dividend. And if a company isn’t consistently boosting its dividend, you might as well invest in a bond.

Companies often reveal their potential for growth by the percentage of their earnings that they pay out in the form of dividends.

If a company pays out just 10% of its earnings, then it is likely investing the remainder in expansion. Therefore, it stands a good chance of increasing its dividend in the next year. If, however, the company pays out 90% of its earnings, management is essentially saying that it doesn’t have many good ideas about growing the business, so it’s likely that dividend growth will soon stagnate.

So, if a steadily increasing dividend income stream appeals to you, it’s best to avoid companies like Bamburi Cement and Nation Media Group. Both paid out more than 90% of their earnings over the past 12 months. Stick to companies with payout ratios lower than 70% instead.

Consistency is Crucial

If you find a high-yielding company with low debt and a low payout ratio, the final step is to check out its dividend payment history.

You want to avoid companies that slashed their dividend at any time during the past five years. Why? Because if they reduced their dividend one time, there’s a good chance that they’ll be tempted to do it again.

The Dividend Diamond Screen

To recap, screen the market for shares that meet the following standards:

1. Dividend yield > 4%
2. Interest-bearing Debt to Equity Ratio < 0.7
3. Payout Ratio < 70%
4. No dividend cuts in past five years

Kenya’s Top Dividend Stocks

As of September 11, 2016, the following three NSE stocks passed the above screen.

Yield LT Debt/Equity Payout Ratio
Carbacid 4.9% 0.0 43.2%
Co-operative Bank 7.0% 0.3 31.3%
Equity Bank 7.6% 0.5 32.7%

What Do You Think?

Do these results surprise you? Do you have a favorite dividend idea to share? Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

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14 thoughts on “Kenya’s Three Top Dividend Stocks”

  1. This is very good information.
    What is your opinion on Barclays Bank of Kenya, its currently trading at Kshs 8.80 with a dividend Kshs 1.00 which makes it 11% yield?

  2. WTK has paid had a dividend yield of over 10% in the past two years. Which effectively leaves the cost basis (ignoring time value of money) at less than 80% of go-in price two years ago.
    It has a low D/E ratio
    Which of your criteria did they not meet?

  3. Equity bank completely fits your discription.Im glad its top in my portfolio.
    Co-op bank has a weak growth strategy.They only relie on cost cutting measures to grow revenue.Thats not sustainable.They lack innovation and flexibility.
    I have been very keen on NSE this year but i have no idea what carbacid does for business.I saw their half year results in january and was not impressed with the figures.

  4. Equity bank completely fits your discription.Im glad its top in my portfolio.
    Co-op bank has a weak growth strategy.They only relie on cost cutting measures to grow revenue.Thats not sustainable.They lack innovation and flexibility.
    I have been very keen on NSE this year but i have no idea what carbacid does for business.I saw their half year results in january and was not impressed with the figures.Now that you have mentioned i will try to look at it again.I think their full year results is due next month or november? i will go through it and see if i can join.

  5. Hi,
    Interesting website.

    I buy’sell shares in AEX and am interested in African shares. A question:

    Is it possible for a Kenyan or Ethiopian person to buy Europian or American shares on line from Addis or Nairobi?

    Would you have information on this subject?

    Thanks in advance,

    With kind regards,
    Saron

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