The rate at which NMC Health (LSE: NMC) is lifting dividends suggests that investors may make an absolute packet in the years ahead.
The FTSE 100 business — which provides private healthcare to citizens in 13 countries across the Middle East — has witnessed eye-popping earnings growth in recent years. And in line with its vow to pursue a dividend payout ratio of 20-30% of post-tax profits, this has made it happy hunting for income chasers.
Dividends at NMC have doubled during the past three years alone, culminating in 2017’s full-year payout of 13p per share. With earnings predicted to stomp 38% and 24% higher in 2018 and 2019, respectively, the healthcare giant is expected to lift the dividend to 18.1p and 23.9p per share for these respective years.
Great growth at bargain prices
Now subsequent yields of 0.5% for this year and 0.7% for the next period may not overwhelm you. However, the promise of strong and sustained profits expansion long into the future still makes the Footsie share a compelling income bet, in my opinion.
As I noted last time out, NMC is embarked on an ambitious M&A programme to turbocharge profits growth in its fast-growing emerging nations. And last month it carved out a joint venture with the General Organization for Social Insurance, the biggest pension fund in Saudi Arabia, to create one of the largest private healthcare operator in the country with bases across multiple cities, including the capital Riyadh.
NMC saw group revenues leap 31% in 2017 as patient numbers continued to surge (up 34% year-on-year to 5.8m, to be precise). However, a forward PEG reading of 0.9 doesn’t reflect the likelihood that turnover will keep tearing higher. The business is a steal right now.
A dependable diamond
Unilever (LSE: ULVR) is another share I’m expecting to provide the sort of reliable, impressive earnings growth that could make you a fortune.
As I noted last time out, the formidable pricing power of the household goods manufacturer cannot be underestimated, with the popularity of its goods remaining broadly undimmed regardless of any pressure on consumer spending power. Labels such as Domestos bleach and Magnum ice cream are proven cash cows that can be relied on to generate profit rises whatever the weather.
What’s more, Unilever’s layers of diversification also gives earnings that little bit extra visibility. Whether talking about about its sizeable geographic presence that sees it straddle both the developed and developing world, or the vast range of product types that it offers (from deodorants to washing powder and shower gels to tea bags), the business has the strength in depth to protect itself from weakness in one or two places or product segments.
Accordingly, City analysts are expecting earnings at the FTSE 100 firm to keep rising, and they are predicting advances of 1% and 10% in 2018 and 2019, respectively. And this feeds into expectations that dividends should keep growing quickly too — rewards of 131.8p per share for this year and 142.8p for next year are currently estimated, resulting in bulky yields of 3.1% and 3.4%.
It may carry an elevated forward P/E ratio of 20.9 times, but I reckon Unilever is worth every penny.