To say I like the idea of making money from doing very little — otherwise known as ‘passive income’ — is putting it mildly. That’s why some of my savings are invested in dividend-paying companies, including some in the small-cap space. Today, I’ll discuss one example of the latter and two more that are on my watchlist.
Passive income generator
I’ve held a stake in kettle safety control supplier Strix (LSE: KETL) for some time now. I see no reason for this to change following Wednesday’s encouraging update on trading over 2020.
Yesterday, Strix stated it had seen “a marked recovery” in demand from July to December. This performance should see it deliver “modest” profit growth for the period. That’s pretty encouraging considering just how awful 2020 was for most businesses.
Of course, Strix’s small-cap status means its share price is likely to be more volatile than your typical FTSE 100 beast. As an investor with time on his side (I hope!), that doesn’t bother me. However, it might make the shares unsuitable for others with shorter time horizons.
Positively, Strix appears to have started the year well. Talk of a “strong” order book for January and Q1 should help the company reduce debt even further and continue paying passive income to holders. As far as the latter’s concerned, a 7.7p per share total dividend becomes a trailing yield of 3.3%, based on today’s share price.
Boring… but beautiful?
Another small-cap generating passive income for its holders is XPS Pensions (LSE: XPS). Analysts have estimated a 6.6p per share cash return in the current financial year (ending 31 March). Using today’s share price, this gives a chunky forecast yield of 5.5%. For perspective, the best I can get from a Cash ISA at the moment is a measly 0.55%! Trading at 12 times forecast earnings, XPS also looks very reasonably priced, in my opinion.
Any downsides? Well, the likely share price performance is unlikely to quicken pulses soon. As the largest pensions consultancy in the UK, XPS will never attract the sort of attention that other stocks might. This being the case, I wonder if the biggest risk in buying XPS is the opportunity cost of not taking opportunities elsewhere.
Still, if I was looking for a relatively mundane, uncyclical business that pays out cash to its owners without too much fuss, XPS surely ticks the box!
A final under-the-radar small-cap stock offering decent passive income is pawnbroker H&T (LSE: HAT). Benefiting from strong demand for jewellery, and the fact that most of its 253 stores could remain open, the company experienced “stronger than anticipated trading” in the final two months of 2020. This, H&T believes, will now lead it to outperform market expectations on profit for the full year.
Sure, some investors may be put off by the image of the industry in which H&T operates. The small matter of the company’s unsecured cash loans business being reviewed by the Financial Conduct Authority is an example of this.
For those comfortable with the ethics of this sector however, analysts currently have the company down to return 9.7p per share for 2020. That would equate to a 3.4% yield at the current share price. Factor in a £34m cash balance and no debt and I suspect cash payouts might rise again in 2021.