At first glance C&C Group (LSE: CCR) may appear a tasty selection for those seeking brilliant dividend yields.
The brewing giant has consistently lifted dividends even in times of sustained earnings weakness (C&C has endured three bottom-line reverses on the spin), and the City does not expect either trend to cease just yet.
A 6% profits drop is forecast for the year ending February 2018, worsening from last year’s 3% decline. But despite this, a total dividend of 15.5 euro cents per share is anticipated, improving from 14.33 cents previously and yielding a very chunky 5.3%.
And supported by an anticipated 5% bounceback in fiscal 2019 the firm is expected to lift the dividend again to 16.1 cents, shoving the yield to a formidable 5.5%.
C&C’s half-year market update on Thursday certainly suggested that payouts should continue swelling. In it the Dublin-based business announced it was lifting the interim payout by 5% year-on-year to 5.21 cents.
Too much risk
Still, in my opinion, today’s trading statement had a lot more for investors to worry about rather than news to encourage fresh bouts of buying.
The company — whose products include Bulmers and Magners cider and Tennents lager — saw net revenues slip 6.8% during the six months to August, to €273.1m, a result that pushed operating profit 4.9% lower to €50.5m.
C&C noted that “volatile market conditions remain across the industry,” and that while its UK businesses have made a “solid” start to the second half of the year, “in Ireland, where the cider category remains highly competitive, trading has been marginally slower than expected.” The firm has also been negatively impacted by currency movements, it advised.
C&C’s sustained share price weakness (the brewer has lost more than 25% of its market value in the course of 2017) reflects this increasingly-difficult trading environment. And while the business is doubling-down on brand investment to stimulate sales and cost-cutting to shore up the bottom line, I reckon the drinks giant is a risk too far right now.
I would give C&C a wide berth despite its undemanding forward P/E ratio of 13.1 times.
Dividend yields set to balloon
Those on the hunt for darling dividend stocks would be much better taking a look at eSure Group (LSE: ESUR), in my opinion.
Unlike C&C, the car insurer and its peers are enjoying a steady improvement in market conditions as motor premiums continue their relentless northwards march.
Indeed, price comparison website Confused.com said earlier in October that policy costs had rocketed 14% over the past year, and that even worse is likely to come for Britain’s drivers — motorist editor Amanda Stretton commented: “There is every possibility that car insurance prices will be the most expensive on record during the first half of next year.”
It is hardly a shock, therefore, that eSure is tipped by City analysts to flip from an anticipated 5% earnings decline in 2017 to report a 13% improvement in 2018.
And this is expected to push dividends northwards again then, from a reduced 12.5p per share in the current period to 14.4p. These projections yield a very-decent 4.6% and 5.2% respectively.
I am convinced eSure should prove a brilliant bet for growth and income investors now and in the future.
Royston Wild has no position in any of the shares mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has no position in any of the shares mentioned. Views expressed on the companies mentioned in this article are those of the writer and therefore may differ from the official recommendations we make in our subscription services such as Share Advisor, Hidden Winners and Pro. Here at The Motley Fool we believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors.