Tate & Lyle (LSE: TATE) is one of the UK’s oldest businesses, and it is also one of the oldest publicly traded companies. This heritage implies that the business is built to withstand whatever the world throws at it, making it the perfect investment for investors who want to buy and forget their shares.
Tate is split into two divisions, Speciality Food Ingredients and Bulk Ingredients, two relatively defensive businesses that should see demand increase steadily as the world’s population demands more food. And according to a trading update issued by the firm today, this is precisely what is happening.
The group said that for the three months ended 31 December, the speciality ingredients core business “delivered good volume growth, including a continuation of modest volume growth in North America.” Meanwhile, on the bulk side of the business “profit growth is currently expected to be robust” for the fiscal period ending 31 March. Overall, the group remains on track to hit City forecasts for growth for the fiscal year to March.
Unfortunately, for the full year, City analysts are expecting the company to report a decline in earnings per share of 23%, mainly thanks to higher levels of investment, unfavourable currency movements, and higher ingredients costs. Still, even though Tate may not be the market’s next top growth stock, as an income play, it is highly attractive.
The shares currently support a dividend yield of 4.4%, and the payout is covered 1.7 times by earnings per share. Over the past five years, management has strengthened the balance sheet by reducing net gearing to just 28%, which gives the company plenty of financial headroom. Finally, the shares are currently trading at a forward P/E of 13.1.
So, if you are looking for a relatively defensive, inexpensive stock to add to your portfolio as an initial income investment, Tate seems to me to be a great buy.
A retirement company for a retirement portfolio
Another income stock I’m positive on the outlook for is Standard Life Aberdeen (LSE: SLA).
This retirement savings and investment manager is the perfect stock for income seekers who want to buy and forget their holdings. The very nature of the business means that management has to run the company with a retirement outlook because if they don’t, pension savers will avoid the business and its products. If Standard Life can maintain this reputation, the opportunity for growth over the long run is enormous as the demand for pension savings products will only grow as the world population ages (the recent merger has only improved the enlarged group’s outlook).
An enforced long-term mindset means that Standard Life’s dividend should be safer than most. Currently, the shares support a dividend yield of 5.7%, which is nearly double the market average, and trade at a modest forward P/E of 13.2. City analysts are expecting the company to increase its dividend by between 9% and 6% per annum over the next few years as earnings per share growth by a similar amount.
All in all then, as a starter income investment, Standard Life ticks all the boxes. The stock is modestly priced, offers a market-beating dividend yield, and the nature of the business should ensure the firm continues to grow for many decades.
Champion dividend growth
Standard Life and Tate are slow and steady dividend stocks, but if you're looking for something with a bit more potential, our analysts are highly excited about this firm's outlook.
This company has already achieved an impressive record of earnings investors, is profitable and has increased its dividend payout by 100% over the past five years.
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Rupert Hargreaves owns no share mentioned. The Motley Fool UK has recommended Standard Life Aberdeen. 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.