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What are we looking for?

Stock picks of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec offering sustainable dividends.

The screen

Michael Sabia, chief executive of the Caisse, Quebec’s pension fund giant, said this week he will step down after an 11-year run and a near tripling of the fund’s net assets to $326.7-billion.

Those strong gains come despite the $700-million loss the fund booked this year as SNC-Lavalin Group Inc.’s largest shareholder. That investment is just a small part of Caisse’s overall, high-performing portfolio.

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Starting with the fund’s dividend-paying stocks, we singled out those with the best prospects for earnings and share-price growth – as well as sustainable dividends.

​We then applied our TSI Dividend Sustainability Rating System. It awards points to a stock based on eight factors:

  • One point for a long-term (at least five years) record of dividends – two points for more than five years of continuous payments;
  • Two points if it has raised the payment in the past five years;
  • One point for management’s public commitment to dividends;
  • One point for operating in non-cyclical industries, which are less sensitive to the ups and downs of the economy (after all, sharply lower earnings could prompt a company to cut its dividend to conserve cash);
  • One point for limited exposure to foreign currency exchange rates and freedom from political interference;
  • Two points for a strong balance sheet, including manageable debt and adequate cash;
  • Two points for a long-term record of positive earnings and cash flow sufficient to cover dividend payments;
  • One point if the company is an industry leader.

Companies with 10 to 12 points have the most secure dividends, or the highest sustainability rating. Those with seven to nine points have above-average sustainability; average sustainability, four to six points; and below-average sustainability, one to three points.

More about TSI Network

TSI Network is the online home of The Successful Investor Inc. – the group of widely followed Canadian investment newsletters by editor and publisher Pat McKeough. They include our award-winning flagship newsletter, The Successful Investor. The TSI Best ETFs for Canadian Investors is the latest. TSI Network is also affiliated with Successful Investor Wealth Management.

What we found

Our TSI Dividend Sustainability Rating System generated 10 companies: Canadian National Railway Co. operates the country’s largest rail network. Royal Bank of Canada, Toronto-Dominion Bank and Bank of Nova Scotia are Big Five stalwarts. Enbridge Inc. operates oil and gas pipelines spanning Canada and into the United States. Mondelez International Inc. makes snacks, gum and chocolate, with Trident, Oreo and Cadbury among its brands. Dollar General Corp., a retail chain focused on small towns throughout the United States, now has about 16,000 stores. Johnson & Johnson makes drugs, medical devices and owns consumer brands Band-Aid, Tylenol and Listerine. International Business Machines Corp. remains a global computing giant, while Manulife Financial Corp. is among Canada’s largest insurers.

We advise investors to do additional research on any investments we identify below.

Select holdings of the Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec

Ranking*CompanyTickerDiv. Sustainability RatingPointsDiv. Yld. (%)Mkt. Cap. ($ Bil.)**Recent price ($)**1Y Ttl. Rtn. (%)
1Enbridge Inc.ENB-THighest115.8102.651.3718.6
2Toronto-Dominion BankTD-THighest103.9139.476.364.7
3Royal Bank of CanadaRY-THighest103.9155.3108.2013.1
4Johnson & JohnsonJNJ-NHighest102.9345.7131.27-9.3
5Canadian National RailwayCNR-THighest101.888.2123.009.5
6Bank of Nova ScotiaBNS-TAbove Average94.793.376.077.3
7Manulife Financial Corp.MFC-TAbove Average93.851.426.2617.6
8Mondelez Int'l Inc.MDLZ-QAbove Average92.275.052.7019.5
9IBM Corp.IBM-NAbove Average84.8120.1134.4811.2
10Dollar General Corp.DG-NAbove Average80.840.4157.9937.0

Source: Dividend Advisor

*Ranking is determined by TSI Dividend Sustainability Score. Where overall points are the same, analysts considered P/E, dividend yield and industry outlook to decide final placements.
**Share price and market cap are in native currency. 

Scott Clayton, MBA, is senior analyst for TSI Network and associate editor of TSI Dividend Advisor.

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