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What are we looking for?

Sustainable dividends from companies tapping marijuana’s expanding markets, yet with little of the industry’s share-price volatility.

The screen

Cannabis use continues to grow as more countries and U.S. states embrace legalization. Still, picking investment winners from the industry’s producers and retailers remains difficult.

A better way to profit from the segment is with top service providers such as Ohio-based Scotts Miracle-Gro Co. They’re set to prosper – and continue paying dividends – regardless of which marijuana producers or sellers come out on top. We also consider companies with a sizable holding in a cannabis producer or retailer but with other operations to offset cannabis stock volatility.

We started our search with an extensive list of Canadian and U.S. companies. From the dividend payers, we singled out those offering low-risk gains from rising marijuana demand. We then applied our TSI Dividend Sustainability Rating System, which awards points to a stock based on key factors:

  • One point for five years of continuous dividend payments – two points for more than five;
  • Two points if it has raised the payment in the past five years;
  • One point for management’s commitment to dividends;
  • One point for operating in non-cyclical industries;
  • One point for limited exposure to foreign currency 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 to cover dividends;
  • One point if the company’s an industry leader.

Companies with 10 to 12 points have the most-secure dividends, or the highest sustainability. 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

Seven sustainable dividends

Ranking*CompanyTickerDiv. Sustain. RatingPointsDiv. Yld. (%)Mkt. Cap. ($ Bil.)**1Y Ttl. Rtn. (%) Recent Price ($)**
1British American Tobacco (ADR)BTI-NAbove Average98.376.69.735.81
2Altria Group Inc.MO-NAbove Average97.688.728.047.50
3Molson Coors Brewing Co.TAP-NAbove Average93.19.528.843.62
4Scotts Miracle-Gro Co.SMG-NAbove Average91.88.4-4.9147.36
5Constellation Brands Inc.STZ-NAbove Average91.441.025214.95
6Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc.ATD-B-TAbove Average80.851.310.846.57
7Innovative Industrial PropertiesIIPR-NAbove Average72.46.3110.6254.66

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.

Our TSI Dividend Sustainability Rating System generated seven stocks: Alcohol beverage leader Constellation Brands Inc. holds 38.6 per cent of pot producer Canopy Growth Corp. of Smiths Falls, Ont. Tobacco giant Altria Group Inc. owns 45 per cent of Toronto-based Cronos Group Inc.

Earlier this year, British American Tobacco PLC acquired its own 20-per-cent stake in Moncton grower Organigram Holdings Inc. Molson Coors Brewing Co. has partnered with cannabis producer Hexo Corp. of Ottawa to sell cannabis-infused beverages, while Innovative Industrial Properties Inc., based in San Diego, leases out properties to medical marijuana growers and processors. Lawn-and-gardening specialist Scotts Miracle-Gro has successfully expanded to meet the hydroponic supply needs of growers.

Finally, convenience-store leader Alimentation Couche-Tard Inc. of Laval, Que., owns 22.4 per cent of Toronto-based Fire & Flower Holdings Corp., a licensed cannabis and accessories retailer with stores in several provinces.

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

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

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