LONDON — The last five years have been tough for those in retirement. Portfolio valuations have been hammered, and annuity rates have plunged. There’s no sign of things improving anytime soon, either, as the eurozone and the U.K. economy look set to muddle through at best for some years to come.
A great way of protecting yourself from the downturn, however, is by building your retirement fund with shares of large, well-run companies that should grow their earnings steadily over the coming decades. Over time, such investments ought to result in rising dividends and inflation-beating capital growth.
In this series, I’m tracking down the U.K. large-caps that have the potential to beat the FTSE 100 over the long term and support a lower-risk income-generating retirement fund (you can see the companies I’ve covered so far on this page).
Today, I’m going to take a look at engineering group IMI plc (LON:IMI), one of the smaller companies in the FTSE 100.
IMI vs. FTSE 100
Let’s start with a look at how IMI has performed against the FTSE 100 over the last 10 years:
|Total Returns||2008||2009||2010||2011||2012||10-Yr. Trailing Avg.|
IMI plc (LON:IMI)’s meteoric growth over the last decade earned it promotion into the FTSE 100 in 2010 and means that shareholders have enjoyed an average annual return of twice the FTSE 100 average over the last 10 years — not bad for a company that specializes in “the precise control and movement of fluids”! So does IMI have the makings of a great retirement share?
What’s the score?
To help me pinpoint suitable investments, I like to score companies on key financial metrics that highlight the characteristics I look for in a retirement share. Let’s see how IMI shapes up:
|Market cap||4.3 billion pounds|
|Net debt||117 million pounds|
|5-Year Average Financials|
Here’s how I’ve scored IMI on each of these criteria:
|Longevity||A long and respectable heritage.||5/5|
|Performance vs. FTSE||Outstanding.||5/5|
|Financial strength||Low debt, strong cash generation, but a big pension deficit.||3/5|
|EPS growth||Strong earnings growth is expected to continue.||4/5|
|Dividend growth||Decent growth with no cuts in more than 20 years.||4/5|
Unlike many British engineering businesses, IMI plc (LON:IMI) has survived and prospered for more than 150 years. Although the nature of its business has changed several times over the years — until the 1990s, its main area of expertise was metals — this isn’t unusual for successful engineering businesses, which tend to be driven by a combination of scientific discovery and economic necessity.