Thirsty For Income? Consider This Strategy: The Coca-Cola Company (KO)

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I read an article extolling the virtues of PepsiCo, Inc. (NYSE:PEP). The author said that he believed that Pepsi would continue to increase its dividend, and they might grow earnings faster than analysts expect. He also made the comment that their cash flow from operations compared to their dividend looked good. I can’t say that I disagree with most of his thesis, but I would suggest investors think outside the box when it comes to generating income. Though there are several beverage companies that should provide a good yield to investors in this environment, there is a less well known company where the income stream might be even better.

The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO)

This Is No DRIP Of A Strategy
If you are a long-term investor, a choice between The Coca-Cola Company (NYSE:KO) or PepsiCo is a common conundrum. On the one hand, Coca-Cola has been the leader in both volume and earnings growth for a while. The company has several of the world’s most well loved brands. PepsiCo on the other hand, has the Pepsi franchise and Frito-Lay. Both companies have long histories of raising their dividends.

Many investors choose to buy their shares and reinvest the dividends through a DRIP (dividend reinvestment plan). If you buy shares in Coca-Cola, you’ll get a yield of about 2.7%. By reinvesting your dividends, you can increase your effective yield over time. You can do the same with PepsiCo and start with a slightly higher yield today at just under 3%.

In the last few years, Pepsi’s free cash flow payout ratio dropped from 58% to 56%. The company’s free cash flow has been growing at about 11% annually. Prior to 2008, 15% dividend increases were the norm. After 2008, the average increase was about 6%. Coca-Cola’s free cash flow payout ratio has increased from 62% to 66%. The company usually increased their dividend by over 11% until about 2008, and then 7.6% increases became the norm.

For Those Who Want More
However, what if you are an investor who is willing to take on more risk? Is there a way to trounce these yields of 2.7% and 3%? In short, yes there is, but it depends on what you think of options. By writing covered call options, you can potentially generate significantly more income than collecting dividends.

In order to “write” a covered call you have to own 100 shares of the stock. You essentially agree to rent your 100 shares to someone else for a certain amount of time. You “write” or “sell to open” the call option and you get paid a premium. The great thing about covered calls is you keep the premium no matter what happens.

What Do You Do?
First, you pick a price that you are willing to sell your shares at. Usually a price just above the current price gives you more income. You can use this strategy with Coca-Cola or PepsiCo, or go in a different direction and choose Sodastream International Ltd (NASDAQ:SODA).

For those who don’t know, SodaStream is the company that produces the popular SodaStream machines. In case you haven’t heard, SodaStream allows you to make soda or other sparkling beverages at home. The company suggests that their product is better for the environment, costs less per serving, is more convenient, and is a healthier option. The stock has done well recently, and the company has consistently beaten earnings estimates.

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