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.)
InterContinental Hotels Group vs. FTSE 100
Let’s start with a look at how InterContinental Hotels has performed against the FTSE 100 over the last 10 years:
|Total Returns||2008||2009||2010||2011||2012||5-Yr. Trailing Avg.|
|InterContinental Hotels Group||(34%)||63.8%||42.2%||(4.4%)||49.8%||19.9%|
InterContinental Hotels was formerly part of a company called Six Continents, which had its roots in the Bass empire. In 2003, Six Continents split itself into two parts — InterContinental Hotels Group, and pub chain Mitchell & Butlers plc (LON:MAB) — both of which gained new listings on the London Stock Exchange.
InterContinental’s performance has been strong since then, and it has delivered total returns nearly four times greater than the FTSE 100 average over the last five years. The question for retirement investors is whether it can maintain this kind of performance.
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 InterContinental Hotels shapes up:
|Market cap||5.1 billion pounds|
|Net debt||691 million pounds|
|5-Year Average Financials|
|Interest cover||7.4 times|
|Dividend cover||2.4 times|
Here’s how I’ve scored InterContinental Hotels Group on each of these criteria:
|Longevity||A mixture of old and new brands in a young organization.||3/5|
|Performance vs. FTSE||Very strong.||5/5|
|Financial strength||High margins and good cash generation, but debt doubled last year.||4/5|
|EPS growth||Steady earnings growth.||4/5|
|Dividend growth||Well-covered, with steady growth but below-average yield.||4/5|