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TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE) is a holding company for Tampa Electric. The company also mines coal, and has diversified its business with generation investments in Guatemala. Since suffering an earnings reset in calendar year 2004, TECO Energy, Inc. (NYSE:TE) has produced an average earnings growth rate of 6% per annum.  After TECO Energy’s stock price initially followed its earnings down, price and earnings have subsequently correlated very closely since calendar year 2004.  All in all, TECO is a much healthier company today than it was just a few years ago.  Nevertheless, the stock’s greatest allure is its above-average dividend yield and moderate prospects for future growth.

Dividend Challenger:  TECO Energy Inc (TE) 

This article looks at TECO Energy Inc, a Dividend Challenger, through the lens of the F.A.S.T. Graphs™ Fundamentals Analyzer Software Tool.  Since a picture is worth a thousand words, the reader will be provided the “essential fundamentals at a glance” expressed vividly in pictures.   In order to provide you the opportunity to research this company deeper and faster we are providing a link to a live, fully functioning earnings and price correlated set of graphs Found Here.  (Tip:  Run your mouse over the various lines and watch the graphs come to life).

A Dividend Challenger is defined as a company that has increased its dividend every year for 5-9 straight years. TECO Energy Inc is a Dividend Challenger that has raised its dividend every year for 6 consecutive years.  The complete Dividend Challengers list is compiled courtesy of David Fish.  (Open as an excel spreadsheet and look at the tabs on the bottom to find the Dividend Challengers list).

About TECO Energy Inc: from Google finance

“TECO Energy, Inc. (TECO Energy) is a holding company for regulated utilities and other businesses. TECO Energy owns no operating assets but holds interest in Tampa Electric Company and through its subsidiary TECO Diversified, Inc., owns TECO Coal Corporation and owns TECO Guatemala, Inc. Tampa Electric Company, a Florida corporation and TECO Energy’s subsidiary, has two business segments. Its Tampa Electric division (Tampa Electric) provides retail electric service to more than 678,000 customers in West Central Florida with a net winter system generating capability of 4,684 megawatts. Peoples Gas System (PGS), the gas division of Tampa Electric Company, is engaged in the purchase, distribution and sale of natural gas for residential, commercial, industrial and electric power generation customers in Florida.”

TECO Energy Inc: A Dividend Challenger with 6 Consecutive Years of Dividend Increases

Learning from the Past – Looking at Earnings Only

Since dividends are paid out of earnings, a clear perspective of a company’s historical earnings growth record is a vital component of a dividend investor’s prudent due diligence process. The following graph plots TECO Energy Inc’s earnings per share since 1998.  A quick glance to the right of the graph shows that TECO Energy Inc has increased earnings at a compounded rate of NMF (see purple circle on graph) per annum.

Earnings Determine Market Price and Dividend Income: The following earnings and price correlated F.A.S.T. Graphs™ clearly illustrates the importance of earnings to both price movement and dividend income. The earnings growth rate line or True Worth ™ line (orange line with white triangles) is correlated with the historical stock price line.  On graph after graph the lines will move in tandem.  If the stock price strays away from the earnings line (over or under), inevitably it will come back to earnings.

Since dividends are paid out of earnings, and therefore represent additional return on top of what the market capitalizes earnings at, they are depicted by the light blue shaded area and stacked on top of the earnings line.  Therefore, a quick visual of these two important components is simultaneously revealed:

1.    The additional return that dividend paying stocks provide.

2.    The percentage of earnings paid to shareholders as dividends (payout ratio).

The value in this article is through carefully analyzing the earnings and price correlated fundamentally based graphs.  Notice that one glance tells you how well the company has performed on an operating basis historically and how the market valued that historical performance.  Therefore, the reader is free to discover whether or not current valuations make sense based on historical norms coupled with fundamental values.  Instead of opinion, this article is designed to produce facts that can be analyzed to the readers investing benefit.

Performance Table: Capital Appreciation and Dividend Income TECO Energy Inc

The associated performance results, with the earnings and price correlated graph, validates the above discussion regarding the two components of total return:  Capital appreciation and dividend income. Dividends are included in the total return calculation and are assumed paid, but not reinvested.

When presented separately like this, the additional rate of return a dividend paying stock produces for shareholders becomes undeniably evident. In addition to the -3.1% capital appreciation (Closing Annualized ROR), long-term shareholders of TECO Energy Inc would have received an additional $49,286.16 in dividends that increased their total return from -3.1% to 0.9% per annum.

(Note:  Since this is a Dividend Challenger it  has raised its dividend every year for at least 5-9 years, therefore,  negative dividend growth rates shown, if any, will be attributed to special additional dividends paid in excess of the company’s regularly reported dividend rate)

The following graph plots the historically normal PE ratio (the dark blue line) correlated with 10-year Treasury note interest. Notice that the current price earnings ratio on this quality company is as normal as it has been since 1998.

A further indication of valuation can be seen by examining a company’s current price to sales ratio relative to its historical price to sales ratio. The current price to sales ratio for TECO Energy Inc is 1.16, which is historically normal.

Looking to the Future

Extensive research has provided a preponderance of conclusive evidence that future long-term returns, and the dividend and its growth rate are a function of two critical determinants:

1. The rate of change (growth rate) of the company’s earnings

2. The price or valuation you pay to buy those earnings

Therefore, forecasting future earnings growth, bought at sound valuations, is the key to safe, sound, and profitable performance.

Therefore, it logically follows that measuring performance without simultaneously measuring valuation is a job half done. At its current price, which is attractively aligned with its True Worth™ valuation, TECO Energy Inc represents a potential opportunity to invest in a Dividend Challenger at a reasonable price. The important factor is that TECO Energy Inc has real assets and cash flow underpinning its stock price. This solid economic foundation offers shareholders the potential for both a strong margin of safety and an opportunity for an increasing dividend income stream and potentially attractive future returns.

The Estimated Earnings and Return

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