Illinois Tool Works
You can't get much more diversification than at industrial equipment manufacturer Illinois Tool Works (ITW). The $27 billion firm has more than 800 individual units in 58 countries, spanning everything from food and beverage equipment to auto parts to commercial construction. Those 800 units are given enough rope to hang themselves -- and that management approach has helped generate double-digit earnings growth and net margins consistently year over year.
That decentralized management approach also ensures that individual units aren't bogged down by a central management team that's overwhelmed with decision-making. Acquisitions have been a critical part of ITW's growth strategy -- and part of the reason why it has such a massive number of individual units under the corporate umbrella.Despite the acquisition appetite at ITW, the majority of the buys are smaller in size, and as a result, the firm's balance sheet is in solid shape. More significantly for dividend-seekers, ITW consistently generates huge cash flows. While some of that cash is allotted to acquisition targets, much of it is also spent on dividend payouts. ITW currently pays out a 36-cent quarterly dividend, giving the firm a 2.56% yield. I'm anticipating that payout to climb in the next quarter. ITW is one of the top holdings at Steven Cohen's SAC Capital as of the most recently reported quarter.
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