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BEAM) is enjoying strong tailwinds thanks to increased consumption of its namesake spirits. The firm is the name behind Jim Beam and Maker's Mark bourbon as well as Sauza tequila, Pinnacle vodka and Cruzan rum. Since spinning off from what was then Fortune Brands in 2011, this stock hasn't done much in the way of price, but it has made leaps and bounds fundamentally. That financial improvement paves the way for a dividend boost.
Beam is well-positioned in the spirit business. Liquor consumers are sticky. Because BEAM owns some of the most attractive brands in the business, it's less likely to see brand attrition than others. And more recently, the embrace of drinkers' demand for "craft" alcoholic beverages has provided a fast-growing opportunity for the firm: a line of small-batch bourbons. That same small-batch approach could spill over to the firm's other liquor brands in a very positive way; Beam already has a winning model to copy, after all.
In the last few years, Beam has essentially halved its debt, and it's kept balance sheet liquidity very healthy. As a result, income trends look very strong -- and more of that income is available for shareholder payouts rather than bank obligations. While the firm's 1.5% dividend payout it far from high-yield, investors should expect a raise in the coming quarters.
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