Toymaker Mattel (MAT - Get Report) had a strong year in 2013, generating 32.23% gains in the last year with another nearly 4% tacked on for dividend payouts. And while the capital gains in shares have Mattel's payout pegged at 3.04% right now, this stock looks likely to boost its 36-cent dividend in the next quarter.
Mattel is the world's biggest toymaker, with a portfolio of brands that includes household names such as Barbie, Fisher-Price and Hot Wheels. The firm also has licenses to produce toys under popular franchises such as Batman, Disney and Dora the Explorer. That combination of in-house and licensed brands gives Mattel some serious selling power in the toy aisle, and that familiarity matters for parents shopping for their kids. With the biggest quarter of Mattel's year just wrapped up, earnings later this month could come with a material dividend boost.
From a financial standpoint, Mattel is in solid shape. The firm carries just $1.7 billion in debt on its balance sheet -- a number that's offset by a $406 million cash position. A history of returning value to shareholders in the form of dividends sets an important precedent for a dividend boost in 2014. And a rising tide of cash generation gives the firm the wherewithal to do it.
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-- Written by Jonas Elmerraji in Baltimore.