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Monday, September 8, 2014

Stock Analysis: MAT

Founded in 1945 and headquartered in El Segundo, CA., Mattel Inc. (MAT) is the world's largest manufacturer of toys and games. The company makes toys under the brands Mattel, American Girl, Barbie, Batman, Dora the Explorer, Fisher Price, Hot Wheels, Matchbox, Sesame Street, View-Master, Winnie the Pooh, Yu-Gi-Oh, and many more. The company sells directly to retailers and wholesalers, and through agents and distributors in countries where it has no direct presence.

MAT is a Dividend Challenger with 5 consecutive years of dividend increases. The company's 5-year compound annual growth rate (CAGR) is 13.9%. It pays quarterly dividends of $0.38 per share in the months of March, June, September, and December. At the current price of $35.10, MAT yields an impressive 4.33%.

From September 2009 through December 2013, MAT outperformed the S&P 500 by a healthy margin, reaching an all-time high of $47.94. Since January 2014, however, MAT is one of the worst performing stocks in the S&P 500. The stock price has dropped 26.8% so far this year. 

Analysis of MAT

MAT trades at a discount of about 7.7% to my fair value estimate of $37.15. For comparison, MorningStar's fair value estimate is $39.00 and S&P Capital IQ's fair value estimate is $35.30.

The following table provides some key statistics:

I use several selection criteria to choose candidate dividend growth stocks. MAT passes the following of my selection criteria:
  • A streak of at least 5 years of dividend increases (5 years)
  • Dividend yield exceeds 2.75% (4.33%)
  • Chowder rule: Dividend yield plus 5-year CAGR exceeds 12% (18.34%)
  • Price to earnings ratio (P/E) is less than 20 (TTM 14.87x and Forward 13.54x)
  • 5-year CAGR is at least 10% (13.94%)
  • Price discount is at least 5% of fair value estimate (7.71%)
MAT fails the following of my selection criteria:
  • Earnings per share (EPS) percentage payout is less than 40% (65.62%)
  • Debt to Equity ratio is below 50% (72%)
  • P/E to annual EPS growth (PEG) ratio is less than 2 (2.61)
  • Reasonable confidence in continued dividend growth (No)
Based on these statistics, MAT earns 5 out of a possible 7 stars: (*****--)

Other ratings for MAT

 S&P Capital IQ Stock Report   (**---) Sell 
 Thomson Reuters StockReport+    4/10 Neutral 
 MorningStar Rating  (****-)
 The Motley Fool's CAPS Rating  (****-)
 Zacks Rating  5 Strong Sell

Concluding Remarks

MAT is the top candidate in the Consumer Discretionary sector on my September dashboard of dividend growth candidates. It has an attractive dividend yield and a strong 5-year CAGR.

There are several other reasons to like the stock. With such well-known brands as Barbie, Hot Wheels, American Girl and Fisher Price, MAT has exceptional brand recognition. The company has partnered with several entertainment partners, allowing film-based toys to be produced for hit films including Toy Story, Cars, and Batman. MAT is competitively valued at only 14 times trailing earnings per share. This compares favorably to the valuation of close rival Hasbro, Inc. (HAS), which trades at 20 times trailing earnings.

Unfortunately, I believe there are more compelling reasons not to buy MAT.

The excellent dividend yield and growth numbers mean nothing if MAT cannot continue to grow revenue. In the first half of 2014, MAT reported revenues of $2 billion, down nearly 8% year over year. EPS was $0 compared with $0.32 during the same period last year. The dismal results caused the stock price to plummet.

Often, insiders and institutional buyers step in to buy shares of a declining stock. If fundamentals are strong and value is evident, bargain basement prices will be very attractive. In MAT's case, though, the opposite seems to be happening. Large amounts of insider and institutional shareholder selling is taking place.

Some of MAT's challenges come from rising competition and from digital entertainment. HAS and the privately-held Danish company, Lego, are major competitors. HAS grew sales in the first half of 2014 by 5.5% to $1.51 billion. And, just a few days ago, Lego announced that its revenue in the first six months of 2014 rose 11% to $2.03 billion, surpassing MAT's sales for the first time. The revenue growth of Lego and HAS comes despite growing challenges in the toy business, as children increasingly gravitate towards game consoles, tablets and other mobile devices and away from toys and board games.

I'd like to see evidence that MAT can start growing earnings again and that strategic plans are in place to sustain that growth. Until that happens, I'm not interested in buying shares of MAT.

Full Disclosure: I don't own any shares of MAT and I'm not planning on buying any shares soon.


  1. I like you analysis and agree with what you say. I'm not buying.

    1. Thanks for stopping by, FFdividend! Yup, I'm not buying either...

  2. DivGro,
    I decided to buy both toy companies about a year ago. I have two kids, and see these low cost to make toys come and go. Both HAS and MAT have great brands, so instead of picking just one, I started buying both. MAT was at $40 for a while then dipped to the mid 30's after a bad xmas and decreasing Barbie sales. But trends in toys come and go. Last years comparable sales should be easy to beat for MAT. Both have great licensing deals, and catalysts coming in the next few years. I've got a full position, so I'm not buying any more. But I am holding as long as the dividend is not cut.

    1. Hi Retire Before Dad!

      Thanks for your comment. I'm hoping MAT will turn things around by developing a strategy to address increasing competition from digital entertainment. Also, and I did not write about this, there's growing criticism about the image that Barbie projects -- I wonder if MAT is not underestimating the potential business impact. If, indeed, MAT finds a way to continue raising their dividend, you'll be in a great position a few years from now. Good luck!

      As far as HAS is concerned, I haven't done a full analysis, but on the surface, the company seems to be more agile than MAT.

  3. Thanks for sharing your stock analysis of MAT. Even with the attractive dividend, I agree with you that there are too many red flags. Couple of sell rating from other analyst doesn't help either.

    BTW, I've added your analysis to my collection of stock analysis. AFFJ

    1. Hi AFFJ -- thanks for stopping by!

      MAT was top of the Consumer Discretionary stocks in my September list and I was really itching to buy it for the attractive dividend yield and growth rate. But further research revealed the red flags. So far, my process of selecting candidates and doing further research on them before buying shares, has worked well... so I'm sticking with it!

      Thanks for adding my analysis to your collection. I had a quick peek -- that's a really comprehensive list and a great collection of stocks. Keep up the good work!


  4. MAT definitely has some appeal from a dividend perspective but I'm not sure I'd want this in my long term portfolio. Thanks for the analysis, and while MAT seems to be fairly popular among many of the dividend bloggers, I am not ready to pick this one up.

    1. Agreed! As I concluded, first I would like to see evidence that MAT can start growing earnings again and that strategic plans are in place to sustain that growth. Then I'll reconsider...

      Thanks for stopping by, DivHut!


  5. Hi,

    Great analysis. I own 30 shares of MAT. I'm holding them but I don't plan to add to this position for now even though it might appear that this stock is on sale... I feel it's going to take some time until Mattel figures out what to do to grow earnings. And with the current payout ratio, dividend growth might be at risk pretty soon.


    1. Hi Allan -- thanks for your comment. MAT has some great brand recognition. Unfortunately, at least one of those brands (Barbie) is facing some controversy, while others are finding ever increasing competition from digital entertainment. In my opinion, MAT needs to solve these issues before they'll grow earnings substantially. Best of luck!


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