On Friday Cramer wrapped up his week long series on companies that have raised their dividend substantially. This is a signal of confidence, he said, for long-term future prospects. If that’s truly the case, then the future seems bright for Wyndham Worldwide, which recently upped its payout by a massive 200 percent.
“When a company triples its dividend,” Cramer said, “investors better take notice.”
Wyndham Worldwide is a hotel, resort and time-sharing company, which on Wednesday boosted its quarterly dividend to 12 cents a share from only 4 cents. The company also announced it would continue to raise its dividend in the future, and there seems to be plenty of money to cover it: 2010 and 2011 earnings should come in at least three times higher than the dividend.
Plus, on top of Wyndham’s huge dividend increase it’s also pro-shareholder, Cramer said. The company reinstated its stock repurchase authorization, a buyback with $157 million remaining, and that should buoy the share price.
Behind the stock, Cramer sees a rather solid company. WYN has been increasing its emphasis on fee-based businesses. Take their Wyndham Asset Affiliation Model, which offers real estate developers and banks who have condos and hotels an opportunity to sell these rooms for a fee. This is a win-win situation for the parties involved, Cramer said, because the developers get to monetize their assets and WYN gets additional units with minimal capital spending. So far the company has brought in about 5,000 units from this program.
Also, Cramer keeps hearing over and over again – from Starwood, from Marriot and now Wyndham – that the hotel and vacation market is better than one would believe.
Then there’s the balance sheet, which has $155 million in cash and $870 million in borrowing capacity if needed against about $3.5 billion in total debt. Not entirely clean, but since WYN has no major debt coming due this year and the company may refinance, Cramer thinks the debt-load isn’t a deal breaker.
So what’s the bottom line?
“Wyndham’s huge dividend boost,” Cramer said, “is telling us that it is screaming buy right here, right now.”
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