Monday April 09, 2012
by Ian Wyatt, editor Wyatt Investment Research
Gold stocks are not a place investors typically look for high dividend yields. But that could soon change. A number of gold companies are becoming increasingly flush with cash, and are passing on some of those extra earnings to shareholders.
Here are three gold stocks that are offering some of the most generous yields in a sector usually not known for its dividends: Gold Fields (GFI), Newmont Mining (NEM) and Gold Resource Corp. (GORO).
It hasn't been the best month for Gold Fields' stock. But at 4.5%, the South African gold miner boasts what is far and away the highest dividend yield of any gold stock.
The company has eight mining operations spread across South Africa, Ghana, Australia and Peru. With 3.5 million gold equivalent ounces per year, Gold Fields is one of the largest unhedged gold producers in the world. And the company is growing rapidly.
In its last fiscal quarter, Gold Fields reported earnings of $336 million, up from $293 million the previous quarter and $106 million in the same quarter a year ago.
The company's 2011 net earnings of $973 million was more than six times the $153 million the company earned in 2010. Four new projects are in the works.
If Gold Fields continues to ramp up production, it could keep the company's dividend higher than the average gold stock.
Newmont Mining is the world's second-largest gold producer, with operations on five continents. It reported record operating cash flow of $3.6 billion last year, up 13% from 2010. And the company is distributing more and more of its excess cash to its shareholders.
The $494 million in dividends Newmont paid its investors last year was double the amount it paid in 2010. The company's annual dividend has grown from $0.80 per share last summer to $1.40 currently.
Last April, Newmont announced that it would continue to raise its dividends as long as gold prices stayed high. So far the company has made good on its promise. That's good news for investors in a company the Wall Street Journal called "The Apple of Gold Stocks."
Gold Resource is so awash with cash that it actually pays its shareholders in gold. Literally.
Gold Resource recently announced that it will become the first company to take advantage of a new Gold Bullion International Physical Dividend Program that allows companies to pay dividends in the form of physical gold and silver. That should broaden the appeal of what is already a fast-growing stock.
Three years ago, Gold Resource Corp. had a market cap of $171 million and a stock price of $3.80. Now the company is worth seven times its March 2009 value, and the stock is up more than 600%.
The company has done it by opening six gold and silver mining operations in Oaxaca, Mexico - headlined by its profitable El Aguila mine - which has helped increase revenue from $15 million in 2010 to $105 million in 2011.
That's how Gold Resource has been able to pay a monthly dividend for 20 straight months, and distributed $41 million in dividends to its shareholders during that time.
These days, it seems that everything Gold Resource Corp. touches turns to gold. Including its dividend.
Learn more about this financial newsletter at Ian Wyatt's Investment Research.