3 beaten-up big brand stocks: Are they bargains?

Credit: Coca Cola

Over the past few years as official interest rates around the world have been reduced towards zero and the average returns from equities have slumped, investors have come to expect defensive companies with reliable revenues, earnings and dividends to sell for premiums.

This situation has been summed up by the catch phrase, “chase for yield” and it has been experienced across most major share markets.

Interestingly, the companies behind some of Australia’s most loved brands have actually been struggling and have turned out to not be the “safe” investments which many investors would have expected.

Here are three big brand stocks that have all been beaten up.

With their share prices down significantly, now could be the time to consider adding them to your portfolio, particularly considering their forecast dividends.

Asaleo Care Ltd (ASX: AHY) owns huge consumer personal care and hygiene brands such as Sorbent, Handee and Libra.

Interestingly, the stock tanked last Friday by around 30% after the group issued a profit downgrade which is a great reminder to investors that they should be very careful about paying a big premium for businesses.

Importantly, despite guidance suggesting full year earnings per share will decline by 9%, with last year’s dividend pay-out ratio less than 80% there is a good chance that the full year dividend of 10 cents per share (cps) can be maintained (although it’s definitely not a certainty).

With Asaleo’s share price trading at $1.46, this would imply a yield of 6.8%.

Flight Centre Travel Group Ltd (ASX: FLT) has built itself into practically a household name and the “go-to” travel agent in Australia. It also boasts an incredibly powerful corporate travel agency brand both domestically and abroad.

Despite its brand presence, the group’s share price has slumped 20% so far this calendar year in response to the company and investors reigning in profit growth expectations.

According to consensus data supplied by CommSec, earnings are expected to barely grow in financial year 2017 and the dividend is expected to be trimmed by around 2%.

Although near term growth expectations are low, investors are arguably being paid to wait with an attractive fully franked dividend yield of 4.7%.

Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd’s (ASX: CCL) share price performance doesn’t look so bad over the past 12 months with the shares trading roughly in line with the S&P/ASX 200 (Index: ^AXJO) (ASX: XJO). However stepping back and taking a five-year view and the beverage maker’s underperformance becomes apparent.

While the index is up around 20% over the last half decade, Coca-Cola Amatil’s share price has fallen nearly 25%. This represents underperformance of around 45%!

There are numerous contributing factors affecting Coca-Cola Amatil including pricing pressure from supermarkets, changes in consumer preferences and strategic realignment of the group’s Asian operations.

With many of these headwinds now softening and a 6% dividend yield on offer, the stock’s investment proposition is starting to look more appealing.

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Motley Fool contributor Tim McArthur has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool Australia has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy. This article contains general investment advice only (under AFSL 400691). Authorised by Bruce Jackson.

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