3 reasons to buy Ansell Limited shares today

Ansell Limited (ASX: ANN) is Australia’s largest rubber and latex product maker with a market capitalisation of $3.2 billion.

One product Ansell is known for is condoms, which include the Ansell Lifestyles and Skyn product ranges. Its other major product line is rubber gloves which are used by the public, the medical field, and for industrial activities. Ansell’s share price has done well for shareholders over the last five years, growing by 50%.

Here are three reasons why I think Ansell can keep growing:

Global Market Leader

Ansell is the global market leader of hand protection products and surgical use products. It’s second in the market for branded condoms.

It has sales in many different countries including Australia, the USA, China, the Eurozone, Russia, India, Mexico and Brazil. This diverse sales reach gives Ansell many avenues to grow and it is protected if one or two countries go through a slow patch.

Being the market leader puts Ansell in a position of power because every customer knows the brand, they perceive it to be higher quality than its competitors and subsequently that allows Ansell to charge more.

It also means that Ansell has stronger economies of scale than its smaller competitors, meaning it can make more profit than rivals selling at the same price.

Defensive industry

Being an industrial company as opposed to a financial company means Ansell is less reliant on economic cycles for its growth.

For example, just look at what happened to its performance during the GFC. Its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) in FY08 were $111 million, in FY09 EBIT declined to $107 million, in FY10 EBIT grew to $127 million and in FY11 EBIT grew again to $137 million.

However, that doesn’t mean its earnings are impervious to falls outside of recessions. During FY16 its earnings before interest and tax actually fell by 4.4% to $237 million, though currency fluctuations were a factor with this.

Reliable dividends

One of the main things I look for in a business is dividend strength. Ansell has increased its dividend every year since 2003 (in Australian dollars). It has grown 427% in the process. This is an impressive dividend streak, similar to Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co. Ltd (ASX: SOL) and Ramsay Health Care Limited (ASX: RHC).

This strong record leads me to believe Ansell will keep increasing its dividend for the medium term as long as there is demand for its products.

Time to buy?

Ansell would make a good long term buy for investors looking for some international diversification. It reports profits and pays dividends in US dollars too, so it could be a good way to benefit from currency changes.

Ansell’s current price of around $22 isn’t as cheap as it was seven months ago, after if lifted by 32% since April. It’s currently trading at 20.6x FY16’s earnings with a dividend yield of 2.7% which I think is fair value. Ansell is a really good international business which I expect to have a good future in the medium term.

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Motley Fool contributor Tristan Harrison 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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