Tomorrow I’ll be adding ING Groep (ING) to my Dividend Portfolio. The Dutch-headquartered banking company pays a 4.87% yield.
Five reasons to buy ING now.
Three macro reasons.
Growth in Europe, especially in the company’s German market, has picked up. In 2016 the EuroZone economy grew at a 1.9% rate. That’s better than the 1.6% growth turned in by the U.S. economy.
The euro has tumbled to $1.06 to the dollar giving U.S. investors a chance to buy euro assets on the cheap. The euro might fall further–1-to-1 parity isn’t impossible–but it looks like the European Central Bank is near the end of its aggressive efforts to push down the euro.
European interest rates look to have bottomed as inflation picks up in the Eurozone and as German opposition to further downward pressure on interest rates intensifies.
And two company specific reasons.
ING’s digital banking strategy (Remember the days of ING Direct in the United States before the company had to sell off that operation in order to survive the global financial crisis?) has enabled the bank to build up a solid base of low cost deposits and to grab substantial market share in Germany–as well as in Belgium and in its home market in the Netherlands.
The company, in an effort to win back the confidence it lost when it had to be rescued by the Dutch government in the global financial crisis (which is also when ING sold off its U.S. insurance business Voya Financial) has adopted a very investor friendly dividend policy. After the divestment of ING Direct and Voya, the company has continued to cut costs and to reduce provisions for shaky loans on its balance sheet. In 2016 ING showed a 40% dividend payout ratio. The company’s next dividend is scheduled for May 11.
Going forward the company should start to see increased revenue growth as it uses its digital platform to cross-sell more services such as mortgages, credit cards and asset management. The key for ING, indeed, is deepening its relationship with digital customers initially attracted by ING’s higher deposit rates in a time of extremely low interest rates.
Standard & Poor’s projects 2% revenue growth in 2017 and an increase in earnings to $1.41 per ADS (American Depositary Share) from $1.20 in 2016. European stocks in general, and European bank stocks in particular, are cheaper than their U.S. counterparts after a U.S. rally frequently led by financials. ING trades at a trailing 12-month PE of 11.53. That compares to a PE of 13.49 for Capital One Financial (COF) and 16.87 for Bank of America (BAC).
ING closed at $14.60 in New York today, March 6. Standard & Poor’s calculates a $17 target price in a year for its New York-traded ADS.