3 Reasons Xilinx Inc. Is a Top Dividend Stock

Xilinx's stock has shown weakness over the last six months. After hitting record-high pricing in March, the maker of programmable logic devices delivered two consecutive disappointing quarterly reports, and shares now trade roughly 33% lower than their peak valuation. The staggered rollout of China's 4G LTE networks and underperformance from Xilinx's defense and aerospace segments have been major contributors to the downward pressure.

On Oct. 10, the stock fell roughly 8% after Microchip Technology issued softer than expected earnings projections and suggested the revision was connected to broader market correction in the chip industry. The Philadelphia Semiconductor Index declined roughly 7% in response to the news, and Xilinx now trades at year long lows.

XLNX data by YCharts.

Even with the company's stumbles and an uptick in pessimism about the broader semiconductor industry, Xilinx could be an attractive option for income investors. With a market cap of roughly $10 billion, the stock trades at roughly 16 times trailing earnings. This ratio compares favorably against other companies in the programmable semiconductor sector, and recent sell-offs have driven the company's dividend yield to 3.16%, a level that might pique the interest of income investors. Here are three more reasons why Xilinx deserves consideration as a top dividend stock.

Xilinx has an established history of reliable dividend increases
Since it started paying a dividend in 2004, Xilinx has raised its payout nine times, corresponding to a 480% increase over its initial payment. These increases have been implemented on a near-yearly basis, establishing a consistent history of returned value for shareholders. Over the last five years, the company increased its quarterly dividend payout from roughly $0.16 to $0.29 per share, an increase of about 81%, corresponding with notable increases in profit margin. More broadly, the company has maintained healthy profit margins for over a decade and has shown a firm commitment to passing profits along to shareholders.

XLNX Dividend data by YCharts.

While certain threats to Xilinx's business require consideration, investors probably don't need to worry much about the company lowering or erasing its dividend. The quarterly payouts have become an entrenched part of its stock pricing, and history suggests the company will continue to raise its dividend on a relatively consistent basis.

Xilinx has sufficient cash and short-term assets to sustain its dividend
In its last fiscal year, Xilinx paid out $267 million in dividends to shareholders, while also repurchasing $242 million in company shares. This occurred even as the chipmaker generated roughly $749 million in operating income and $639 million in net income. Even if cash flow were to become a problem for the company, it has the assets needed to sustain its dividend.

The company's June quarterly report listed roughly $2.49 billion in cash and short-term assets, while Xilinx's quarterly dividend of $0.29 suggests an annual payout of $1.16 for each of the 268.48 million shares oustanding. If cash flow dried up significantly and the company was forced to pay dividends from its cash and short-term assets, it could hypothetically continue the current level of payouts for somewhere between six and eight years, depending on the costs of repatriating its offshore assets.

Xilinx is a market leader in a growing industry
Having market leadership in a sector that looks to experience continued growth provides no surefire indication of success for a company or its stock, but Xilinx's position in the chip industry might be appealing to investors. On the same day that Microchip Technology issued its disappointing projections and suspicions of a semiconductor market correction, analysis published by TechNavio suggested the global market for programmable logic devices would grow at a compound annual rate of 14.8% from 2013 and 2018.

Xilinx holds about 50% of this semiconductor market. Despite strong competition, particularly from chief rival, Altera, the company appears to have an opportunity to benefit form the growth of PLDs. The recent announcement of a collaboration with the China Mobile Research Institute for the creation of virtualized 5G networks suggests the chip company will preserve its position in communications technologies beyond the current 4G rollout. Even if Xilinx's market share slips, growth in PLDs offers avenues to prosperity.

Final thoughts
For income investors who aren't averse to tech or semiconductor companies, Xilinx could be a good play. The chipmaker doesn't have the same consumer brand strength or size of Intel -- another dividend-paying semiconductor company that deserves a look -- but its dividend history and structure could be particularly attractive in light of the growth potential in PLDs. Even amid industry uncertainties, the sizable dip in the company's valuation could offer dividend investors a worthwhile entry point to the stock.

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The article 3 Reasons Xilinx Inc. Is a Top Dividend Stock originally appeared on Fool.com.

Keith Noonan has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool recommends China Mobile and Intel. The Motley Fool owns shares of Intel. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. 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.

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