5 high-growth stocks dividend investors will want to keep an eye on
Companies that are at the beginning of their growth phase generally do not pay a dividend. They prefer to keep their earnings to expand their business.
However, as they mature and start generating excess cash, they could use some of that money to pay a dividend. Here are five cash-generating businesses that currently aren’t. pay a dividend, but certainly could in the future.
Waiting for the next stage of maturity
Arista Networks (A NET -2.06%) does a great job of turning revenue into cash. The leader in data-driven networking equipment passed the $1 billion revenue milestone in the first quarter, a 20% year-over-year increase. It generated $101 million in cash from operations in the quarter, helping to boost its cash balance to $2.9 billion from zero debt.
She used some of her money to buy back shares — it repurchased $483.7 million in the quarter and $693 million since authorizing its billion-dollar program last October — and completed two acquisitions totaling $158.9 million. Although Arista does not yet pay dividends, it sees them in its future as the business matures.
Fast growing free cash flow
CrowdStrike Holdings (CRWD -2.68%) take advantage of the growing demand for cyber security services. The company’s cloud-based protection platform generates recurring revenue and growing free cash flow. Revenue jumped 61% in its fiscal second quarter to $487.8 million, while free cash flow reached $157.5 million, an increase of more than 34% from a year to year. That pushed the cybersecurity company’s cash balance to $2.15 billion against just $740 million in long-term debt.
CrowdStrike is still firmly in growth mode, aiming to grow its annual recurring revenue (ARR) from its current level of around $2 billion to $5 billion by 2026. However, a company already generating a lot of flow Recurring free cash which is expected to continue to grow rapidly has the potential to be a great dividend growth stock in the future.
Paycom software (PAYC -2.58%) generates a lot of recurring revenue and cash flow by selling subscription software to help companies manage their human resources. The payroll company’s revenue jumped 30.9% in the first quarter to $316.9 million. It generates free cash and has a strong, cash-rich balance sheet, ending the second quarter with $279 million in cash and cash equivalents versus $29 million in total debt.
Paycom is currently using its cash flow to grow its business and buy back shares, recently increasing its clearance to $1.1 billion. For this reason, a dividend does not seem likely in the short term. However, with a strong balance sheet and cash-generating business, Paycom is the type of company that could become a great dividend growth stock as it matures.
Start making tons of money
Z-scale (ZS -5.18%) shares many similarities with CrowdStrike Holdings. It also capitalizes on growing cybersecurity threats with a cloud-based security platform that generates recurring revenue and free cash flow. The company’s revenue soared 63% in its fiscal third quarter to $286.9 million. Meanwhile, free cash flow was $43.7 million, or 15% of its revenue. This helped boost its cash balance to nearly $1.7 billion from $954.6 million in convertible senior notes.
Zscaler is in the very early stages of its growth phase, hitting the $1 billion ARR milestone this year. He has ambitions to grow his ARR to $5 billion in the future, paving the way for him to generate even more free cash flow that he could one day use to pay a dividend.
Focus on free cash flow
Focus on video communications (ZM -3.57%) is a cash flow machine. The company’s subscription video conferencing software generates recurring revenue and cash flow. Zoom sales rose 12% in the first quarter to nearly $1.1 billion. Meanwhile, the company converted nearly $0.50 of every revenue dollar into free cash flow during the quarter, with adjusted free cash flow coming in at an impressive $501 million. This brought Zoom’s cash and marketable securities to $5.7 billion on its debt-free balance sheet.
The company has already started returning cash to shareholders, authorizing a billion-dollar share buyback program earlier this year to buy back some of its slaughtered stock. While the launch of a dividend still seems a long way off, Zoom has the cash and cash flow to pay out an attractive dividend going forward.
The potential to become great dividend-paying stocks
Arista Networks, CrowdStrike Holdings, Paycom Software, Zscaler, and Zoom Video Communications are still in the early stages of their growth phase. For this reason, they probably won’t pay a dividend anytime soon.
However, forward-looking dividend investors should keep an eye on these stocks. They generate plenty of recurring cash flow and have cash-rich balance sheets, which are ideal characteristics for dividend-paying stocks. For this reason, they have the makings of one day becoming high dividend growth stocks when they reach this stage of commercial maturity.
Matthew DiLallo holds positions at Arista Networks, CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc., Paycom Software, Zoom Video Communications, and Zscaler. The Motley Fool holds roles and endorses Arista Networks, CrowdStrike Holdings, Inc., Paycom Software, Zoom Video Communications, and Zscaler. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.