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AAA  Feb. 8, 2013
Dividend Hunter: Iron Mountain
By STAN CHOE
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Pushing paper can be lucrative.

Check out Iron Mountain. The company stores documents, X-rays, blueprints and other data for banks, law firms and government offices. Its customers generally use its services for regulatory or legal reasons, or simply to back up important information. It has nearly 1,000 facilities in 32 countries and is expected to post revenue of $3 billion for 2012 when it reports results later this month.

Iron Mountain benefits from a consistent need for document storage, whether paper or electronic. It pays a regular quarterly dividend of 27 cents. That offers investors a yield of 3.1 percent, compared with the 2.1 percent yield for the Standard & Poor's 500 index.

The biggest excitement around the stock is Iron Mountain's planned conversion into a real estate investment trust. Such a move would require it to pay out 90 percent or more of its taxable income as dividends to investors. Those dividends can be deducted from the company’s taxable income. Iron Mountain says its transformation could happen by 2014. To be sure, the conversion still requires the approval of the Internal Revenue Service and is not a done deal.

The stock trades at 34 times its earnings per share over the last 12 months, but its price-earnings ratio is below its five- and 10-year averages. Citi financial analyst James Samford says its REIT conversion is highly likely and gives the stock a "Buy" rating.

Associated Press
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