Aquila SA’s (EPA:ALAQU) Attractive Combination: Does It Earn A Place In Your Dividend Portfolio?

Is Aquila SA (EPA:ALAQU) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it’s important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you’ll find our analysis useful.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for Aquila. We’d guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. There are a few simple ways to reduce the risks of buying Aquila for its dividend, and we’ll go through these below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

ENXTPA:ALAQU Historical Dividend Yield, February 5th 2020
ENXTPA:ALAQU Historical Dividend Yield, February 5th 2020

Payout ratios

Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. In the last year, Aquila paid out of its profit as dividends. This is a middling range that strikes a nice balance between paying dividends to shareholders, and retaining enough earnings to invest in future growth. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.

While the above analysis focuses on dividends relative to a company’s earnings, we do note Aquila’s strong net cash position, which will let it pay larger dividends for a time, should it choose.

We update our data on Aquila every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

Before buying a stock for its income, we want to see if the dividends have been stable in the past, and if the company has a track record of maintaining its dividend. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Aquila’s dividend payments. The dividend has been stable over the past 10 years, which is great. We think this could suggest some resilience to the business and its dividends. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was €0.30 in 2010, compared to €0.50 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 5.2% a year over that time.

Companies like this, growing their dividend at a decent rate, can be very valuable over the long term, if the rate of growth can be maintained.

Dividend Growth Potential

Dividend payments have been consistent over the past few years, but we should always check if earnings per share (EPS) are growing, as this will help maintain the purchasing power of the dividend. Aquila’s EPS are effectively flat over the past five years. Flat earnings per share are acceptable for a time, but over the long term, the purchasing power of the company’s dividends could be eroded by inflation. Aquila is paying out less than half of its earnings, which we like. However, earnings per share are unfortunately not growing much. Might this suggest that the company should pay a higher dividend instead?

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Aquila’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that Aquila has a low and conservative payout ratio. Earnings per share have not been growing, but we respect a company that maintains a relatively stable dividend. Overall we think Aquila is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in Aquila stock.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.

If you spot an error that warrants correction, please contact the editor at editorial-team@simplywallst.com. This article by Simply Wall St is general in nature. It does not constitute a recommendation to buy or sell any stock, and does not take account of your objectives, or your financial situation. Simply Wall St has no position in the stocks mentioned.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Thank you for reading.