Is Keller Group plc (LON:KLR) 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 Keller Group. We’d guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Remember though, due to the recent spike in its share price, Keller Group’s yield will look lower, even though the market may now be factoring in an improvement in its long-term prospects. Before you buy any stock for its dividend however, you should always remember Warren Buffett’s two rules: 1) Don’t lose money, and 2) Remember rule #1. We’ll run through some checks below to help with this.
Dividends are usually paid out of company earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, 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. While Keller Group pays a dividend, it reported a loss over the last year. When a company is loss-making, we next need to check to see if its cash flows can support the dividend.
Keller Group’s cash payout ratio in the last year was 39%, which suggests dividends were well covered by cash generated by the business.
Is Keller Group’s Balance Sheet Risky?
Given Keller Group is paying a dividend but reported a loss over the past year, we need to check its balance sheet for signs of financial distress. A quick check of its financial situation can be done with two ratios: net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and net interest cover. Net debt to EBITDA measures total debt load relative to company earnings (lower = less debt), while net interest cover measures the ability to pay interest on the debt (higher = greater ability to pay interest costs). With net debt of 1.96 times its EBITDA, Keller Group has an acceptable level of debt.
We calculated its interest cover by measuring its earnings before interest and tax (EBIT), and dividing this by the company’s net interest expense. Interest cover of 4.95 times its interest expense is starting to become a concern for Keller Group, and be aware that lenders may place additional restrictions on the company as well.
Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Keller Group’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.
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. Keller Group has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was UK£0.21 in 2010, compared to UK£0.36 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 5.7% per year over this time.
Businesses that can grow their dividends at a decent rate and maintain a stable payout can generate substantial wealth for shareholders over the long term.
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. Keller Group has grown its earnings per share at 4.8% per annum over the past five years. Keller Group is paying out less than half of its earnings, which we like. Earnings per share growth have grown slowly, which is not great, but if the retained earnings can be reinvested effectively, future growth may be stronger.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that Keller Group’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. We’re a bit uncomfortable with the company paying a dividend while being loss-making, although at least the dividend was covered by free cash flow. Second, earnings growth has been mediocre, but at least the dividends have been relatively stable. While we’re not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Keller Group out there.
Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 6 Keller Group analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.
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 email@example.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.