Here’s Why We’re Wary Of Buying Aegon N.V.’s (AMS:AGN) For Its Upcoming Dividend

Aegon N.V. (AMS:AGN) is about to trade ex-dividend in the next 3 days. You can purchase shares before the 23rd of August in order to receive the dividend, which the company will pay on the 20th of September.

Aegon’s upcoming dividend is €0.15 a share, following on from the last 12 months, when the company distributed a total of €0.30 per share to shareholders. Last year’s total dividend payments show that Aegon has a trailing yield of 8.5% on the current share price of €3.55. If you buy this business for its dividend, you should have an idea of whether Aegon’s dividend is reliable and sustainable. So we need to check whether the dividend payments are covered, and if earnings are growing.

Check out our latest analysis for Aegon

If a company pays out more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. Aegon paid out 146% of profit in the past year, which we think is typically not sustainable unless there are mitigating characteristics such as unusually strong cash flow or a large cash balance.

When a company pays out a dividend that is not well covered by profits, the dividend is generally seen as more vulnerable to being cut.

Click here to see the company’s payout ratio, plus analyst estimates of its future dividends.

ENXTAM:AGN Historical Dividend Yield, August 19th 2019
ENXTAM:AGN Historical Dividend Yield, August 19th 2019

Have Earnings And Dividends Been Growing?

When earnings decline, dividend companies become much harder to analyse and own safely. If business enters a downturn and the dividend is cut, the company could see its value fall precipitously. With that in mind, we’re discomforted by Aegon’s 11% per annum decline in earnings in the past five years. Ultimately, when earnings per share decline, the size of the pie from which dividends can be paid, shrinks.

Another key way to measure a company’s dividend prospects is by measuring its historical rate of dividend growth. Aegon’s dividend payments per share have declined at 7.0% per year on average over the past 10 years, which is uninspiring. While it’s not great that earnings and dividends per share have fallen in recent years, we’re encouraged by the fact that management has trimmed the dividend rather than risk over-committing the company in a risky attempt to maintain yields to shareholders.

The Bottom Line

Is Aegon worth buying for its dividend? Earnings per share are in decline and Aegon is paying out what we feel is an uncomfortably high percentage of its profit as dividends. It’s not that we hate the business, but we feel that these characeristics are not desirable for investors seeking a reliable dividend stock to own for the long term. All things considered, we’re not optimistic about its dividend prospects, and would be inclined to leave it on the shelf for now.

Wondering what the future holds for Aegon? See what the 11 analysts we track are forecasting, with this visualisation of its historical and future estimated earnings and cash flow

If you’re in the market for dividend stocks, we recommend checking our list of top dividend stocks with a greater than 2% yield and an upcoming dividend.

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.

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. Thank you for reading.