Investors In Red Rock Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ:RRR) Should Consider This, First

Is Red Rock Resorts, Inc. (NASDAQ:RRR) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. On the other hand, investors have been known to buy a stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company’s dividend doesn’t live up to expectations.

So you may wish to consider our analysis of Red Rock Resorts’s financial health, here.

With only a three-year payment history, and a 1.7% yield, investors probably think Red Rock Resorts is not much of a dividend stock. Many of the best dividend stocks typically start out paying a low yield, so we wouldn’t automatically cut it from our list of prospects. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

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NasdaqGS:RRR Historical Dividend Yield, November 28th 2019
NasdaqGS:RRR Historical Dividend Yield, November 28th 2019

Payout ratios

Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. Looking at the data, we can see that 3627% of Red Rock Resorts’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A payout ratio above 100% is definitely an item of concern, unless there are some other circumstances that would justify it.

In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. Unfortunately, while Red Rock Resorts pays a dividend, it also reported negative free cash flow last year. While there may be a good reason for this, it’s not ideal from a dividend perspective.

Is Red Rock Resorts’s Balance Sheet Risky?

As Red Rock Resorts’s dividend was not well covered by earnings, 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 is a measure of a company’s total debt. Net interest cover measures the ability to meet interest payments. Essentially we check that a) the company does not have too much debt, and b) that it can afford to pay the interest. With net debt of 6.04 times its EBITDA, Red Rock Resorts could be described as a highly leveraged company. While some companies can handle this level of leverage, we’d be concerned about the dividend sustainability if there was any risk of an earnings downturn.

Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company’s net interest expense. Interest cover of 1.29 times its interest expense is starting to become a concern for Red Rock Resorts, and be aware that lenders may place additional restrictions on the company as well. High debt and weak interest cover are not a great combo, and we would be cautious of relying on this company’s dividend while these metrics persist.

Dividend Volatility

One of the major risks of relying on dividend income, is the potential for a company to struggle financially and cut its dividend. Not only is your income cut, but the value of your investment declines as well – nasty. The dividend has not fluctuated much, but with a relatively short payment history, we can’t be sure this is sustainable across a full market cycle. Its most recent annual dividend was US$0.40 per share, effectively flat on its first payment three years ago.

We like that the dividend hasn’t been shrinking. However we’re conscious that the company hasn’t got an overly long track record of dividend payments yet, which makes us wary of relying on its dividend income.

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. Red Rock Resorts’s EPS have fallen by approximately 81% per year during the past three years. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and Red Rock Resorts’s earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Red Rock Resorts’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. It’s a concern to see that the company paid out such a high percentage of its earnings and cashflow as dividends. Earnings per share have been falling, and the company has a relatively short dividend history – shorter than we like, anyway. Using these criteria, Red Rock Resorts looks quite suboptimal from a dividend investment perspective.

Given that earnings are not growing, the dividend does not look nearly so attractive. Businesses can change though, and we think it would make sense to see what analysts are forecasting for the company.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding 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.

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