Could Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group Co., Limited (HKG:1599) be an attractive dividend share to own for the long haul? Investors are often drawn to strong companies with the idea of reinvesting the dividends. Yet sometimes, investors buy a popular dividend stock because of its yield, and then lose money if the company’s dividend doesn’t live up to expectations.
With a goodly-sized dividend yield despite a relatively short payment history, investors might be wondering if Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group is a new dividend aristocrat in the making. We’d agree the yield does look enticing. 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.
Companies (usually) pay dividends out of their earnings. If a company is paying more than it earns, the dividend might have to be cut. 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, Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group paid out 26% of its profit as dividends. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.
We also measure dividends paid against a company’s levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Last year, Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group paid a dividend while reporting negative free cash flow. While there may be an explanation, we think this behaviour is generally not sustainable.
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. Looking at the data, we can see that Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group has been paying a dividend for the past four years. 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. During the past four-year period, the first annual payment was CN¥0.074 in 2015, compared to CN¥0.11 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 11% per year over this time.
The dividend has been growing pretty quickly, which could be enough to get us interested even though the dividend history is relatively short. Further research may be warranted.
Dividend Growth Potential
The other half of the dividend investing equation is evaluating whether earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. Earnings have grown at around 6.8% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! Earnings per share have been growing at a credible rate. What’s more, the payout ratio is reasonable and provides some protection to the dividend, or even the potential to increase it.
We’d also point out that Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental – it’s hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.
Dividend investors should always want to know if a) a company’s dividends are affordable, b) if there is a track record of consistent payments, and c) if the dividend is capable of growing. Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group has a low payout ratio, which we like, although it paid out virtually all of its generated cash. Unfortunately, there hasn’t been any earnings growth, and the company’s dividend history has been too short for us to evaluate the consistency of the dividend. Ultimately, Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group comes up short on our dividend analysis. It’s not that we think it is a bad company – just that there are likely more appealing dividend prospects out there on this analysis.
Companies that are growing earnings tend to be the best dividend stocks over the long term. See what the 3 analysts we track are forecasting for Beijing Urban Construction Design & Development Group for free with public analyst estimates 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%.
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