Is Public Joint Stock Company Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’s (MCX:AFLT) 3.3% Dividend Worth Your Time?

Dividend paying stocks like Public Joint Stock Company Aeroflot – Russian Airlines (MCX:AFLT) tend to be popular with investors, and for good reason – some research suggests a significant amount of all stock market returns come from reinvested dividends. If you are hoping to live on the income from dividends, it’s important to be a lot more stringent with your investments than the average punter.

With Aeroflot – Russian Airlines yielding 3.3% and having paid a dividend for over 10 years, many investors likely find the company quite interesting. It would not be a surprise to discover that many investors buy it for the dividends. When buying stocks for their dividends, you should always run through the checks below, to see if the dividend looks sustainable.

Explore this interactive chart for our latest analysis on Aeroflot – Russian Airlines!

historic-dividend
MISX:AFLT Historic Dividend July 31st 2020

Payout ratios

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. In the last year, Aeroflot – Russian Airlines paid out 37% 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. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.

We also measure dividends paid against a company’s levered free cash flow, to see if enough cash was generated to cover the dividend. Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’ cash payout ratio last year was 5.7%, which is quite low and suggests that the dividend was thoroughly covered by cash flow. It’s positive to see that Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’ dividend is covered by both profits and cash flow, since this is generally a sign that the dividend is sustainable, and a lower payout ratio usually suggests a greater margin of safety before the dividend gets cut.

Is Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’ Balance Sheet Risky?

As Aeroflot – Russian Airlines has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. 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 0.095 times its EBITDA, Aeroflot – Russian Airlines 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 1.15 times its interest expense is starting to become a concern for Aeroflot – Russian Airlines, and be aware that lenders may place additional restrictions on the company as well.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’ latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

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. For the purpose of this article, we only scrutinise the last decade of Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’ dividend payments. This dividend has been unstable, which we define as having been cut one or more times over this time. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was ₽0.3 in 2010, compared to ₽2.7 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 23% per year over this time. Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’ dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn’t grown 23% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

It’s not great to see that the payment has been cut in the past. We’re generally more wary of companies that have cut their dividend before, as they tend to perform worse in an economic downturn.

Dividend Growth Potential

Given that the dividend has been cut in the past, we need to check if earnings are growing and if that might lead to stronger dividends in the future. Over the past five years, it looks as though Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’ EPS have declined at around 19% a year. With this kind of significant decline, we always wonder what has changed in the business. Dividends are about stability, and Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’ earnings per share, which support the dividend, have been anything but stable.

Conclusion

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. Firstly, we like that Aeroflot – Russian Airlines has low and conservative payout ratios. Earnings per share are down, and Aeroflot – Russian Airlines’ dividend has been cut at least once in the past, which is disappointing. In sum, we find it hard to get excited about Aeroflot – Russian Airlines from a dividend perspective. It’s not that we think it’s a bad business; just that there are other companies that perform better on these criteria.

It’s important to note that companies having a consistent dividend policy will generate greater investor confidence than those having an erratic one. Meanwhile, despite the importance of dividend payments, they are not the only factors our readers should know when assessing a company. To that end, Aeroflot – Russian Airlines has 2 warning signs (and 1 which makes us a bit uncomfortable) we think you should know about.

We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 3%.

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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. We aim to bring you long-term focused analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material. Simply Wall St has no position in any stocks mentioned.
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