Today we’ll take a closer look at S.A.S. Dragon Holdings Limited (HKG:1184) from a dividend investor’s perspective. Owning a strong business and reinvesting the dividends is widely seen as an attractive way of growing your wealth. 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.
In this case, S.A.S. Dragon Holdings likely looks attractive to investors, given its 8.0% dividend yield and a payment history of over ten years. We’d guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Some simple analysis can offer a lot of insights when buying a company for its dividend, and we’ll go through this below.
Dividends are typically paid from company earnings. If a company pays more in dividends than it earned, then the dividend might become unsustainable – hardly an ideal situation. Comparing dividend payments to a company’s net profit after tax is a simple way of reality-checking whether a dividend is sustainable. S.A.S. Dragon Holdings paid out 46% of its profit as dividends, over the trailing twelve month period. This is a medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Besides, if reinvestment opportunities dry up, the company has room to increase the dividend.
In addition to comparing dividends against profits, we should inspect whether the company generated enough cash to pay its dividend. S.A.S. Dragon Holdings’s cash payout ratio last year was 11%, which is quite low and suggests that the dividend was thoroughly covered by cash flow. It’s positive to see that S.A.S. Dragon Holdings’s 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 S.A.S. Dragon Holdings’s Balance Sheet Risky?
As S.A.S. Dragon Holdings has a meaningful amount of debt, we need to check its balance sheet to see if the company might have debt risks. A rough way to check this is with these two simple ratios: a) net debt divided by EBITDA (earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation), and b) 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). S.A.S. Dragon Holdings has net debt of 3.10 times its EBITDA, which is getting towards the limit of most investors’ comfort zones. Judicious use of debt can enhance shareholder returns, but also adds to the risk if something goes awry.
Net interest cover can be calculated by dividing earnings before interest and tax (EBIT) by the company’s net interest expense. With EBIT of 3.37 times its interest expense, S.A.S. Dragon Holdings’s interest cover is starting to look a bit thin.
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. S.A.S. Dragon Holdings has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. Its dividend payments have fallen by 20% or more on at least one occasion over the past ten years. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was HK$0.015 in 2009, compared to HK$0.20 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 30% a year over that time. The growth in dividends has not been linear, but the CAGR is a decent approximation of the rate of change over this time frame.
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. Earnings have grown at around 5.9% a year for the past five years, which is better than seeing them shrink! It’s good to see decent earnings growth and a low payout ratio. Companies with these characteristics often display the fastest dividend growth over the long term – assuming earnings can be maintained, of course.
To summarise, shareholders should always check that S.A.S. Dragon Holdings’s dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Firstly, we like that S.A.S. Dragon Holdings has low and conservative payout ratios. Unfortunately, earnings growth has also been mediocre, and the company has cut its dividend at least once in the past. Overall we think S.A.S. Dragon Holdings is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.
You can also discover whether shareholders are aligned with insider interests by checking our visualisation of insider shareholdings and trades in S.A.S. Dragon Holdings stock.
We have also put together a list of global stocks with a market capitalisation above $1bn and yielding more 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.
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