Primerica, Inc.’s (NYSE:PRI) Attractive Combination: Does It Earn A Place In Your Dividend Portfolio?

Today we’ll take a closer look at Primerica, Inc. (NYSE:PRI) 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.

Investors might not know much about Primerica’s dividend prospects, even though it has been paying dividends for the last nine years and offers a 1.1% yield. A 1.1% yield is not inspiring, but the longer payment history has some appeal. The company also bought back stock equivalent to around 4.4% of market capitalisation this year. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Primerica for its dividend, and we’ll focus on the most important aspects below.

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NYSE:PRI Historical Dividend Yield, January 23rd 2020
NYSE:PRI Historical Dividend Yield, January 23rd 2020

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. So we need to form a view on if a company’s dividend is sustainable, relative to its net profit after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 16% of Primerica’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. Given the low payout ratio, it is hard to envision the dividend coming under threat, barring a catastrophe.

Remember, you can always get a snapshot of Primerica’s latest financial position, by checking our visualisation of its financial health.

Dividend Volatility

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. The first recorded dividend for Primerica, in the last decade, was nine years ago. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a while now, which is great. However we’d prefer to see consistency for a few more years before giving it our full seal of approval. During the past nine-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.04 in 2011, compared to US$1.36 last year. Dividends per share have grown at approximately 48% 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

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. It’s good to see Primerica has been growing its earnings per share at 25% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share have grown rapidly, and the company is retaining a majority of its earnings. We think this is ideal from an investment perspective, if the company is able to reinvest these earnings effectively.

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. We’re glad to see Primerica has a low payout ratio, as this suggests earnings are being reinvested in the business. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, although its dividend history is not as long as we’d like. Primerica has a number of positive attributes, but falls short of our ideal dividend company. It may be worth a look at the right price, though.

Earnings growth generally bodes well for the future value of company dividend payments. See if the 3 Primerica analysts we track are forecasting continued growth with our free report on analyst estimates for the company.

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 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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