Could Quanzhou Huixin Micro-Credit Co., Ltd. (HKG:1577) 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. Unfortunately, it’s common for investors to be enticed in by the seemingly attractive yield, and lose money when the company has to cut its dividend payments.
Quanzhou Huixin Micro-Credit pays a 4.2% dividend yield, and has been paying dividends for the past two years. A high yield probably looks enticing, but investors are likely wondering about the short payment history. 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, Quanzhou Huixin Micro-Credit paid out 39% of its profit as dividends. This is a medium payout level that leaves enough capital in the business to fund opportunities that might arise, while also rewarding shareholders. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.
From the perspective of an income investor who wants to earn dividends for many years, there is not much point buying a stock if its dividend is regularly cut or is not reliable. The company has been paying a stable dividend for a few years now, but we’d like to see more evidence of consistency over a longer period. Its most recent annual dividend was CN¥0.05 per share, effectively flat on its first payment two years ago.
Modest dividend growth is good to see, especially with the payments being relatively stable. However, the payment history is relatively short and we wouldn’t want to rely on this dividend too much.
Dividend Growth Potential
Examining whether the dividend is affordable and stable is important. However, it’s also important to assess if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Growing EPS can help maintain or increase the purchasing power of the dividend over the long run. Quanzhou Huixin Micro-Credit’s EPS are effectively flat over the past five years. Flat earnings per share are acceptable for a time, but over the long term, the purchasing power of the company’s dividends could be eroded by inflation. A payout ratio below 50% leaves ample room to reinvest in the business, and provides finanical flexibility. However, earnings per share are unfortunately not growing much. Might this suggest that the company should pay a higher dividend instead?
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 Quanzhou Huixin Micro-Credit has a low and conservative payout ratio. 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. Quanzhou Huixin Micro-Credit might not be a bad business, but it doesn’t show all of the characteristics we look for in a dividend stock.
Are management backing themselves to deliver performance? Check their shareholdings in Quanzhou Huixin Micro-Credit in our latest insider ownership analysis.
Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 3%.
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