Read This Before Buying Southside Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SBSI) For Its Dividend

Could Southside Bancshares, Inc. (NASDAQ:SBSI) 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. 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.

With Southside Bancshares yielding 4.9% and having paid a dividend for over 10 years, many investors likely find the company quite interesting. We’d guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. The company also returned around 2.7% of its market capitalisation to shareholders in the form of stock buybacks over the past year. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding Southside Bancshares for its dividend, and we’ll focus on the most important aspects below.

Click the interactive chart for our full dividend analysis

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NasdaqGS:SBSI Historic Dividend September 15th 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. Looking at the data, we can see that 66% of Southside Bancshares’ profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A payout ratio above 50% generally implies a business is reaching maturity, although it is still possible to reinvest in the business or increase the dividend over time.

We update our data on Southside Bancshares every 24 hours, so you can always get our latest analysis of its financial health, here.

Dividend Volatility

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. Southside Bancshares 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 declined on at least one occasion over the past 10 years. During the past 10-year period, the first annual payment was US$0.5 in 2010, compared to US$1.3 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 9.2% a year over that time. Southside Bancshares’ dividend payments have fluctuated, so it hasn’t grown 9.2% every year, but the CAGR is a useful rule of thumb for approximating the historical growth.

A reasonable rate of dividend growth is good to see, but we’re wary that the dividend history is not as solid as we’d like, having been cut at least once.

Dividend Growth Potential

With a relatively unstable dividend, it’s even more important to see if earnings per share (EPS) are growing. Why take the risk of a dividend getting cut, unless there’s a good chance of bigger dividends in future? It’s good to see Southside Bancshares has been growing its earnings per share at 14% a year over the past five years. Earnings per share have been growing rapidly, but given that it is paying out more than half of its earnings as dividends, we wonder how Southside Bancshares will keep funding its growth projects in the future.

Conclusion

To summarise, shareholders should always check that Southside Bancshares’ dividends are affordable, that its dividend payments are relatively stable, and that it has decent prospects for growing its earnings and dividend. Southside Bancshares’ payout ratio is within an average range for most market participants. We were also glad to see it growing earnings, but it was concerning to see the dividend has been cut at least once in the past. While we’re not hugely bearish on it, overall we think there are potentially better dividend stocks than Southside Bancshares out there.

Investors generally tend to favour companies with a consistent, stable dividend policy as opposed to those operating an irregular one. However, there are other things to consider for investors when analysing stock performance. Taking the debate a bit further, we’ve identified 1 warning sign for Southside Bancshares that investors need to be conscious of moving forward.

Looking for more high-yielding dividend ideas? Try our curated list of dividend stocks with a yield above 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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