Should FORTEC Elektronik AG (FRA:FEV) Be Part Of Your Dividend Portfolio?

Is FORTEC Elektronik AG (FRA:FEV) a good dividend stock? How can we tell? Dividend paying companies with growing earnings can be highly rewarding in the long term. If you are hoping to live on your dividends, it’s important to be more stringent with your investments than the average punter. Regular readers know we like to apply the same approach to each dividend stock, and we hope you’ll find our analysis useful.

A high yield and a long history of paying dividends is an appealing combination for FORTEC Elektronik. We’d guess that plenty of investors have purchased it for the income. Some simple analysis can reduce the risk of holding FORTEC Elektronik for its dividend, and we’ll focus on the most important aspects below.

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DB:FEV Historical Dividend Yield, September 3rd 2019
DB:FEV Historical Dividend Yield, September 3rd 2019

Payout ratios

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. As a result, we should always investigate whether a company can afford its dividend, measured as a percentage of a company’s net income after tax. Looking at the data, we can see that 39% of FORTEC Elektronik’s profits were paid out as dividends in the last 12 months. A medium payout ratio strikes a good balance between paying dividends, and keeping enough back to invest in the business. Plus, there is room to increase the payout ratio over time.

Another important check we do is to see if the free cash flow generated is sufficient to pay the dividend. FORTEC Elektronik paid out 91% of its free cash last year. Cash flows can be lumpy, but this dividend was not well covered by cash flow. While FORTEC Elektronik’s dividends were covered by the company’s reported profits, free cash flow is somewhat more important, so it’s not great to see that the company didn’t generate enough cash to pay its dividend. Were it to repeatedly pay dividends that were not well covered by cash flow, this could be a risk to FORTEC Elektronik’s ability to maintain its dividend.

With a strong net cash balance, FORTEC Elektronik investors may not have much to worry about in the near term from a dividend perspective.

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. FORTEC Elektronik has been paying dividends for a long time, but for the purpose of this analysis, we only examine the past 10 years of payments. During this period the dividend has been stable, which could imply the business could have relatively consistent earnings power. During the past ten-year period, the first annual payment was €0.30 in 2009, compared to €0.60 last year. This works out to be a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of approximately 7.2% a year over that time.

Companies like this, growing their dividend at a decent rate, can be very valuable over the long term, if the rate of growth can be maintained.

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. Strong earnings per share (EPS) growth might encourage our interest in the company despite fluctuating dividends, which is why it’s great to see FORTEC Elektronik has grown its earnings per share at 21% per annum over the past five years. With high earnings per share growth in recent times and a modest payout ratio, we think this is an attractive combination if earnings can be reinvested to generate further growth.

We’d also point out that FORTEC Elektronik issued a meaningful number of new shares in the past year. Regularly issuing new shares can be detrimental – it’s hard to grow dividends per share when new shares are regularly being created.

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. First, we like FORTEC Elektronik’s low dividend payout ratio, although we’re a bit concerned that it paid out a substantially higher percentage of its free cash flow. That said, we were glad to see it growing earnings and paying a fairly consistent dividend. Overall we think FORTEC Elektronik is an interesting dividend stock, although it could be better.

See if management have their own wealth at stake, by checking insider shareholdings in FORTEC Elektronik stock.

If you are a dividend investor, you might also want to look at our curated list of dividend stocks yielding above 3%.

We aim to bring you long-term focused research analysis driven by fundamental data. Note that our analysis may not factor in the latest price-sensitive company announcements or qualitative material.

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. Thank you for reading.